When the ESRFC and Rovers kicked off over the weekend to contest the greatest prize in Ohio rugby it looked touch-and-go for a second there, but only for a second.
Leading up to the match, the Green Horde hadn’t done much quality preparation, having two slow weeks of practice and a weekend lull the weekend prior. For those two weeks, at every practice session, coach Randy Viviani urged his players to take practices seriously and not to under estimate the West side club. He warned, even right up to the first whistle, that if the Green Horde took their competition lightly that they would get embarrassed once the opposition took advantage and capitalized.
And, early on in the match the Rovers did just that. The Rovers drew first blood and crossed over the whitewash for a try, much to the delight of their supporters. The Green Horde was surprised but undeterred. They had been caught sleeping. They under estimated their opponents and, like Viviani had warned, the Rovers had taken advantage. Fortunately, the ESRFC started taking them seriously and switched on their game. The Green Horde ran their offensive system to near perfection. The West side club, who was already hurting due to injuries earlier in the season, got even more beaten up through the full 80-minute match. Whether the ball went out wide, stayed tighter or if it was taken right up the middle, the Green Horde just seemed to always have a leg up on their opposition. With a few hiccups here and there, everything seemed to be coming up roses for the Green Horde.
The home side fought back, though. Never ones to give up, they made a number of runs at the Green Horde line. One time, after a barrage of penalties the West side ruggers punched their way through the defenses to get over the line. The only problem was that one of the ESRFC forwards was under that ball, resulting in the score not counting and a scrum on the five-meter line. That was as close as they came to putting in another try.
Towards the end of the match, the high-scoring match got a little out of hand when a scuffle following a try by Nick Viviani almost came to blows. Fortunately, it was mostly pushing and shoving that resulted in players from each team being thrown in their respective sin bins. Unfortunately, it happened at all; and even worse is that there were young players on the sidelines to witness the ordeal. Heads cooled and the game continued on without incident.
In the end, the ESRFC won on the road, 64-7.
CORRECTION: The ESRFC will be wrapping up the season with an Old Boys Match on May 24 and starting sevens shortly after. Those players who choose to play for the CARPS, will begin practicing May 20 on the Notre Dame College campus. Practice sessions will be Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. The CARPS plan to attend all of the qualifier tournaments going on this summer throughout the Midwest, with a possible second side going into the social and open brackets. Stay tuned for results and details from the summer’s slate of games.
See you at the pitch.