On April 13, 2013 the Eastern Suburbs Rugby Football Club welcomed the BGSU Mens Rugby team for a match that had a lot riding on it for the Green Horde. After a devastating loss to the Wisconsin Rugby club the previous week, this match offered the Green Horde an opportunity to rebound against a strong college side and regain some of the confidence they had left behind in Wisconsin. The Falcons had heard about the Wisconsin Incident as well and looked to exploit and destroy an already beaten Cleveland side. Two teams came together at one pitch with different intentions. The Green Horde came to play for pride. The Falcons came to run a clinic and pick the bones clean. No matter their motivations, only one team took a victory away at the end of the day; and when the final whistle blew it was the Green Horde that stood triumphant by a convincing 45 – 5 margin.
From the first minute the Green Horde imposed their will in every aspect of the game, dominating possession and and, for the most part at least, moving the ball with ease and purpose. Once the Cleveland side got on a roll there was little BGSU could do to stop them. Never ones to roll over, the Falcons fought every second of the match. For their efforts, BGSU created turnovers and made threatening breaks towards the Green Horde’s whitewash. Ever the opportunists, the Falcons really shone on defense, isolating ball carriers, tying up the ball in open-field mauls and making nuisances of themselves at the rucks. The score line might have been different had it not been for a few try-saving efforts from the Green Horde’s defenses.
The entire mach saw both teams unloading the entirety of their respective arsenals in an effort to outdo one another. The Falcons would hurl their forwards into the Cleveland defensive line, only to have the Green Horde repel the blows and return with another of their own. The young speedsters from the Falcons darted and dodged their way through traffic, but the Green Horde back line would clamp down, close off their running and passing lanes and answer back with devastating fashion. The ball volleyed back and forth like mortar shells as each team vied for territory and sought to put their adversaries under pressure. Though the squads shot back and forth at one another on the field, the Green Horde was able to minimize their mistakes and capitalize on their scoring opportunities. This sealed the Falcons’ fate.
Set pieces were where the Green Horde really showed their worth, handling lineouts with ease and imposing their will at the scrums. Offensive lineouts went smoothly for both sides, aside from the high winds taking the ball of its mark a few times. Neither team was able to take a lineout against their opponent’s throw.
There were a few moments of let-down and lax discipline for the Green Horde that resulted in them being pushed back for committing penalties. Fortunately, the Cleveland men regained their composure, tightened the reins and got back to business as usual. No one got down on each other or took an ill tone with the referee as they had been known to do. Hopefully, this is a sign of a new trend to come.
Perhaps the most promising thing about the day’s performance was that of the subs and B side players. When the fresh legs came in towards the end of the A side match there was no let down in intensity. As a matter of fact, they provided a shot in the arm and helped the players on the field reach a new gear. When the B side match came up the second side from Cleveland came in without fear and with an intensity to equal the first side. They mirrored the A side’s success in every step of the match, aside from some miscues in the back line. The success of the subs and the B side show that the Green Horde is turning a corner and is evidence of two things: that the ESRFC B side can compete with the intensity to match any A side player and that the future of the Green Horde is looking very bright.