See What Had Happened Was…

Unfortunately, this weekend’s match with Notre Dame College has been called off by the college club due to alleged complications with Easter, injuries and Spring Break. This confluence of unfortunate circumstances apparently left the Falcons’ numbers so diminished that they were unable  to honor their commitment and host the Green Horde.

Worry not, rugby fans. There are silver linings to this black cloud. First, injuries and Spring Break don’t last forever and Jesus only rose once so the players will eventually return; and. hopefully, at that point we will have our Cleveland derby. Second, now we can focus on playoffs next week. The second round of playoffs look to be a retread of the Fall season, with familiar opponents Pittsburgh and the Detroit Tradesmen as their possible foes. If Pittsburgh managed to upset the Tradesmen last week, the Green Horde would host the victors in a rubber match to prove that their victory in the second Fall season match was no fluke and prove that playing proper rugby on a legitimate field trumps paying and Old Boy to make shoddy calls any day. If the Tradesmen pulled off an expected victory, the playoff match to come will be filled with drama. On top of trying to advance in the tournament, this match is very much an instance of playing for pride. Twice the Green Horde have faced the Tradesmen – once in the Fall in Detroit and once at the Savannah Tournament this past year. Both times the Tradesmen have come up trumps. The Green Horde has ro prove that they can compete with and overcome one of the best teams in the Midwest and the Tradesmen have to make sure they put down a familiar foe to ensure they advance farther into the postseason.

The Green Horde have had nothing but success in their recent bout of matches. The only opponents to stand put blemishes on their record stand in their way next week. Will the villains from Pennsylvania come to our sovereign ground and try to slink away with a win? Or, will wee see what happens when a a big green irresistible force means a blue immovable object? No matter who the opponent is, the season is on the line and the match will be one for the ages.

See you at the pitch.

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Green Horde Battles Falcons in Cleveland Derby

This weekend the Green Horde takes arguably the shortest trip to an away match in club history when they take on up-and-coming Notre Dame College. For the Green Horde and its followers, it would be easy to write this match off as a way to work out the kinks in the system ahead of their second playoff mach but to do that would be a mistake.

The Falcons out of NDC are riding high on a Spring that has seen them come up against strong competition and, generally, do quite well. Most recently, the Falcons beat Baldwin Wallace, 31-24, and bested Akron, 75-10. To most, these numbers against these opponents wouldn’t raise any eyebrows but the bulk of the Falcons’ scorelines resemble the Akron win than the BW win. The fact is these boys know how to score and they know how to do it often. Like most college teams, their roster is packed with young, fast players; and with the recent fitness concerns following the Green Horde’s two-point victory over Indianapolis, the Falcons may be able to get the edge on the visiting Horde.

This match is far from one-sided and the Falcons would be equally off base to think that they will be able to merely out pace the Green Horde and win handily. The Green Horde should be able to gain the edge on the young Falcons side by executing their offensive schemes and hitting hard on defense. Doing these things could go a long way to shut down the Falcons’ offense in two major ways. First, if the Green Horde executes their plays well they can keep the Falcons on their heels and playing defense. Plus, if the Green Horde holds the ball all match, it’s impossible for even the mighty Falcons to score. Second, it stands to reason that the Falcons are used to running around opponents. If the Green Horde come out and, figuratively, punch them in the mouth from the first whistle, they could throw the youngsters off their game, keep them off and bring home another victory.

This is no throw-away match. While it may not be a playoff match for either side, there are certainly big implications in the balance. Over the Green Horde’s tenure on the Cleveland rugby scene, they have proven themselves as the team to beat not only in Cleveland but anywhere north of Columbus. Similarly, the Falcons have been carving up opponents left and right, quickly solidifying themselves as a force to be reckoned with. This weekend’s match is a battle of two bests – the best men’s team and the best college team in the area. When the dust settles – or knowing Cleveland weather the snow – this weekend the score line will show who plays the best rugby in Cleveland.

Kickoff is at 1:00pm at 4545 College Rd. in peaceful South Euclid. See you at the pitch.

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Suburbs Get Win No. 2 at OU

Everything came up roses for the Cleveland Eastern Suburbs Rugby Football Club over the weekend as they worked the kinks out of their play ahead of their upcoming playoff match against the Indianapolis Impalas.

The Green Horde put down the boys from OU by a wide margin Saturday, but the weekend’s match up wasn’t about running up the score. The Cleveland side went down to Athens in order to work out the prevailing kinks in their game and unwind a bit ahead of really bucking down for playoffs.

When the ball stayed in the the hands of the ESRFC players the offense flowed seamlessly. Runners took the ball at pace, breaking the line often with support close behind and linking up phases of play to gain massive ground in their pursuit of victory. These gains, unfortunately, were often stalled out by players trying to do too much – trying to force an iffy pass in traffic or pushing for one more meter in a tackle and losing possession in the process.

Either there was something in the Athens, Ohio air or some of the Green Horde players forgot to pack their catching hands with their boots and shorts because there was a deluge of knock-ons throughout the day’s competition. The errant passes not only stymied the Cleveland side’s offense but it put the ball in the hands of the OU players in the ensuing scrums. Fortunately, the Cleveland pack was able to make the college side’s forwards had a difficult time getting the ball our of the scrum.

The Green Horde forwards made nuisances of themselves in lone-outs as well. First, OU tried to fool the Green Horde’s jumpers by throwing to their front lifter rather than the player being lifted in the air. OU retained the ball but gained now ground since they ran directly into a hard tackle from Cleveland prop Evan Johnson. When the ball went airborne OU had a bit more success but when Miles Papa wasn’t stealing the ball he was getting in the way enough to make sure his opposing jumper couldn’t win the ball cleanly; and when the ball flew errant over the jumpers it was a wrestling match for the ball in the back of the line. More often than not it came up for the ESRFC.

The Green Horde came out of Athens with a big win and a lot to work on. All in all the match and post-match festivities went a long way to strengthen the bond between OU and the ESRFC, which is a win for both teams.

The Green Horde hosts the Indianapolis Impalas on Saturday April 12. The match kicks off at 1:00pm. See you at the pitch.

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