Courtesy of Dane Barclay
This past weekend the Men’s D1 traveled up North to Ferndale, WA to take on the Chuckanut Bay Rugby Club. This was the first D1 match for the men in nearly a decade. The side traveled light due to a number of players being unavailable to make the trip. The conditions at the pitch were just short of ideal with low 60 degree temps, cloudy skies, no wind, and just a few light showers during warmups to soften the ground.
The first half of play exposed rust on both sides with ORSU and Chuckanut exchanging knock-ons, Ill-advised passes, and missed opportunities. This led to a fair amount of extra practice at the set piece. Throughout the match ORSU controlled the scrums, led by the veteran props Jason Fields and Enrique Lopez, while also disrupting line outs with jumpers Alex Bercovici (lock) and Brendan Hobbs (#8).
The Jesters had a few opportunities to strike within several meters of the goal line, but Chuckanut’s solid defensive line and unfortunate drops spoiled the attempts. ORSU took the only shot on goal for either team in the first half with, fullback, Justin Guy missing just right of the sticks from 35 meters out.
Hobbs made the play of the first half when he chased down Chuckanut’s outside center, who kicked a loose ball through ORSU’s backline, and forced him to knock forward on the 5-meter line. The half ended with neither team putting points on the board.
The second half opened up with ORSU again putting pressure on the opposing defense. After several phases the Jesters were awarded a penalty from 30 meters out. Electing to take a shot at goal, Guy missed another close one to the left.
The drought didn’t last long as ORSU pushed the ball into Chuckanut territory eventually forcing a knock-on and a 5-meter scrum near the right sideline. The Jester pack threw their weight around pushing the opposing forwards within a meter of the try zone where, scrumhalf, Dane Barclay sniped between the weak side flanker and wing to dot it down for the games first points. Kick was no good, ORSU 5 – 0.
Chuckanut answered quickly getting the ball to their replacement inside center who, with his size and change of pace speed, barreled through the ORSU defense for a try near the left post. Kick was good, ORSU 5 – 7.
Back and forth action resumed until Guy boomed a kick across field to the opposite side where winger Tyler Thomson chased to apply the pressure and force the opponent out of bounds within the 22. Winning the following lineout, ORSU’s pack once again moved up the field with a collection of pick-and-go ending with Fields securing another 5 points for the good guys. Kick was good, ORSU 12 – 7.
However, the lead was short lived as once again Chuckanut found their way into Jester territory through costly mistakes and solid rucking at the breakdown. The drive ended with Chuckanut using hands to find their winger in the far corner for a try. Kick was no good, ORSU 12 – 12.
Momentum seemed to be on Chuckanut’s side as they continued to put pressure on ORSU with quality runs and defense. Then the game calmed down as ORSU, content with playing a game of territory, continued putting kicks down field off the legs of Guy, Thomson, and, fly half, Talo Fetuuaho. This eventually led to a penalty by Chuckanut in their own territory and a successful attempt at goal for Thomson. ORSU 15 – 12.
With several minutes left in the match, ORSU put together a number of solid phases with hard runs and picks before getting the ball out wide where, new comer, Tysen Gray found a gap in the defense, breaking off a long run and off-loading to Fetuuaho for a try in the corner. Kick was no good. Final score ORSU 20 – 12.
Gray, Nathan Kimmel (winger), and Austin Robinett (scrumhalf) all made their first appearance with ORSU.
Congratulations to the fellas for their first win of the season. Next up is PNRFU champion Snake River this Sunday (9/27) at Lents Park (SE 88th and Holgate). Kickoff at noon.
Barclay – 1
Fields – 1
Fetuuaho – 1
Thomson – 1 penalty kick, 1 conversion