Taking A Turn, But Not Permanently, for the Worse

So the past two weeks have shown two potential futures for the Cleveland Rugby Club as it stands now. Two weeks ago, the Club took a strong core of players to Indianapolis and played to a hard-fought tie with a tough Impalas side. More recently, the Club hosted the most dominant team in the region in the Detroit Tradesmen and got embarrassed – not only by the score but by the actions of club members on and off the field as a whole.

The match against the Impalas put on display the traits that make this club a great organization to be a part of – the dedicated core that is willing to fight against great odds until the final moment, the group that is willing to play until their last drop of sweat and bit of breath for the people around them, the group that will pick up their tired teammates and will them to one more tackle, one more scrum, one more lineout at the far side of the field.

The debacle against the Tradesmen showcased some of the unfortunate chinks in our armor that affect our style and quality of play. As developments go from bad to worse on the field, everyone’s composure diminishes; and as composure slips, mistakes are mad, consequences are levied and the cycle continues. And as the process goes on the pitch so it goes off the pitch as well. Unfortunately, on Saturday an element of this sideline contingency took matters into their own hands, which resulted in something taking place that, at the very least, was unnecessary.

The up side is that both of these matches have provided a great glimpse of what this club is made of, for better or for worse. Now it is up to the captains, Heads of State, seasoned players, rookies and Old Boys to decide which club they are going to be. Will they be the team that will grind it out with a tough team, stick to their disciplined style of play and put together a tough 80 minutes every weekend? Or, will they be the type of team that implodes when push comes to shove and the tables begin to turn?

The remainder of the season will be the first steps towards the Club’s future. Hopefully, everyone involved will do their best to make all the right steps in all the right places.

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Miracle on Kickstarter

One of the Club’s Old Boy, Mike Miracle, has been working on an invention and he is ready to roll out the fruits of his labor. He needs some additional funding before he can bring his innovation to the world. Miracle has put his invention, the MiracleFone, on Kickstarter in order to get some help in crowd funding the project.

The MiracleFone works with your smart phone and helps in dealing with those pesky phone calls that go on just a little too long. In short, it offers you a polite way to exit a never-ending conversation. MiracleFone is disguised to look like your standard car door opener and goes on your key chain. All a person has to do is secretly press one of the three buttons on the device and trigger a rescue call that will be sent to your phone so that you can politely exit an inopportune conversation.

Miracle has produced hundreds of these devices already and his team is confident that, with some additional funding, crowdfunders can help him save the valuable time of millions.

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Caught ‘em on the Rebound

There are plenty of quotes about how people react in the face of adversity. There are platitudes falling off horses, getting knocked down and all that jazz. Well, the Cleveland Rugby Club made good on all those when they hosted Dayton for their second official match of the Fall season.

The Club started off the season with an uncharacteristic loss to the West side team that shall not be named. After that the club’s starting XV had two weeks off of competition – the week immediately following the match was Labor Day weekend and the week after the second side hosted Kent State University and Cleveland State University during a bye weekend. Put two weeks away from competition on top of a rare opening-season loss to a rival and you have a set of circumstances that are hard to overcome, mentally. In classic Club fashion, they did just that.

The Club kicked off against Dayton two things became abundantly clear very quickly: the Cleveland side was playing with fire in their strides and they were still recovering from white line fever. The opening kick hit the ground and the hosts were all over it, diving on the loose ball before Dayton knew what was happening. After pressuring their visitors for a while, there was an opening out wide. A misplaced forward stifled the would-be try after knocking on a direct pass with no pressure in front of him. The mental errors would only be part of the story, though.

During the down time, the Club’s starting XV made significant strides in shoring up the problems they had in their opening match. Though Dayton threw themselves into – and, more often than not, over – every breakdown, the Club managed to do a better job retaining ball and keeping the flow of play going. Occasionally, support did slack and resulted in loss of possession and penalties but those were few and far between. For the most part, runners made breaks with support runners flanking at at least one side of them. There were a few times when the extra pass enabled one of the Cleveland runners to break free of the fractured Dayton defenses and dash across the try line. Other times, runners held the ball just one second too long and either snuffed out a potential scoring opportunity or resulted in a forward pass and a scrum being called.

Normally, scrums would not be an issue for the Cleveland forwards but they had some struggles Saturdays. Whether it was from Dayton beefing up their pack , the ground being soft or troubles within the Cleveland pack, the scrums weren’t going very well for a while. When the Cleveland scrumhalf put the ball in, it was either kicked off the prop’s shin or stuck just behind the front row. Despite the few difficulties they had, the Club’s forwards held their own pretty well in the scrums in the first half. In the second half a few substitutions were made and the scrum solidified. Suffice to say these were big subs.

The Cleveland forwards controlled the action on the sidelines, locking down the every lineout they threw in. For a short while Dayton opposed the throws but after a while resigned themselves to trying to break up ensuing mauls, which they did to some success. The Club’s lineout defense was on point as well. If Dayton did get the ball cleanly to their jumper, there were almost always forwards darting through gaps in the line to get at the scrumhalf. When Dayton brought the ball down and tried to maul, the Cleveland defense shut them down relatively quickly. Whether it was due to a Cleveland forward knifing through the initial maul setup or them wearing down and stalling out the progression, Dayton’s maul progress was limited.

Imperfect as the performance might have been, the Cleveland Rugby Club put together a strong performance against Dayton and got back to winning ways. They took the A side win 53-12.

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