Philadelphia-Whitemarsh vs Doylestown - Round 2 - October 29th, 2016
Philadelphia-Whitemarsh (4,1) at Doylestown (2,2) - October 30, 2016
In what is becoming a yearly tradition, Philadelphia-Whitemarsh faced local rival Doylestown on Halloween weekend. The stakes could not be any higher for both squads. PW, reeling from a loss to 2nd placed Old Gaelic, looked to return to their winning form in the last match of their fall campaign. Doylestown desperately needed a victory to keep pace with PW and Old Gaelic in the standings. In Week 3, PW snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a last minute try. The wound was still fresh for Doylestown, and revenge was on their mind for what would become a spooktacular match.
The smack of bodies from crushing tackles and rucks destroyed the tranquility that encompassed Doylestown’s pristine pitch. There would be no mercy in this bout. The intentions of both squads were immediately revealed at the breakdown, which is not for the faint of heart. Men are made at the ruck, and the brutality that was displayed was testament to both squads’ will to win. PW struck first though, after center Eric Miller executed a Sonny Bill Williams offload to sure handed winger Gary Spencer, who dotted it down in the corner. Fly-half Joe Baker defied the wind, and struck a perfect kick that split the uprights.
On the other hand, Doylestown’s talented backline wouldn’t be outdone, and after a set piece play, outside center Chris Bone broke through and passed a laser to his teammate to even up the match. The Dragons took the lead after flyhalf Dylan Hamilton converted a tricky penalty kick. However the lead didn’t last long, because backup and very versatile fly-half Andrew Kneisly was able to cut through the Dragons’ rush defense, and pass to a crashing Miller, who was able to run by and through several defenders for the try. Jared Frymoyer, stepping in as place kicker, confidently extended the lead with a penalty kick to end the half.
1st Half: 15 – 10 Philadelphia-Whitemarsh
Although PW was leading, Doylestown’s chances looked very good entering the 2nd half. They had the wind, and had been on offense for the majority of the 1st half. Their defense stepped up when asked, and answered with a pick-six from an errant pass by Miller. That was a very demoralizing try for PW early in the 2nd half. However, the squad from Philly was resilient, and was given a boost after a yellow card was issued to the Dragons for repeated infringements at the breakdown. PW was able to cash in on the advantage from 8-man and human wrecking ball Tristan Sylk, who would not be denied from touching the ball down for the try.
Just like last week, PW had the lead at the start of the 70 minute mark. And just like last week, the lead was lost to their opponent. Doylestown scored to take a commanding lead in the last few minutes of the match. However, there was time for one last gamble. After Captain Bob Haller retained possession from the kick off by flying through the air for a wide receiver like catch, PW lay siege to Doylestown’s try line. The stage was set for a dramatic ending. There was the siege of Tyre. There was the siege of Malta. There was the siege of Vicksburg. Then there was the siege of Maennerchor Field. The desperate defense displayed by the Dragons was warming to the heart of any fan of the game. PW’s assault came in the form of wave after wave by the forwards. Flanker Brian Kealey, impact sub/lock Andrew Tully, and hooker Chris Karas, with no regard for their well being, charged into the teeth of the Dragons. Scrumhalf Matt Geiger frantically tried to command his players, who got try fever and kept charging forward. The bodies piled up at the breakdown. Doylestown held up center Steve Frey who tried to power through after a quick tap at the penalty. The ref repeatedly bailed out PW after Doylestown kept repeating infringements at the breakdown. After one such penalty, to the crowd’s horror and delight, depending on which side you look at, the ref ominously walked to the center of the goalposts and raised his arm for a penalty try. That was it. Game. Set. Match. Despite the ruthlessness of the game and juxtaposed feelings of both teams, PW and Doylestown shook hands and shared a pint in the spirit of rugby tradition.
Final Score: 27 – 24 Philadelphia-Whitemarsh
PW Try Scorers: Spencer 1, Miller 1, Sylk 1, PEN TRY 1
Conversions: Baker 1/1, Kneisly 0/1, Frymoyer 0/1, Frey 1/1
Penalty Kicks: Baker 0/1, Frymoyer 1/2