Savannah kicked off their 2013-14 league season this past weekend against their rivals from Golden Isles, the Hammerheads. Some pre-season trash talking between fullback, Dontae Lawrence, and his former team had the Shamrocks fired up to defend their new teammate and send a message to rest of the league. Right from the opening whistle it was a one sided affair. The Shamrocks set up early platforms and played within their system effectively through strong rucking and running from the forward pack. Shamrocks’ lock, Jeremiah Kielian, took a hard run from 5 meters out and touched down for the try in the 7th minute, conversion missed (Savannah 5 – Golden Isles 0). The Shamrocks took the ensuing kickoff and immediately pushed ball into Hammerhead territory. After applying continuous pressure Shamrocks’ prop, CJ Regnet, broke through for the try in the 11th minute, conversion by Matthew Midgett (Savannah 12 – Golden Isles 0). The game slowed down into a scrimmaging practice over the next 10 minutes due to sloppy ball handling by both teams. The Shamrocks recovered and finally the backline got into the action as fly-half, Matt Wasilewski, scored under the posts in the 22nd minute, conversion by Midgett (Savannah 19 – Golden Isles 0). The Shamrocks then together a very organized period of play which saw two more tries by Regnet in the 24th and 28th minutes, both unconverted (Savannah 29- Golden Isles 0). In the 33rd minute the Savannah backline got back into the scoring action when outside center, Matt Rutkowski, scored under the post after breaking several tackles, conversion by Midgett (Savannah 36 – Golden Isles 0). The forwards continued to dominate the rucks and once again Kielian dove across the goal line for the try, unconverted (Savannah 41 – Golden Isles 0). With no time left on the clock in the first half, Golden Isles’ 8-man was yellow carded for slowing play near the goal line. Savannah immediately responded from the penalty and swung the ball wide for fullback, Lawrence, to score his first try against his former team, unconverted (Savannah 46 – Golden Isles 0).
Halftime Score: Savannah 46 – Golden Isles 0)
The Shamrocks were very proud of their effort in the second half but were also concerned about their ability to play an entire 80 minutes within their system. With that understanding, Savannah came out even harder in the second half and continued the scoring onslaught. Right from the opening kickoff the forwards and backs displayed great runs and passing. A line-out from 10 meters out was secured by the Shamrocks and resulted in a maul which allowed scrum-half, Gavin Rourke, to peal away for the try in the 43rd minute, conversion by Midgett (Savannah 53 – Golden Isles 0). Continued pressure on the Hammerheads resulted in 8-man, Teri Ransome, scoring in the 48th minute, conversion by Midgett (Savannah 60 – Golden Isles 0). The Shamrocks continued the offensive pressure deep inside Hammerhead territory and in the 52nd minute, Gavin “The Try Vulture” Rourke, picked up his second score, unconverted (Savannah 65 – Golden Isles 0). Rourke would live up to his nickname only seven minutes later when he ran through a small gap in the Hammerhead defense and gave a great dummy to the fullback springing him for the long try run in the 59th minutes, unconverted (Savannah 70 – Golden Isles 0). With fitness issues and lack of substitutes for the Hammerheads taking its toll it was clear that the Shamrocks were headed to victory but they wanted to maintain the shutout. The defensive effort was put to the test when Golden Isles made the deepest venture into Shamrock territory and were rewarded for their effort with a penalty near the 22m line in front of the post. Electing to take a shot at goal, the Shamrocks got away with their penalty as the kick sailed wide left. The Shamrocks efforts were renewed from the near miss by the Hammerheads and they immediately pushed the ball back down the field and great ball handling by the backs left Lawrence open for the try untouched in the 65th minute, conversion by Midgett (Savannah 77 – Golden Isles 0). The kickoff by the Hammerheads was immediately taken back down the field and following a scrum move that worked to perfection as Rourke delivered a well timed pass to fly-half, Midgett, sending him through untouched for the try under the posts in the 68th minute, conversion by Midgett (Savannah 84 – Golden Isles 0). The next kickoff was returned all the way back to the Hammerheads 10m by Regnet and great support and rucking resulted in lock, Ben Kochli, to dive over for the try, conversion by Midgett (Savannah 91 – Golden Isles 0). Hammerheads elected to change tactics on the next kickoff and sent the ball to the backline which was immediately taken by the centers, Rutkowski and Wasilewski, who did Poland proud by taking the ball all the way back for a try in the 71st minute, conversion by Midgett (Savannah 98 – Golden Isles 0). As the game came to a close their was one last opportunity taken by the Shamrocks who moved the ball well through the backline one last time allowing Lawrence to score his third try of the game, unconverted (Savannah 103 – Golden Isles 0).
Final Score: Savannah 103 – Golden Isles 0
It was a great start to the season and the team looks to really be coming together and playing within the system both offensively and defensively.
|9||Matthew Midgett (c)|
Man of the Match
Backs: Dontae Lawrence
Forwards: CJ Regnet