PERC 29 vs Pittsburgh 35
Founder’s Field, Cheswick, PA — The Potomac Exiles traveled to Pennsylvania on Saturday, October 13th hoping to play spoiler at the Pittsburgh Harlequins homecoming festivities. Despite a strong effort from the visiting squad, the home side Harlequins were able to edge out a victory in a hotly contested match.
The match started on a tough note for the visiting Exiles when the Harlequins drove down the pitch and scored from a pick and go in the corner in the third minute. Despite conceding the early score, the men from PERC composed themselves and proved that they were up to the challenge on the crisp fall day on the road. The Exiles supplied sustained pressure through a well structured attack to find their way into the Harlequins 22, and in the 15th minute slick handling between captain Guy Lopresti and fly-half Will Taylor resulted in a try under the posts for Taylor. Center Kenny Rothmann hit the conversion to put Potomac into the lead 7-5. For the next fifteen minutes, the teams traded possession, yellow cards, and big hits, including a try-saving tackle from PERC fullback Jasean Davis. A Harlequins red card was also mixed in among the first half action. As halftime neared, the men from PERC sensed the importance of scoring before the break, and became increasingly urgent in their attack. In the 35th minute, Potomac found the try zone again thanks to a Bill Whalen run off the back of the scrum deep in the Harlequins 22. The two teams went into the sheds with the score at 12-5 in favor of the visitors.
The Exiles opened up the second stanza in the same way that it closed the first. The visiting side applied consistent pressure and were rewarded for their efforts in the 47th minute when prop Dante Lopresti scored from close range. Kenny Rothmann added the conversion to push the score to 19-5. Bolstered by several key substitutions, the Harlequins were determined to defend their home pitch. They responded to the Exiles score with one of their own thanks to a well weighted chip and chase over the top of the defense. Pittsburgh added the conversion to close the gap to 19-12 in the 50th minute.
By the 60th minute, it was clear that the match was well and truly up for grabs. In an effort to keep scoreboard pressure on the Harlequins, PERC added a penalty via the boot of Kenny Rothmann to increase the lead to 22-12 with just under twenty minutes to play. Pittsburgh was quick to respond by adding a converted try in the 65th minute to narrow the scoreline to 22-19. PERC did not wait long to add a final try of their own in the 68th minute. A Harlequins yellow card allowed the Exiles to secure possession deep inside Pittsburgh’s 22. After a series of forward runs, fly-half Will Taylor scored his second try of the match in the corner, and, as a result of an attempted high tackle during the score, the Exiles were granted a penalty try. Thanks to the try, the Exiles led 29-19 in the 68th minute; however, Pittsburgh added a penalty and two tries in the final ten minutes to grab the victory.
Although the Potomac Exiles were unable to finish the win, the team took solace in the fact that it earned two bonus points for its efforts in the tough matchup on the road.
Lock Brendan Porter, a mainstay in the Exiles starting XV for the last year, earned Man of the Match honors for his physicality across all aspects of the game. Next up, the Potomac Exiles return to their home pitch at Burning Tree Elementary School in Bethesda for a home match against Rocky Gorge. Kickoff is at 1pm.