PWRFC vs Syracuse - Spring Season Friendly Recap
Syracuse at Philadelphia-Whitemarsh (5,1) - March 4, 2016
March had arrived, but the winds of winter were still cruelly present in Saturday’s pre-season match. Syracuse was kind enough to make the long trip to Philadelphia for a tune-up with the boys in red on the banks of the Delaware river. Syracuse is a storied program with multiple New York State championships under its belt, and a 2012 DIII National Championship to boast. Although marked as a friendly match, this bout was anything but, because in rugby you talk with your shoulder, and there was plenty to talk about on Saturday.
From the start of the match, PW was immediately on the offensive with line breaks and excellent support. After repeated go forward ball, flanker Dominick Bartone spotted a gap in the heart of the defense, and plunged forward for a 30m try. In the ensuing possession, it was the same story but with different players. Outstanding play was showcased by the forward pack with runs from Dan Walsh, Matt Spellman, and Ryan McLean. Syracuse yielded a penalty in their half. PW called off its dogs and opted for a go at the posts. Flyhalf Conway Maraki braved the wind and split the uprights to extend the lead.
As the forwards, led by Captain Chris Karas in his debut as skipper, did damage up front, the PW backs ran rampant all over the field. Inside center John Knab ran hard line after hard line that softened up the middle, so that the wingers Jim Champion and Gary Spencer could outflank the defense. After several phases, Maraki sliced through the defense for the try. This was soon followed by a try from outside center Eric Miller in the corner, which tested Syracuse’s floodgates.
It wasn’t all PW in the first half though. Syracuse used poaching as a fearsome weapon, and it yielded many penalties, which allowed them to gain ground. Another weapon in their arsenal was the maul. It was used effectively in PW’s red zone. After repeated attempts, Syracuse avoided a 1st half shutout and added its first points to the board.
1st Half: 20 – 5 Philly-Whitemarsh
The 2nd half devolved into a chippy affair. Both teams began making substitutions so that new players could be blooded. Chris Karas didn’t get the yank from his coach, and used his time to score a try by bulldozing several players. Syracuse responded with a try of their own to narrow the gap. Play went back and forth but no more points were scored. PW rode their lead for the win, and showcased the excellent depth it has in many positions. A big thanks goes out to Syracuse for making the trip, and to Northeast Irish rugby for hosting us. Good luck in both of your seasons.
Final Score: 25 – 12 Philly-Whitemarsh
PW Try Scorers: Bartone 1, Maraki 1, Miller 1, Karas 1
Conversions: Maraki 1/3, Frymoyer 0/1
Penalty Kicks: Maraki 1/1
Man of the Match: John Knab
Our next Match is this upcoming Saturday 3/11, 1pm at Memorial Hall vs Monmouth. We hope to see everyone there!