The gentlemen of Savannah closed out the regular season with a match against the cross-town newcomers to men’s Division III rugby when they took on Armstrong on the campus of AASU. Just 45 minutes to kickoff the game was delayed for heavy rain and thunderstorms in the immediate area. Once the worst of it had passed overhead it was game on in very soggy conditions. Savannah came out fast and furious in the game and applied early pressure through strong tackling and heavy running from their forward pack. In the 7th minute their hard work was rewarded as 8-man Greg Woodruff plowed over the try line for the score (unconverted) making the score 5-0. A few short minutes later and the Shamrocks were right back into the Pirates end and converted a swift movement through the backline sending fullback, Kevin McKenzie, through for the try (unconverted) making the score 10-0. Continued pressure resulted and well placed kicking put the ball immediately back into Armstrong’s end of the field and for the second time of the day Woodruff would cross the tryline for the score (conversion by Midgett) making the score 17-0. The Pirates woke up from the early slumber and put together a few runs of their own in response and clawed their way to nearly midfield when a penalty stopped their momentum. A well placed touch kick found the Shamrocks right back into Armstrong’s 22 and quick switch play in the backline sent inside center, Charles Campbell, through for the score (conversion by Midgett) making the score 24-0. The Pirates, quick to regain their composure came back down the field, aided by sloppy defense by Shamrocks, and were rewarded with their best field position of the game. A scrum to the home team 15 meters out was driven back and turned by the Shamrocks but as the ball came out and went weak the Pirates wing was able to scoop up a quick pass and dart through untouched to score under the post (converted) making the score 24-7. The Shamrocks were ready to answer and with the rain finally stopping the backline was able to mount several successful attacks. In 41st minute winger, Bryan Rippee, was sent wide around the corner for the try (unconverted) making the score 29-7. Campbell got back into the act just before halftime and broke the through the line with run at pace to score his second try of the game (unconverted) making the score 34-7.
Halftime Score: Savannah 34 – Armstrong 7
The second half picked up right where the first half ended and the Shamrocks were able to make good use of great field position throughout the remaining 40 minutes. A sloppy ruck at midfield saw Rippee pick up a loose ball and show off his speed and ran away from the defense untouched for his second try of the game (unconverted) making the score 39-7. The forward pack got back into the action with renewed emphasis on hard rucks and even harder running, sparked by rookie flanker, Jeremiah Kielian, who scored his first try in rugby competition (conversion by Midgett) making the score 46-7. Several penalties against the Pirates kept them pinned deep in their own territory and a quick tap was taken from 5 meters out and driven over for the score by flyhalf, Matthew Midgett (unconverted) making the score 51-7. Armstrong tried repeatedly to move the ball into the Shamrocks half of the field and were unsuccessful due to strong pressure and when an errant kick did not find touch a shocking display of footwork by the Shamrocks back saw a darting run return the ball from midfield back to the Pirates’ 5 meter line where it was off loaded to Campbell who scored in the corner completing his hat-trick on the day (unconverted) making the score 56-7. With 12 minutes left to play and the game well in hand the rucking became sloppier and the Shamrocks were forced to resort to some loose passing which allowed the Pirates some breathing room; however, ill-timed penalties and handling errors cost them valuable possession. Within minutes the Shamrocks were back into scoring position and after three quickly run rucks the ball found its way into the hands of outside center, Johnny Rea, for the try (unconverted) making the score 61-7. In the final minutes of the game, the forwards went to work securing possession and grinding the game out and were rewarded when lock, Aaron Glascock, punched a short run through for the try (unconverted) making the score 66-7 as the final whistle sounded.
Final Score: Savannah 66 – Armstrong 7
|10||Matthew Midgett (c)|