2016-9-16 Philadelphia Whitemarsh Wins 2nd MAC Game Over Old Gaelic 37-24 - Week 2
Andrew Kneisly was the lynchpin for Philly-Whitemarsh’s sound victory.
Philly-Whitemarsh (1,0) at Old Gaelic (1,0) - September 17, 2016
An early showdown loomed between the MAC favorites Philly-Whitemarsh and Old Gaelic. Old foes. New season. PW traveled with redemption in mind after suffering a beating by their central PA counterparts last spring. Old Gaelic looked to solidify its dominance over the big city folk. There were many questions for both squads as they seek to top the table in the North division. This match was going to provide the answers.
Normally considered a forwards team that plays northern hemisphere style rugby, Old Gaelic looked to shrug that perception by attacking PW’s flank off a nifty back field play from a midfield scrum. The success of the strike in terms of gained territory gave the impression of a long day for PW’s defense. However, PW’s resilience sprinkled with a little bit of luck held off the red zone incursion. Philly-Whitemarsh found its gear after fly half Joe Baker threaded the defensive line with a tactical grubber that was scooped up and offloaded to Captain Bob Haller for a try. 10 minutes later Haller double dipped and scored his second under the post after throwing a cheeky dummy that fooled Old Gaelic’s defenders.
Old Gaelic looked to finally string some plays together, but outside center Eric Miller nipped that in the bud for pick six that put PW up 24-3. Old Gaelic throwing caution to the wind scored a gritty try off a penalty 5m from PW’s try line. However, Joe Baker, looking like Jonny Wilkinson from the boot, converted 2 penalty kicks to further the lead. The radar was online for the flyhalf, as he would finish the match with a 100% conversion rate.
1st Half: 30-10 Philly-Whitemarsh
As teams in the lead are apt to do, PW slightly tooks its foot off the gas, committing silly mistakes in front of a surging opponent. Old Gaelic’s centers put their stamp on the match after pounding the ball into PW’s lines, which eventually led to a try. Despite stolen lineout after lineout from Haller and his magnificent 7 forwards, Old Gaelic wouldn’t go away. At minute 60, PW was in a precarious position despite a 13 point lead. It looked like the match could go either way. It’s during this time you give the ball to your most trusted players. Enter Ian Williams. Paying homage to Pennsylvania Railroad, the prop took the ball off a perfect pass from Andrew Kneisly, and like a freight train, ran through 2 Old Gaelic defenders to put the nail in the coffin. It was after that try that the wind left Old Gaelic’s sails, thus eliminating any chance of a comeback. Old Gaelic did have the last laugh though, with try in garbage time, thus showcasing their defiance and setting the stage for the re-match on October 22nd.
A special note for Andrew Kneisly. Normally lack of depth at the crucial position of scrumhalf would devastate a team. However, the former prop and all around good guy, was brilliant throughout the match at 9. He confidently ran the offense by barking orders, setting the pace, and providing laser passes to backs and forwards alike. Andrew Kneisly was the lynchpin for Philly-Whitemarsh’s sound victory.
Final Score: 37 – 24 Philly-Whitemarsh
PW Try Scorers: Haller 2, Miller 1, Williams 1,
Conversions: Baker 4/4
Penalty Kicks: Baker 3/3
Man of the Match: Andrew Kneisly, Joe Baker