RESULT North Shore 26–SSU 15
April 2, 2016, 7:00pm @ O'Keefe Sports Complex, Canal St, Salem, MA 01970
Referee's Official Match Report
3-30 minute periods for this friendly. Physicality was very high, with tension to match at times. Captains did a good time keeping teams in check and calmer. Solid, fast play all-around.
Referee: LB Moore
Our Match Report
North Shore kicked off the Spring 2016 season with a 26-15 win against Salem State under the lights this past Saturday to commence the incumbency of the Chung Dynasty. Kickoff was at 7:30 pm and any serious precipitation held off for the most part of the three 30 minute periods.
Salem State was first to jump on the score sheet with a try around the 10 minute mark after a fairly equal opening period of play. A North Shore turnover discombobulated our defensive organization and exhibited Salem State's young athleticism for a 50+ meter open field run that put SS up 5-0. North Shore didn't wait long to answer as we were able to grind our way down to the 5 meter line where outhalf James Sullivan continues to prove to be so dangerous, and expectedly touched down the converted try. Another 10-15 minutes would pass without any scores from either team. North Shore's conscious strategy to hold on to the ball and not turnover the ball over allowed for solid possession and ability to steadily make our way down the field. Once again we found ourselves sniffing for points inside Salem State's 22 that lead to a series of successful pick and go's from NS pack, resulting in Tom Moore to cross the goal line for an unconverted try to extend the lead to 12-5 at the end of the first period. Prayers for Tom Moore who left the game shortly there after with a lacerated ear (he's fine, stitched up and was able to return for the drink up).
Second period substitutions featured some new faces in Red and old faces at newer positions, overall not a lot of change in the flow of the game. North Shore was able to throw their weight around to control the game, but there was always the looming threat that Salem State could snap off a long run at the drop of a hat; that drop of the hat would come about halfway through the second period. After NS had the ball literally millimeters away from the SS try line, a turnover allowed for another open field run that let a SS back player to offload to a nearby teammate for an unconverted score just before being hit so hard by fullback Garret Santos the turf shook. Again it would not be long before NS answered, as scrum-half Andrew Hartigan was able to catch SS napping and quick tapped a penalty for a 10 meter run for another converted try, the second period would close with a 19-10 score.
Even more new NS faces were introduced in the 3rd period, some of which were getting their first taste of a rugby match. Complementary to SS athletic ability, they were consistently impressive with their commitment to the breakdown and demonstrated great ability to counter and secure rucks. But it was the lack of any more serious NS mistakes that allowed us to stay in the driver seat and finish off the W. To no surprise it was again the forwards that were able to cap off the victory with another pick and go from the Springbok Clive.....because I'd like to see you tell that man "No" from inside of 5 meters. Salem State was able to tack on one more unconverted try to finalize a 26-15 final score.
Overall it was a good win and solid start to the Spring season. A lot of new guys got some minutes and, despite only having six hours of practice time, implementing a new strategy wasn't a complete disaster; good not great, and still a lot of room for improvement. Man of the match went to rookie "Swami" (that nickname is sticking), Garret, and Preach. Just a quick moment to honor Preach as a long standing member of North Shore rugby who may have played his last match for a quick minute as he is off traveling to spread the good word of the Lord. The boys in red will have an off week next Saturday and will next be traveling for a match at Freedom on 4/16.
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