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.