Spring Season off to a Great Start for Skill Rugby!

Posted by Schuylkill River RFC on Apr 26 2021 at 12:45PM PDT

Skill Rugby played one match in 2020 prior to the shutdown so aside from that it’s been 18 months since we’ve really had a season. That meant 20 players would be making their 15s debut this weekend with an additional 3 who had only played once for us before. Thankfully this was an incredibly strong recruiting class and the relative lack of experience playing together was not a hindrance for us as our D1 side (the Exiles) raced out to a 70-12 victory in our first match of the season against Baltimore-Chesapeake.

Coach Jamie stated that it was good to be back home welcoming some young class into the squad. The new players provided a spark and the homegrown talent surrounding them helped control the match. However, our defense wasn’t what we hoped for in our own 22 and despite not spending too much time there we did leak points in our own third. Additionally, our structure wasn’t what we wanted but at the same time, when you generate ball faster than you can structure and you’re scoring points then you really can’t complain. Coach and the team will look to address these issues in training this week.

In terms of Man of the Match it is a split between Chase Haberstroh who brought the fire in the pack and Danny Giannascoli who brought control, along with a little flare, just as requested from the flyhalf position.

T: Alex Ruiz (2), Danny Giannascoli (2) Jack Ramirez (2), Aaron Gray (1), Chase Haberstroh (1), Jeff Hall (1)
C: Danny Giannascoli (5), Ruiz (3)
P: Danny Giannascoli (3)

Our D2 side (Troop) played a closer match but there were also victorious. We got off to a 12-0 start thanks to tries from Anthony Sessa and Kyle Kent before Baltimore stormed back to make it 12-17. Bouba Bangoura scored a timely try before halftime and Matt Zebrowski added another on the other side of intermission to make it 26-17. After a Baltimore penalty Matt Rhodes scored in the 65th minute and Jon Ahern converted to make it 33-20. Two late tries by Baltimore almost cost us the match but thankfully the team held on to win 33-32.

Afterwards Coach Jamie said you should be grateful as a coach when your biggest concern is how to get all this talent enough time to shine. We definitely had a battle against a club who’s top string had a couple more absentees than us, but had as much strength in depth. Arguably we were lucky in the end, but this was earned with a lot of fight and adapting to plenty of player rotation.

In terms of Man of the Match Bouba Bangoura earned the distinction for 80 minutes of hard edged play up front that we needed. Coach also mentioned that Aaron Gray or John Ahern each exhibited excellent control from the flyhalf position in their respective halves.

T: Anthony Sessa (1), Bouba Bangoura (1), Kyle Kent (1), Matt Rhodes (1), Matt Zebrowski (1),
C: Ryan Tower (2), Jon Ahern (1), Kyle Kent (1),

Big thanks to Dan Callahan for showing up to take photos! Please feel free to use whatever you like from this link:

Lastly, here is a list of players who made their debuts this weekend along with their schools/prior clubs:
Bill Shaw: Franklin & Marshall
Sully Gyerman: Temple
Danny Giannascoli: Malvern Prep, Loyola
Pat Frick: Loyola, Baltimore-Chesapeake
Niall Carlson: Northeastern
Alex Walsh: Towson, Baltimore-Chesapeake
Jake Smith: Coventry, Kutztown
Aaron Gray: Kutztown
Thaison Nguyen: Roman Catholic
Anthony Sessa: Kutztown
Zach Kelley: California University of Pennsylvania, Villanova
Bouba Bangoura: Kutztown
James Lampe: US Air Force – Played in Germany
Matt Rhodes: Rowan
Damir Creecy: University of Delaware
Martin Arceluz: Madrid Lions
Kobie Tuckson: Kutztown
Alex Mingowi: Kutztown
Jon Ahern: Downingtown, St. Joe’s
Jack Heffernan: St. Joe’s

Semi new (one match played previously):
Kyle Kent: Drexel
Dan Berger: Rowan
Joe Rooney: Drexel


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