PWRFC vs Monmouth Recap
Monmouth at Philly-Whitemarsh (5,1) - March 11, 2016
After being put to the sword by Schuylkill River 59-19 last week, Monmouth continued its pre-season tour of Philly teams by facing off against a squad that had still yet to find its groove. Player turnover and fierce position competition for PW had forced Coach Antoian to shuffle his cards, looking for the best hand to play. Depth on a rugby team is a key ingredient for success. This was the final chance for players to raise their hand before the 2017 spring campaign kicked off in earnest against a very motivated Lancaster side next week.
Into the wind for the 1st half, PW got off to a fast start after outside center Eric Miller threw a dummy that fooled the defense and sliced right through Monmouth’s line to put them on the defensive in their red zone. The early match incursion was thwarted by solid defense and the Jersey boys repelled the invaders. Shortly after PW had returned and this time they finished the job with a run by Captain Chris Karas in his typical bruising style to put his team up 5 - 0. The PW forwards were outsized in this match, but it’s the size of the bite, as the saying goes, that counts. Prop Matt Spellman especially stood out by imposing his will at the breakdown and consistently moving the chains anytime he touched the ball. This forward progress allowed the PW backs to choose their opportunities, and one such came up that Flyhalf Conway Maraki seized, which ended with a try and a trail of grounded defenders. Another opportunity came in Monmouth’s red zone as a result of the forwards that called for quick hands for space. Late night practice was clearly paying off, as the ball was seamlessly transferred from forwards to backs. Miller decided to keep it this time and out ran the overlapped defense for his 1st try. PW almost scored one more after a long break from Conestoga alum Pete Jean, but Monmouth’s fullback didn’t give up, and forced a try saving knock on. Eventually Monmouth was able to knock on PW’s door and consequentially touch one down, after their flyhalf put his head down and grinded it out for the score.
1st Half: 17 - 5 Philly-Whitemarsh
It was the same story, but a different half. PW Backrow forward Colin Westman fought through several defenders to slam down a well deserved try. Similar to his 1st half try, Miller received a gift from his teammates, who deftly spun it wide after repeated go forward ball. PW was firing on all cylinders and did not lose a beat as players were switched out. The modern rugby game demands more than 15 players to finish a match, and the impact subs lifted the tempo of the game. Wings Frasier Keil and Mike Gentile locked down any attempts at going wide by Monmouth. By frustrating Monmouth’s defense, mistakes were made, which provided ample opportunity for PW to counter attack. Deep in Monmouth’s territory, 2nd row Dan Walsh hammered his way through for a well deserved try. That brought the 2nd half tally to 17, which equaled PW’s 1st half points. It was an all around solid performance. Coach Antoian has a problem many coaches would like in terms of selection. Many players stepped up. PW is now ready to make its playoff push. Bring on Lancaster.
Final Score: 34 – 5 Philly-Whitemarsh
PW Try Scorers: Miller 2, Karas 1, Maraki 1, Westman 1, Walsh 1
Conversions: Maraki 2/6
Man of the Match: Matt Spellman
Match Pictures taken by Gene Thorpe Photography! -
1st league match of the Spring is this upcoming Saturday 3/18 vs Lancaster - 1pm at Memorial Hall