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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Fallen Ruggers 2014

Te Fallen Ruggers memorial gathering will take place at the Claddagh Irish Pub in lovely and beaucolic Lyndhurst, Ohio this Saturday, September 6, at 3:00pm. All proceeds from the door will go to the Cleveland Rugby Club and The 1964 Rugby Foundation.

Each year, we like to set aside time to more formally remember those Fallen Ruggers who have preceded us to that great rugby pitch in the sky. In addition to remembering our old friends, the event will be a fundraiser with a minimum $20 donation at the door. The donation includes free beer and pub grub thanks to the generous gift of two kegs of beer and free food from our friends at Claddagh. All proceeds go to The 1964 Rugby Foundation to support the great sport of rugby in Northeast Ohio.

The fundraiser follows a friendly match with the CSU Vikings. The match takes place at 12:00pm at the Metro Parks Pitch, just one mile south of Squire’s Castle. This gathering will be a great way for young and old to meet and share stories of yesterday and yesteryear.

We certainly hope to see you there. Friends, family, new members and long-standing members of the Cleveland rugby community are welcome.

See you at the pitch, and then at Claddagh.

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Here Comes A New Challenger!

Hello Cleveland Rugby Club faithful. Our Match Secretary, Brandon Wolfe, has reached out and scheduled a game with Cleveland State University in order to fill up one of our open dates – Saturday, September 6.

The match will primarily be for the B-side guys and some other guys who weren’t here last Saturday. This match is a friendly competition set up to get our less experienced players some game time before we hit the rest of the league season.

The match will take place at 12:00pm at the Metroparks Pitch so we can get our work in and then go to the Fallen Ruggers Fundraiser for our team. The event is at 3:00pm at Claddaugh Irish Pub.

Adjust your calendars. See you at the pitch.

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Missteps and Missed Opportunities

The 2014 Fall season started like many before it, with the Cleveland Rugby Club facing the West side. This encounter ended in favor of the West siders.

Leading up to the match the Club was confident they told bee victorious again, despite fluctuating numbers at training sessions. Once the two teams kicked off they were in for a rude awakening.

The West side club sported a lineup with a revamped back line and reinforced pack. Though the backs were well contained for the most part, the pack posed more problems.

It seemed as though the opposition forwards were at every breakdown with their hands on the ball. Though the legality of their actions is up for debate, the fact remains that they stymied the Club’s progress and kept them from scoring at crucial points in the game. Scrums were an issue for the Club as well. The ball was either squirting out the side or getting caught under the forwards, allowing the West siders to impose their will and steal the ball.

The Club’s forwards were able to control things in the air, though. Lineouts were a bright spot for the day. They brought down just about every ball they threw in and got it out cleanly to the waiting back line. When they brought it down to make progress through the maul they came up against a bit more friction but still managed to retain ball.

Defense overall was solid on the day, despite the unfortunate outcome. Tackles were solid and the line was flat while remaining mobile early on, but as the game wore on fatigue set in the cracks began to show and the opposition took advantage.

Offense was fractured at times but still effective for the Club. Due to the pressure at the breakdown, clean ball was in short supply. When the Club had the ball, whether it was in the forwards or the backs, they broke the line often and made ground. Unfortunately, more often than not the runner was often isolated which resulted in a number of turnovers or penalties. The Club also shot themselves in the foot at numerous crucial points either close to the try zone or during transition play. There was also an uncharacteristically off kicking day for the Club, leaving a number of penalty points on the table that would have cone in handy at the end of the day.

The upside of this defeat is now the Club knows where they need the most work, and with the way their schedule is set they have a few weeks to sort it all out. Hopefully, after the long break the Club can rebound and bring home the first win of the season. Start tuned for further details and developments.

See you at the pitch.

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The Season Starts Anew Saturday

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, it’s opening week of the 2014 Fall season. It’s officially rugby season. It’s hunting season and we start off with an all too familiar foe.

Saturday, August 23, we venture across the rover into the untamed wilds of the West side. There, waiting for us, are the unwashed masses, the pretenders to the Cleveland rugby throne, the guys who continue to claim to be the best rugby team in the city. Join us as we remind them what the facts are and who stands tall in this city.

There will be two games, with the A game kicking off at 1:00pm and the B game to follow immediately. Active players, everyone who comes will be able to play. Not-so-active fans, come out and crowd the sidelines to cheer on the Club. The games are at Impett Park in Cleveland.

Those looking to play should be at the field no later than 11:30am to get ready.
See you at the pitch.

As an aside, there has been a scheduling switch. Due to issues out of our control, the dates with the Detroit RFC have been switched. We will be going to Detroit on 10/4 and hosting on 11/15.

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First 15s Session Down

A lot of new faces and a lot of the usual suspects showed up today. Glad to see everyone out and looking fit. Play was crisp and on point, with the new guys catching on quickly.

We’re on the right track for another strong successful Fall, but it’s not too late to join. If you’re interested in playing for Cleveland’s premier rugby team head to the Metro Peaks Pitch Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30pm. All are welcome. Directions are on the Practice page.

Keep up with the Cleveland Rugby Club as the Fall goes on and come take in a game or two.

See you at the pitch.

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Fun Time Fitness with the NDC Boys

Just finished playing Take-A-Lap Sevens at Progressive with some of the Notre Dame College boys.

The youngsters put on a good showing, especially when the heavier players got hands on the ball. But the hands down MVP of the day was one Mark Derrickson, who managed to sneak his way past the opposing defense numerous times on the day.

We’ll be out again Thursday at 6:00pm, at the Progressive soccer complex, squeezing the last bit of 7s juice out of the summer before we get into 15s.

See you at the pitch.

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Training Begins Soon

Training for 15s begins August 5 at the Metroparks Pitch. Sessions are Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning at 5:30pm.

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”

― Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

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Change is on the Horizon

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, change is coming to Cleveland’s premier men’s rugby team. The men who have run riot throughout the Midwest as the Cleveland Eastern Suburbs Rugby Football Club are returning to their roots and changing their name back to the Cleveland Rugby Club. Be on the lookout for new logos, jerseys and swag of all kinds.

Don’t worry. The quality of rugby will be the same high-quality, high-impact style you have all become accustomed to.

Stay tuned for further developments!

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It’s That Time of Season Again

The Rock n Roll 7s tournament is this weekend. While there is no Qualifier bracket, there is plenty of quality rugby to be seen. Come on out and take in a beautiful day and some intense 7s action. See you at the pitch!

Check out the brackets and schedule here

The tournament will be held at Kreuger Park in Mentor, Ohio again.

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