The gentlemen of Savannah traveled to Atlanta this past weekend to take Norsemen of the North Atlanta Rugby Club in a Division 3 GRU match. The Shamrocks entered the game 1-0 after defeating arch rival Hilton Head two weeks ago and the Norsemen came into the match 0-1 after coming up short two weeks ago against Athens.
The Shamrocks traveled with 20 men, a strong showing for a 4 1/2 hour road trip, and came out hungry right from the opening whistle. Savannah struck first, taking advantage of a free kick awarded near mid-field, when 8-man, DJ Malcolm, took a quick tap and made several defenders miss before off loading to fly-half, Matthew Midgett, for the try in the 4th minute, conversion by Irving Cruz (Savannah 7 – N.A.R.C. 0). The Shamrocks kept pressure on the Norsemen and kept the ball deep in the opponents half. They were rewarded with a penalty in front of the goal posts, which was slotted through by Cruz in the 11th minute (Savannah 10 – N.A.R.C. 0). Savannah took the ensuing kickoff and immediately pushed the ball back into Norsemen territory. Strong forward rucking lead to a break away try in the 13th minute in the corner for prop, Bruce Hicks, conversion missed (Savannah 15 – N.A.R.C. 0). For the next 10 minutes the game was played near mid-field as both teams’ forwards began hitting ferociously. Savannah’s strong counter-rucking was rewarded when prop, Teri Ransome, stole the ball and bowled his way down field to score under the posts in the 23rd minute, conversion by Cruz (Savannah 22 – N.A.R.C. 0). Not to be outdone, N.A.R.C. was able to steal the ball deep in Savannah’s territory and were able to send their inside center crashing through the Rocks’ back line for the try, conversion was good (Savannah 22 – N.A.R.C. 7). Just as N.A.R.C. had their spirits lifted by their first score they made several mistakes that Savannah’s fullback, Dontae Lawrence, was able to take advantage. First, a 22-m drop out taken by N.A.R.C. was sent directly to Lawrence who was quickly tackled but quickly got to his feet and beat the rest of the team down the sideline and under the posts for the try in the 30th minute, conversion by Cruz (Savannah 29 – N.A.R.C. 7). Nine minutes later, another errant kick was made to Lawrence who again made the Norsemen pay by taking the ball down the sideline to score in the corner, conversion by Cruz (Savannah 36 – N.A.R.C. 7).
Halftime Score: Savannah 36 – N.A.R.C. 7
The second half was a different story as N.A.R.C. came out much more hungry for rugby than the showed in the first half. However, Savannah held their own initially when lock, Hank Lux, powered his way through in the 44th minute for a try under the posts, conversion by Cruz (Savannah 43 – N.A.R.C. 7). Six minutes later, N.A.R.C. was able to put together a very successful back line move which saw their powerful running inside center crash through for his second try of the day, conversion missed (Savannah 43 – N.A.R.C. 12). The two teams traded punches again in the second half, figuratively and almost literally, and were awarded a penalty just inside the 22-m line which Cruz slotted through (Savannah 46 – N.A.R.C. 12). The Norsemen responded quickly with a try by their fly-half in 59th minute, conversion successful (Savannah 46 – N.A.R.C. 19). Fortunately for the Shamrocks that was as close as N.A.R.C. would get in their bid for a comeback. In the 65th minute, the Shamrocks scored again after several phases of forward crash ball finally crossed the goal line and lock, Mike McCarthy, came up from the bottom of the pile with the ball in hand, conversion by Midgett (Savannah 53 – N.A.R.C. 19). This hard fought try may have been the one the cancelled The Norsemen’s come back bid, but it was Savannah’s next try in the 69th minute by lock, Peter New, that excited Savannah’s players and fans, conversion missed (Savannah 58 – N.A.R.C. 19). Savannah gave up a try to N.A.R.C. in the 74th minute which was crucial for N.A.R.C. as it was their fourth try on the day, guarantee them one bonus point, despite the loss, conversion missed (Savannah 58 – N.A.R.C. 24).
Final Score: Savannah 58 – N.A.R.C. 24
Forward of the Match: Peter New
Back of the Match: Liam Reimsnider
Games around the GRU:
Athens 50 – High Country 17
Atlanta Renegades 54 – Hilton Head 12
High Country 1-1
Atlanta Renegades 1-1
Hilton Head 0-2