Spring Opens with a Narrow Win

Ohio’s finest rugby team, the Cleveland Eastern Suburbs Rugby Football Club, made the long drive down to Cincinnati over the weekend to play in what ended up being a test match in every sense of the word.

Unfavorable weather made the match against their DI opponents that much more difficult. The rain, which eventually turned into snow and hail made the ball extremely difficult to handle, resulting in a lot of loose ball on the deck and handling errors. The muddy pitch made getting a foothold almost impossible, an issue that affected the srums and mauls quite a bit. And the southern Ohio gails made caused the normally on-point kicks from flyhalf Nick Viviani to fade off target a number of times throughout the match.

Fortunately, due to the grit and determination of the 19 Cleveland players that made the drive, the ESRFC was able to bring home a four-point victory and take down the Wolfhounds 21-17.

The match got heated early with some sketchy play on the part of the Wolfhounds. Fortunately, cooler heads prvailed and the contest proceeded without further incident. The Green Horde opened theit account with two early penalties from the boot of their flyhalf. The Wolfhounds scored late in the first half and closed out the initial 40 minutes on a sour note for the Green Horde. The second half didn’t start much better for the visiting side as the Wolfhounds capitalized on mental errors to put up another quick try. Throughout the second half the team traded tries, putting one another under constant pressure in the hopes that the other would break. Fortunately, the ESRFC’s late try by Preston Lowden was enough to put the game out of reach for the Wolfhounds, who put in a last-gasp try during the waning minutes of the match.

The GReen Horde looks to travel to Athens and face OU in their last match before hosting the Impalas in a playoff match. If the Green Horde continues to play as hard as they did in Cincy, there are a scant few teams who can match them. Kickoff for the OU match is Saturday April 5 at 1:00pm.

See you at the pitch.


Cleveland Rugby Represented in US Rugby Hall of Fame

Tom Selfridge (4th from right in back) with the Cleveland Blues

Tom Selfridge (4th from right in back) with the Cleveland Blues

A man who helped lay the ground work for what Cleveland rugby is today, Tom Selfridge, is being honored in Houston, Texas as part of the US Rugby Hall of Fame’s 2014 Class. Selfridge started his career in Cleveland and played around the world from there.

Here’s a brief bio on Selfridge and his rugby pedigree:

Tom Selfridge began playing rugby in 1969 as a wing/outside center for the Cleveland Blues RFC. He moved to Schenectady, NY in 1973 and was soon selected for Upstate New York and Eastern Rugby Union Select Sides at No. 8. Selfridge played five times for the United States National Team, including the Eagles’ first three test matches in the modern era. Off the playing field, Selfridge was President of the Cleveland Blues, Schenectady Reds, Windhover RFC, Upstate New York Rugby Union and the Eastern Rugby Union. He served on the Board of Directors for the Upstate NY Rugby Union, the Eastern Rugby Union, the United States of America Rugby Football Union and the United State Rugby Foundation. He managed ERU teams to Wales, Zimbabwe and Bermuda; was manager for the United States Eagles against Canada in 1988 and was instrumental in organizing the USA vs South Africa match in 1981.

Congratulations Tom. Hopefully, there will be more Cleveland rugby players in the future that follow the trajectory your career has taken and can use your achievements as inspiration and motivation.

This honor is just one more example of strong rugby coming from Cleveland.


Stepping Out

The countdown to the official start of the 2014 Spring season is officially down to less than a week – six days until the Cleveland Eastern Suburbs Rugby Football Club comes out of hibernation and visits Cincinnati Wolfhounds.

The first game of the season, especially Spring, is always tough. Fortunately, this won’t be the first outdoor competition of the season for the Green Horde, who came in third place at this year’s pre-St. Patrick’s Day rugby tournament in Savannah, Georgia. The Wolfhounds aren’t a club to come into a match unprepared either. The Southern Ohio club was also at the Georgia tournament to defend their 2013 crown.

Both teams should be evenly matched in a season opener that will be a good tune-up for both teams. For the Green Horde, this will provide an effective gauge to see where they are in their fitness and execution as well as where they need to go if they want to be successful in their playoff match next month.

The Wolfhounds and Green Horde are no strangers. In the past they have traded players – first scrumhalf Brandon Wolfe and more recently utility forward Mark Viviani. Now, they will go toe-to-toe and see who comes out on top.

Stay tuned for highlights of this and future games. See you at the pitch.


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