Schuylkill River takes Philadelphia Rugby to Washington D.C.
With some long-time regulars out of the lineup Schuylkill River was able to travel down to D.C. and earn a 34-24 victory over a very resilient Washington Irish team in the D1 match. It was all Schuylkill from the start as Ricky “Man Crush” Schneider, Ben Janssen, Tyler Kelly, and Matt Giannascoli were able to run in tries within the first 25 minutes of the match to give us a 22-0 lead. From there the Washington Irish were able to sandwich two tries around a score from Chino Deal to make it 27-12 at halftime.
Things got very interesting in the second half when the Washington Irish were able to score two tries and make it a 27-24 match in the final 10 minutes. In the 78th minute Jeff “The Closer” Hall scored on a pick and go to give Schuylkill a 34-24 advantage which ended up being the final score.
Our D2 side also played a match against Washington’s second side. The match was a friendly as the D2 league season is on hiatus until March 17. Washington ended up winning the match 42-25. Schuylkill’s tries were scored by Dave Hilley, Dave Gross, Beau Lail, James Glatts, and Brian Taylor.
After the D2 match Coach Mike Clark awarded Man of the Match honors to Brian Taylor and gave recognition to Andrea Fatatis, Josh Marchisio, and Dave Hilley for their strong performances.
After the D1 match Coach Owen Jones awarded Man of the Match honors to Jeff Hall and acknowledged the performances of Schneider, Ryan McHugh, Cody Bukowski, and Joe Midwig while also giving recognition to Ian Glatts, Matt Zebrowski, John Hines Jr, TJ McDonough, and Brian Taylor for stepping up from the D2 team to help out the D1 this week.
Jones told me “our six tries were scored by six different players which is a testament to our player depth and offensive versatility. I would like to highlight the game performance and season performance of Jeff Hall. We have had a rotation of players and the second row position but the constant has been Jeff. His reliable presence has allowed us to maintain a consistent and strong platform.”
I reached out to Jeff and asked him for his thoughts on Owen’s assessment and to tell me what it means to him to provide a steady presence for the Club, put in the hard work, and be ready for whatever the team needs him to do. I also asked Jeff to discuss how it feels to do hard work all match in the tight 5 and then score a big try at the end. This is what Jeff had to say:
“I think we’ve had our share of trials this fall. A few significant injuries and availability issues early in the season, particularly in the forwards, put us in a position where we’ve had to fill gaps. We’ve had players move into positions that aren’t typically their own; Pat Boyle, Ryan McHugh and Matt Zebrowski to name a few, and a good number of call-ups from the D2 side come in and make an impact. That’s what speaks to the nature of the Club this year. Knowing that whoever is standing next to you that week is there to do the job, regardless of who it is, and we can make it work. None of our wins this season have been a runaway victory for Schuylkill, but the effort on an individual level to benefit the Club has been keeping us up in the table. Every player seems ready for what the coaches ask of them, whether it’s to step up or change focus. That mentality gave us the win on Saturday. The game got tight towards the end, but since we’ve been in these positions so often, we could collect ourselves and let our pattern relieve some of the pressure until all I had to do was fall across the line from a few feet out and we could call it a win.”
Given the way that people stepped up for us this weekend across the entire Club roster I reached out to Director of Rugby Pat Boyle for his thoughts on how our success over the weekend reflects our Club culture and the structure that we are trying to put in place. Boyle told me the following:
“Playing road games, after suffering a season’s worth of injuries, can test a Club’s structure but we definitely answered the bell on Saturday. I’m really proud of how the guys responded this weekend and with our player development overall this season. We had three first time D1 starters in the pack and multiple reserves who got their first D1 experience at all. The moment wasn’t too big for anyone because the player pathway is very clear on our Club and these guys had been playing meaningful minutes for the D2 side for a couple of months now. More impressively, even though the D2 league matches are over our second side traveled to DC on Saturday for a friendly and will do so again in Pittsburgh this upcoming weekend. This shows that the entire Club has bought into our culture and that the D2 side really is the driving force in the Club. D2 is working towards a championship but also creates player pathway to D1, and without that pathway, D1 rugby is irrelevant."
Tries: Ricky Schneider, Ben Janssen, Tyler Kelly, Matt Giannascoli, Chino Deal, Jeff Hall
Cons: Cody Bukowski (2)
Tries: Beau Lail, Dave Gross, James Glatts, Dave Hilley, Brian Taylor
Season Scoring Tally
Tries: Tito Callahan (2), John Hines (2), John Sneh (2), James Brunson (2), Michael Bacon (1), Pat Bellot (1), Mike Centanni (1), James Glatts (1), Dave Gross (1), Dave Hilley (1), Beau Lail (1), Josh Marchisio (1), Brian Taylor (1), Yuriy Trimba (1), Matt Tyris (1)
Cons: Greg Mininger (2), Ryan Tower (2). Tito Callahan (2)
Pens: Ryan Tower (1)
Tries: Ben Janssen (5), Rick Schneider (5), Cody Bukowski (3), Rich Casey (3), Ryan McHugh (3),Pat Boyle (2), Chino Deal (2), Roman Lowery (2), Matt Giannascoli (1), Jeff Hall (1), Tyler Kelly (1), Brian Keown (1), Joe Midwig (1), Jim Rosato (1), Matt Tyris (1)
Cons: Brian Keown (13) Matt Chiaramonte (4) Cody Bukowski (2)
Pens: Brian Keown (3)