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.


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


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.


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.


The Rugby Ball Celebrates 50 Years of Rugby in the City

Join the Cleveland Rugby Club as we celebrate 50 years of rugby in our fair city. On Saturday, November 22, the Cleveland rugby community will gather at the Inter Continental Hotel to celebrate our sport’s history in the city and look towards its future. The Rugby Ball is a black tie optional occasion and set to be the social event of the year for the rugby community.

Here’s a list of all the amazing speakers that have been assembled to spend the evening with the city’s rugby community. Here are their bios, in brief:

Tom Selfridge: Cleveland native and USA Rugby Hall of Fame Inductee, USA Eagle Player and Manager, USA Rugby Executive Board

Nigel Melville: Current CEO of USA Rugby and former scrum half and captain of the English national XV.

Dr. John Bergfeld: The founder of rugby in Cleveland, John is also a highly acclaimed orthopedic surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and former team doctor for the Cleveland Browns.

Dan Arbeznick: Northeast Ohio youth and high school rugby developer, St. Ignatius High School Coach and Manager, and Ohio referee.

This line-up of speakers covers rugby from the past, present and into the future. Hear what all the voices from every era of Cleveland rugby have to say about their experiences and the state of the sport in the Cleveland area.


A Free Pass After A Hard Match

For the second weekend this Fall, the Indianapolis Impalas forfeited a would-be road match. This time they were supposed to take on the Cleveland Rugby Club, who were coming off of a hard-fough nail-biter against Pittsburgh the weekend prior. While this weekend will see the Club’s Developmental side taking the field, last weekend’s match had the A sidegrinding out a last minute 26-22 win.

Whether it seems like it on the surface or not, this weekend could be a majot deciding factor in how the remainder of the Fall season goes for the Club. Coming off of the victory they had in Pittsburgh, it would be easy to write-off any competition that might come their way this coming Saturday. That would be a huge mistake on the part of the Club’s players because that is not only how you get embarrassed but that is how you also get hurt; and the Cleveland Rugby Club’s ruggeres cannot spare anyone getting mentally of physically damaged. They will need to be sharp in every aspect of their game if they want to finish strong and remain relevant in the standings. Also, this might be a great opportunity for the developing talent of the Club to gain some much-needed playing time. With injuries piling up and players in the midst of recovering, these developing talents will likely see a great deal of playing time and gaining experience before the final matches of the season would be greatly beneficial. If all goes according to plan this weekend, the roster for the Club should be more experienced and one weekend healthier – not a bad way to go into a slate of matches that are against teams that are very beatable.

For those who are unaware, the Club went to Pittsburgh last weekend and wrestled a much-needed win away from the home team. The match was far from perfect on either side. The referee was very liberal with the penalties, dishing out ten meters for even the slightest amounts of back-talk. With the penalties flying fast and furiously, possession and momentum was on a constant shift. On top of all that there were the usual handling errors and penalties of impatience that find their ways into an 80-minute match.

When the Club’s players scored during the match it was by force of will. The Cleveland club’s opening try was off of a line-out, typically a portion of the match that is a toss-up for the Club’s forwards. On this occasion against Pittsburgh’s forwards, they asserted their will with a driving maul that all but strolled across the try line and allowed fill-in front rower, Joe Brown, to get the try. Preston Lowden hooked up with the backs at the end of a long run to cross over for another one his team’s tries to help put a cushion on their lead. Nick Viviani put over a pair of penalty kicks during the match as well; but the bulk of the team’s scoring came from Tren Szente, who had a pair of tries on the day – one of which came during the final minutes of the match after a series of pick-and-go movements deep in Pittsburgh territory.

Even though the Club secured the lead with minutes left in the match, they were far from free and clear. They had one kick off to handle and time to kill, a combination that could easily spell the demise for a club with a slim lead. The Club slowed down the match by putting the ball in the capable hands of the forwards and had them inch their way down the field as time ticked off the clock. Unfortunately, the methodical move was thwarted by a late penalty that put the lead in jeopardy and nerves on edge. Fortunately, Shawn Riley sealed up the match as Pittsburgh tried to swing the ball out wide after sucking in the Cleveland defenses. Riley, normally known for his offensive prowess, snuffed out the attack with a game-saving tackle and poach attempt. The Club was awarded a final penalty, and when they kicked the ball clear the whistle blew and the victory was secured.

The final three matches for the season see the Club come up against the West siders, Dayton and Detroit RFC – three teams they have a good history with First up, they host the West side. They kick off next week at the Metro Parks Pitch at 1:00pm.


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.


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.


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.


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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