PERC – 12, Rocky Gorge – 17
Burning Tree Elementary School — Bethesda, Maryland. The Potomac Exiles hosted Rocky Gorge on Saturday, October 20th, and dropped a close match to the Mid-Atlantic’s top team by a score of 12-17.
The conditions were perfect for running rugby and neither side wasted time in showing their desire to play a fast-paced game. The teams traded possession and territory in the early going, but the first points weren’t scored until the 15th minute. Thanks to a big tackle by flanker Harry Lee, PERC earned a scrum just inside Rocky Gorge’s half, and used the set piece as a platform for attack. Center John Davis received a pass from the back of the scrum, spotted space in behind the defense, and caught everyone by surprise when he sliced a perfect kick through. Davis chased his own 40 meter kick and dotted the ball down for the first try of the match.
Although the Exiles enjoyed an early 5-0 advantage, the lead was short-lived. The visitors hit back with a try of their own in the 20th minute when they successfully took advantage of a miscommunication in PERC’s defense and scored a long range try. Gorge hit the conversion to make the score 5-7. Potomac launched several campaign’s into the opposition territory, but the home side was unable to come away with additional first half points. As the first stanza neared its conclusion, the visitors snuck in one more try, despite PERC’s stout defense, to bring the score to 5-14 heading into the break.
The second half began with PERC once again on the defensive. Although Gorge managed to camp out in PERC’s 22, the home squad’s resilient defense absorbed several hard runs and limited the opposition to a penalty in the 48th minute. Down 5-17, the men from PERC knew that they had their work cut out for them if they wanted to flip the script on Gorge. In the 60th minute, PERC’s offense got to work. Impact reserve Robert Garvis announced his presence with a thundering run down the left side of the pitch, and, after a series of penalties, PERC earned a lineout on the opposition five meter line. PERC secured the lineout and Captain Guy Lopresti touched the ball down after a strong maul by the forwards. Kenny Rothmann added the conversion to make the score 12-17 in the 66th minute. Unfortunately, that scoreline held for the final 14 minutes of the match. All was not lost as a determined defensive stand in the final five minutes allowed PERC to secure a bonus point in the defeat.
Several players had strong performances, including center John Davis and eight man Bill Whalen; however, Guy Lopresti earned Man of the Match honors for his inspirational work around the park. Lopresti, as he always does, delivered strong tackles and powerful runs throughout the match.
Next up, the Potomac Exiles will travel across the river to Gravelly Point to take on NOVA Rugby in a rematch of the season opener. Kickoff at 1pm on October 27th.