In front of a “sell out” crowd, the Exiles defended home turf, going 3-0 on the day. A high school 7s tournament on the pitch and lots of Old Boy support made for a great day of rugby, and the home teams did not disappoint. The U-19 Exiles started the day off right, taking home the hardware. Click here for 7s writeup from Goff Rugby.
The D3 team got the day started on the right foot, scoring early and often. At 12′ fullback Mark McKinnon exploded through a gap, beat some straggling defenders and put the ball down for the score. Just over ten minutes later, center Bill Whalen followed up to extend the lead. Playing in just his third game, lock Jon Strope had a nice heads up play, stealing a mishandled lineout. He ran through a number of unprepared defenders for the score.
Ten minutes into the second half, eight man Tanner Smith scored off a sneaky pick and go. Picking up from the weak side of the ruck, Smith walked in almost untouched. Fly half J’Son Townes hit the conversion to improve his rate on the day to 1/4. He then scored a try of his own to extend the big lead and missed another kick. Amin Azizi came in off the bench and made an immediate impact at 60.’ Running good support, Amin took an offload, ran around several would-be tacklers and dotted down the try. Townes would hit this kick. Winger and impact sub Ballah Booakai scored the last try for the home team. (To be determined, but Townes probably missed the kick).
West Potomac scored a couple of late tries to close the gap, but the damage was very much done in the 41-14 Potomac victory.
The Potomac Exiles started the match well, playing deep in Norfolk territory. However, some shoddy tackling in the middle of the field allowed Norfolk to get the game’s first two scores for a 10-0 lead. After the deficit, Potomac regrouped and shored up the defense, scoring their first try off of great defensive pressure. Under duress, the Norfolk scrummy tried to pass out of contact on his own goal line. The ball dribbled into the try zone, where an alert Kenny Rothman dove on the pill to close the deficit to 10-5, the first score with the club for the new #13. Scrum half Matt Quigley would later hit a penalty kick to close the gap to 10-8.
Patience and dedication to the game plan enabled Potomac to fight all the way back. Off a scum inside the Norfolk 22, Potomac swung the ball wide, gaining territory on the far left side of the field. They then brought it back, where fly half Conor Mannix fed flanker Alex Diegel for the score and second half lead, 13-10.
Norfolk was not done yet though. The visitors’ big number 10 rumbled through contact and into the try zone, then converted his own try for the Norfolk advantage, 17-13. But the home team would not go down without a fight. They calmly marched the ball down the field, and relied on their dominance in the lineouts to seal the game. After a kick to get them inside the 5, Dom Smith picked off the back of the mall scooted across the line for the score and lead, 18-17.
The missed conversion kept things interesting, but Potomac calmly wound down the final four minutes. After a series of pick and goes, new winger/scrum half Jon Furman kicked the ball out of bounds to seal the win. The victory celebrations continued deep into the night with a team Halloween Party. Drinks and debauchery for all.
Man of the Match: Dom “Scuta” Smith
Dom played a huge hand in stabilizing a Potomac scrum that was a problem in the first match with Norfolk, and also scored the game-winning try.
Shoutouts: Kenny Rothmann for playing a solid all-around game in his first match with the club. Conor Mannix and Matt Quigley for strong games with boots, keeping Norfolk under duress and trying to play out of their own territory for much of the match.