by Shawn Brennan
The South Shore Anchors took 3rd place in the Men’s Social division at the Four Leafs Tournament in New York. It was a great day for rugby with weather in the high 50s. It was the first time the Anchors touched an outdoor field this year and it showed early on. Pool play saw the Anchors face Evan’s Sevens and NYRC Social.
The Anchors starting Fifteen came out slow and rusty to start allowing the younger side of Evan’s Sevens(A conglomerate of Binghamton alumni) some early strong runs resulting in a quick try. Another try by Evan’s Sevens and a 12-0 score finally forced the Anchors to wake up from their long winter. Strong runs by Alex Rollins and Ryan Curtis gave the anchors some momentum. A quick weak-side chip kick from #8 Shawn Brennan and a brutal hit on Evan’s fullback by Clark Hoopes as he attempted to field the bouncing ball, resulted in a try for Brennan under the posts. The conversion by Hoopes made it 12-7 and halftime. The Anchors came out strong in the second half playing heavily inside Evan’s 22m but numerous penalties and turnovers cost the Anchors sure points. The second half favored South Shore until a turnover resulted in Evan’s wing streaking down the sideline and scoring under the posts. The match would end with the score 19-7 in favor of Evan’s Sevens.
The next match was played against a well coached NYRC Social side. A different South Shore team would show up this game though with the Anchors dominating for most of the match. Early runs by Clark Hoopes and Alex Rollins resulted in tries for both. Great forward work and a few strong lineout mauls resulted in another try. The half ended 21-3 in favor of the Anchors. It was more of the same in the second half with some powerful runs by Steve Flaherty and Billy Floyd. An impressive goal line stand and some big tackles from Curtis helped keep NYRC from scoring. A few quick turnovers and some great back work resulted in two tries for winger Brendan Meehan to close it out. The match would end 31-3 in favor of the Anchors.
The 1-1 pool play record put the Anchors in the 3rd place bracket against Rochester, who decided they were done for the day and forfeited. The forfeit resulted in the Anchors playing league rival Worcester in the Plate final. The Anchors came out incredibly strong to start, the theme of the day being getting better with every half. A great mix of forwards and backs work kept Worcester off balance early and the Anchors in their 22 for the first few minutes. A lost scrum and two Anchors penalties allowed the Worcester #10 to pin the Anchors inside their 10m line. The defense held for a while but a rolling maul saw Worcester score in the corner, 0-5. The Anchors stormed back with some quick runs and a powerful try from Rollins which tied the game at 5-5. Some “Whitefish Sevens like” kickoff play resulted in some big gains for the Anchors and a try for Clark Hoopes in the corner, 10-5 Anchors. Another big kickoff play and some elusive running by Shawn Brennan resulted in a 2 on 1 win vs. the Worcester Fullback and another try for Alex Rollins, 17-5. Some great team play and powerful runs by McGowan, Flaherty and Boomer led to another try, 22-5. A halftime break saw Worcester come out with a different strategy- use the wind and kick the ball to gain territory. It worked great for field position temporarily but nice phase play and elusive runs by Ben Palmer saw the Anchors keep the ball moving and gaining ground. A quick swing to the left, saw the blazing fast Brendan Meehan score a 60 meter try under the posts. Final score 29-5.
All in all, it was great day of rugby and impressive start to the South Shore spring season. The early loss was disappointing but the play got better as the day went on and a win over a very big Worcester team made the day a success.
The Anchors are looking forward to Springfield this week and training hard for another win!