Cleveland Takes a Close One Against Pittsburgh

Leading up to this weekend’s match, the Cleveland Rugby Club had imposed their will on their opponents – most recently putting up more than one hundred points on the Detroit RFC. While the wins might have been good for the Club’s confidence and gotten them some practice putting their plays together against live competition, they paled in comparison to this past weekend’s match.

Pittsburgh came to Cleveland over the weekend in the hopes of advancing further into playoffs. The Club had the same intentions going into Saturday, but when the match started out it appeared as if Pittsburgh wanted it more. The visitors jumped on three of the Club’s mistakes to put in a trio of unanswered tries. With barely a quarter of the match down, the Cleveland side found themselves in an unfamiliar place – at a deficit and, apparently, unable to find a viable solution.

The Club fired back with a try of their own, but then execution issues came back to haunt them once again. Poor handling caused scrums to take place when there could have been a try. Penalties continued to grant Pittsburgh unearned yards and put the hosts under more pressure. The difference was how each team responded to the pressure of the day. Where Pittsburgh resorted to cheap tactics and arguing calls, the Club’s players kept their cool and let their play, and the referee, speak for themselves. On a number of occasions, Pittsburgh found themselves short a few men on the field, either from incurring penalties or injuries. All the Club had to do is capitalize, and they did.

Nick Musarra put in a pair of tries from his position on the wing. His long-range tries were matched by scores from the forward pack courtesy of Chris Fischer and Trent Szente. On separate occasions the two men hammered five-pointers past the visiting pack, both of which came at the end of a flurry of pick-and-go attempts at the Pittsburgh line. Nick Viviani used his feet to put points on the board for his team as well. Not only did he put the back through the uprights on a few occasions, but he darted by a defender who did more talking than tackling and put up another five points for his team.

The match was hard-hitting and intense. Tackles came fast and could be heard from across the field. Pittsburgh tried to push the Club around in mauls, while both teams made battlegrounds of the breakdowns and set pieces. The back lines for both squads took the battle to the air after running the ball on the ground only reaped but so many dividends. The Club’s backs pinned the Pittsburgh backs deep in their own end a number of times. Unfortunately, the ensuing chases left something the be desired and the visitors regained a good amount of ground.

In the end ball security decided the match. At the close of the match, the Club found themselves up by four points with the ball squarely in the visitors’ hands. Unwilling to relent, Pittsburgh plodded down the field, keeping the ball in the capable hands of their larger forwards. Their progress was halted when the Cleveland side stripped the ball from a stampeding Pittsburgh player. Shortly after that the ball was secure behind the secure Cleveland ruck. Viviani did the honors and sent the ball out of play to end the match. The final score was 37-33 in favor of the Cleveland Rugby Club.

Next the Club travels to Detroit to face the Tradesmen, the one nut in the Midwest they’ve been unable to crack. Getting past them will be a taller order than defeating Pittsburgh. It will take a great week of practices and a practically perfect performance to get the victory and make a deeper run into playoffs, but anything is possible.

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Cleveland Takes Teams to School Ahead of Playoffs

Evan "Turbo Prop" Johnson on the Run

Evan “Turbo Prop” Johnson on the Run

The Cleveland Rugby Club defeated two college teams in successive weekends. They put up over one hundred points on Ohio University last week in Athens,OH and put together a performance against Ohio State University that netted them over 50 points this weekend.

Both matches were hard-hitting affairs where execution was the name of the game.

Against OU last week, continuity was a bit of an issue as timing was off when running offensive lines in that backs and defensive assignments were missed on a few occasions. The Club had a number of absences in that lineup at that game and a number of players were out of position during the match. On the plus side, set pieces were solid and the Club dominated the scrums and lineouts. The forwards for the Club capitalized on mistakes made by the Bobcats and stole the ball away on a number of occasions. The backs also made life difficult for their opponents, smothering the attacks by OU, for the most part, and not allowing them many chances to mount an offense.

Ohio University didn’t roll over and die, though. They made nuisances of themselves at the breakdown, turning the ball over frequently in a back-and-forth battle that lasted the full 80 minutes of the match. They also exploited players out of position and placed chip kicks over the defensive line to create tries and put points on the board.

This past weekend, the Club came to the match with a fool complement of players and subs to spare. The preparation and personnel present paid dividends against the Buckeyes as attacks were more crisp and the flow was certainly back in the offense. The ball transferred easily from one side of the field to the other and from forwards to backs, and vice versa, during open field play. The ball was held securely at the breakdown for the most part, which helped the offensive flow. The flow got disrupted a bit as the Club called upon its reserves to finish out the match. Defensive structure suffered a bit and the offense slowed as the fresh legs took the field. Fortunately, their skills were enough to protect the established lead and add on a few points to ensure they got the win. As competition gets more serious, these subs will need to play tougher if they hope to be effective against the stronger competition down the line.

Nick Musarra Grabs One for a Try

Nick Musarra Grabs One for a Try

While Ohio State didn’t seem to have an answer for the Club’s lineout formations, they made things more than a contest at the scrums. Though they were smaller in the forwards for the most part, OSU used superior positioning to put pressure on Cleveland’s pack. At every scrum they threatened to steal the ball from the Club and kept their ball secure for the most part. Despite some muddy conditions the scrums stayed up and safe the entire match.

The toughness of the competition facing the Club had only gone up in recent weeks, and that tend will only continue in the near future. They play host to the Detroit RFC and the West Side Mouth-Breathers before heading up north to tangle with the Tradesmen. The Club will need to take care their issues in execution, sort out their subs and cut out the penalties if they hope to have success down the road.

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Cleveland Takes Teams to School Ahead of Playoffs

The Cleveland Rugby Club defeated two college teams in successive weekends. They put up over one hundred points on Ohio University last week in Athens,OH and put together a performance against Ohio State University that netted them over 50 points this weekend.

Both matches were hard-hitting affairs where execution was the name of the game.

Against OU last week, continuity was a bit of an issue as timing was off when running offensive lines in that backs and defensive assignments were missed on a few occasions. The Club had a number of absences in that lineup at that game and a number of players were out of position during the match. On the plus side, set pieces were solid and the Club dominated the scrums and lineouts. The forwards for the Club capitalized on mistakes made by the Bobcats and stole the ball away on a number of occasions. The backs also made life difficult for their opponents, smothering the attacks by OU, for the most part, and not allowing them many chances to mount an offense.

Ohio University didn’t roll over and die, though. They made nuisances of themselves at the breakdown, turning the ball over frequently in a back-and-forth battle that lasted the full 80 minutes of the match. They also exploited players out of position and placed chip kicks over the defensive line to create tries and put points on the board.

This past weekend, the Club came to the match with a fool complement of players and subs to spare. The preparation and personnel present paid dividends against the Buckeyes as attacks were more crisp and the flow was certainly back in the offense. The ball transferred easily from one side of the field to the other and from forwards to backs, and vice versa, during open field play. The ball was held securely at the breakdown for the most part, which helped the offensive flow. The flow got disrupted a bit as the Club called upon its reserves to finish out the match. Defensive structure suffered a bit and the offense slowed as the fresh legs took the field. Fortunately, their skills were enough to protect the established lead and add on a few points to ensure they got the win. As competition gets more serious, these subs will need to play tougher if they hope to be effective against the stronger competition down the line.

While Ohio State didn’t seem to have an answer for the Club’s lineout formations, they made things more than a contest at the scrums. Though they were smaller in the forwards for the most part, OSU used superior positioning to put pressure on Cleveland’s pack. At every scrum they threatened to steal the ball from the Club and kept their ball secure for the most part. Despite some muddy conditions the scrums stayed up and safe the entire match.

The toughness of the competition facing the Club had only gone up in recent weeks, and that tend will only continue in the near future. They play host to the Detroit RFC and the West Side Mouth-Breathers before heading up north to tangle with the Tradesmen. The Club will need to take care their issues in execution, sort out their subs and cut out the penalties if they hope to have success down the road.

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Club Opens Spring Against Strong Cincy Side

The Cleveland Rugby Club fell to the Cincinnati Wolfhounds 27-10 yesterday. The Club stood toe-to-toe with the visiting team’s forwards, going hammer-and -tong at each other in crunching tackles and contested breakdowns. The home side’s backs appeared to be more than a match for their opposites, snuffing out their offense for the most part and converging on their speed merchants to eliminate their offensive strikes.

Mental errors and penalties piling up led to the Club’s downfall yesterday, though. The team fell back on old habits that led them to squandering scoring opportunities when deeply entrenched in enemy territory; and when the chips were down they let frustration get the better of them. Chirping at one another and the referee only added fuel to the frustration fire on Saturday and put the game out of reach.

The Club did have bright spots in their performance, though. The forwards more than held their own in the set pieces, standing firm in the scrums and stalling out the opposition mauls in lineouts. The back line executed plays with speed and passed with accuracy. All 15 men defended hard and never stopped playing.

Going forward, the Club’s players will look to continue to build on their conditioning and tighten up the intricacies of their play that make all the difference when the match is in the balance.

Practice goes as usual on Tuesday and Thursday as the team prepares for their annual pilgrimage to Athens, Ohio to take on Ohio University.

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Shots from the Road

The Cleveland Rugby Club traveled south to participate in Nash Bash 2015 with a measure of success. Plus sides: the Club bested the Chicago Blaze 30-24 and a good time was had by all. Down side: the Club members were stood up by the St. Louis Royals on Sunday so the trip’s competitive leg was incomplete.

All in all, everyone had a good time and stayed out of jail. Big thanks goes out to Nick Delguyd and Aaron Zone for coming down to help complete the team’s competitive and definitely social efforts.

Below are a few shots from the Club’s match and the social scene around the city.

Brandon Wolfe Makes the Tough Calls

Brandon Wolfe Makes the Tough Calls

Miles Stealing Ball from the Chicago Blaze

Miles Stealing Ball from the Chicago Blaze

Nick Musarra Doing the Tough Poaching Job on an Isolated Runner

Nick Musarra Doing the Tough Poaching Job on an Isolated Runner

 

Line-out Against Chicago Blaze

Line-out Against Chicago Blaze

Nashville... Before the Bash

Nashville… Before the Bash

Nash Bash 2015 Fields

Nash Bash 2015 Fields

Nash Bash 2015 from a Distance

Nash Bash 2015 from a Distance

Nash bash 2015 Banner

Nash bash 2015 Banner

Honky Tonk Central: Party HQ for Nash Bash 2015

Honky Tonk Central: Party HQ for Nash Bash 2015

Downtown Nashville

Downtown Nashville

 

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Schedule for the Club’s Southern Campaign Settled

The first part of the Nash Bach 2015 Tournament schedule.

The first part of the Nash Bach 2015 Tournament schedule.

The Cleveland Rugby Club kicks off their 2015 Spring Season on March 21 as they head down south to participate in the 2015 Nash Bash Tournament.

There will be no shortage of competition at this year’s competition and the Club has been lined up against two of the better squads in their bracket.

The Club starts off their weekend of rugby against the Chicago Blaze, a team some members might have only faced on the sevens circuit. The Blaze ended their Fall season with four wins and six losses, but they also compete against teams like Wisconsin and Metropolis. On the other hand, they beat the South Side Irish and Chicago Riot in close matches in 2014. Depending upon what form of the Blaze shows up and how the Club goes int o the match mentally, it could be a difficult day for the Cleveland Rugby Club on Saturday.

The second part of the Nash Bash Tournament 2015 Schedule.

The second part of the Nash Bash Tournament 2015 Schedule.

Sunday, they face off against the St. Louis Royals, a team that us a complete mystery to the Cleveland side. According to the team’s Web site, the Royals have put together an impressive string of wins going into the tournament, and they will have two matches under their belts when the weekend starts. The Royals have made a habit of putting up big scores against their competition while allowing them little, if any, opportunity to score. As stated before, the Royals have never matched wits with the Club so the outcome will be be very much up in the air.

What is for certain is that Nash Bash could go a long way towards getting the Spring started off right for the Club. Facing two tough mystery teams is exactly the test that the Cleveland Rugby Club needs before facing the devils they do know in the rest of the season. If the CRC can adapt and overcome in Nashville, there’s no reason they can’t have success in the remainder of their season.

 

Stay tuned for results. See you down south. See you at the Bash.

See you at the pitch.

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Competition Is In the Air

Mark your calendars, rugby faithful! It’s Spring time and competition is in the air. The RBS 6 Nations tournament kicks off Friday, Fenruary 6, when Wales face off against England. In related news, the competitive schedule for the Cleveland Rugby Club is coming together. With the recent additions of NashBash and Ohio State University, the Club is looking to change up their list of Spring competitions. Both calendars are below, so carve out your Saturdays now, because they will be filled with rugby soon. See you at the pitch.

Watch the 2015 RBS 6 Nations Tournament at Fox and Hound in Mayfield with the Cleveland Rugby Club.

Watch the 2015 RBS 6 Nations Tournament at Fox and Hound in Mayfield with the Cleveland Rugby Club.

The 2015 Spring Competitive Schedule for the Cleveland Rugby Club comes together.

The 2015 Spring Competitive Schedule for the Cleveland Rugby Club comes together.

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Change Is Here and Spring Is in the Air

It’s official. Now that the 2015 AGM is in the books the Spring schedule is official and we have new Club Officers. Ladies and gentlemen, here are your new Club Officers for the Cleveland Rugby Club.

  • President: Brandon Wolfe
  • Vice President: Charlie Bryan
  • Treasurer: Evan Johnson
  • Secretary: Billy Regan
  • Match Secretary: Kritter Regan

Also, we have solidified our Spring competition schedule for the most part. As it stands, here it is. So, gird your loins, get your cardio together and let’s get at the Spring:

2015 Spring Schedule for the Cleveland Rugby Club

2015 Spring Schedule for the Cleveland Rugby Club

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Tis the Season

With the holidays upon us, there is so much to be thankful for. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever, there is one thing that everyone can celebrate – the return to rugby. Indoor practices begin in one month’s time.

Sessions will be 7:00am at the FORCE location on Richmond (26555 Richmond Road Bedford Hts., Ohio 44146). We will be practicing Saturday mornings starting January 10.

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Fall 2014 by the Numbers

Numbers never lie. Here’s what the numbers have to say about how the Cleveland Rugby Club disposed of the most recent season.**

364 – The Cleveland Rugby Club scored a total of 364 points this season.*

  • The Club amassed 90 points against the West side Mouth Breathers and 137 against Dayton in the two matches played against these opponents.

    cleveland rugby club wins match and celebrates

    Cleveland Rugby Club celebrating a strong performance after a rugby match.

  • The team put up an average of 40 points a match.

6-2-1 – The Club ended the season with six wins, two losses and a tie. The season started off slowly, with the team only taking home two wins out of the opening five matches. After the halfway point of the season, the Club tore through the rest of their schedule.

33 – The Club was awarded 33 points in the Midwest standings for their performance throughout the fall, landing them in second place behind the undefeated Detroit Tradesmen.

35 – The gap between the Club and the Tradesmen was 35 points, the closest anyone got to stropping them this year. The Club was also the one of three teams to hold the Tradesmen to under 60 points.

7 – That’s the number of new players that joined the Club this season. Thank you for your contributions Trent, Taryn, Joe, Dilbert, PJ, Q and Paul for becoming a part of our team this season.

*Overall score numbers affected by the forfeit by the Impalas and do no include scores from the rescheduled match against Detroit RFC.
**All numbers are taken from the USA Rugby Stats Web site.

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