Thursday, August 23, 2012

18 months later, better late than never!

So I finally have access to this blog so here goes nothing! Please do not refer to the previous post date as it does not matter from here on out (ignore the 18 months in-between). The blog is now up and running again and that is all that matters! That being said, I would like to say a few words: 

I CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS SEASON! It is truly an honor to be appointed the new captain of this club. To share the same position as some of the previous greats is blowing my mind. I'm happy the team feels confident in me and entrusts me with the task of not letting this club team dwindle away. I feel motivated and determined to not only get the team back up and going with full force, but to put forth a solid team good enough to even have a winning season and kick some ass.

Things fell apart near the end of last season but never again, not on my watch. Where we struggled to field a team of 15 last year, we have already improved. 27 people already showed up to our first meeting and that wasn't even everybody. We have numbers this year, we have skill, we have determination, and we are ready to get some experience. I am ready to ruck shit up this season!

Your new president,

   Zachary Kronisch

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

close first win sets up promising 2011 spring season

This last Saturday, the men of Guilford Rugby faced off against a hard-running team from Davidson College, on our home pitch.

From kick-off the game proceeded quickly, with Guilford putting together several phases in a row and marching down the pitch to well inside their twenty-two. The Davidson defense held however and a Guilford penalty gave Davidson the ball back without any points on the board. The first half was a back and forth battle. Guilford was given the advantage over Davidson through great scrummaging overall country, overall mean forward play. Our mindset going into the match was that of tight defense. This was especially necessary around the breakdown, as these were the channels in which they attacked the hardest during our last bout. Davidson won the previous match 28-0 and Guilford came hoping for vengeance. Sure to the game plan, Davidson came in attacking mainly in pods consisting of forwards, and Guilford withstood the pressure, only being inside our 22 meter line a few times in the first half.

On the offensive side, there were missed opportunities to attack the ball out wide, with Matt Hayes making his first start at fly-half. The centers, Randall Aldana (inside) and Sean McNally (outside) made excellent runs and drove the defense back on nearly every run and while we held good possession throughout the first half nothing came to fruition, leaving both teams at 0 by the end of the first forty minutes.

Guilford sustained a key injury with starting scrummy "Baby" Nick Forman being sidelined with an injury around halfway through the first half. Baby Nick wouldn't make a re-appearance and was taken to the hospital, where was diagnosed with back spasms. Nick is listed as questionable for the upcoming game this Saturday against West Carolina University. "Blonde" Tom Clement, who forms the Guilford scrum-half committee, came in from Wing and played a solid game throughout.

At halftime Guilford was hungry, and we knew that it was our game to win. After a good pep talk we came out in the second half determined to put points on the board quickly. Finally our prayers were answered when rookie flanker Randy Perry made an excellent play, surging through their line and grounding the ball inside their try zone. Sophomore Aaron Craig slotted the conversion and Guilford went up 7-0. Quickly afterwards Davidson had possession of the ball, and through several penalties had gotten to within our 22. Their back-line, which had showed little promise throughout the first half, made a series of quick passes to the wing, and in a race to the try line barely beat out our chasing back three, to the dismay of our team and supporters. Luckily enough, their kicker grubbed the ball on the conversion and Guilford stayed ahead by two points.

The second half was slightly less sloppy than the first, but both teams had their fair share of penalties. The forwards played up to their first half level, anchored by seniors David Watters at prop and Kevin Cumberland at 8-man. It was because of our forwards, and top-shelf running from the backs as well that Guilford was once again on their doorstep. About halfway through the second-half, directly on a scrummage Sean McNally moved to the fly half for one play, running to the weak side and getting within five meters of the try line. We stayed at this position, moving across the face of the goal before a Davidson penalty and corresponding quick tap try by "Burrito" McNally gave Guilford some breathing room at 12-5.

From then on out it was a game of possession, with Guilford making some mental errors that moved Davidson down the field once more into the Guilford half. As time was running out Davidson once again brought the ball out wide in a run mirroring their first try, but their wing's foot found touch and after a few minutes of debate caused the head referee to rule a line-out. The Davidson coach was raging and caused their to be a penalty to Guilford just as time expired, and after a kick to touch their were cheers from the Guilford side that signaled a victory...

It was a good first win, and many thanks to the fans and everyone who came out to the game and helped make it happen. Look for a blog coming up in about a week after our away game Saturday February 19 against WCU! Thanks for reading....

Guilford 12 - Davidson 5

Just as a public service announcement: There are no alcoholic beverages permitted on the sidelines, parking lot or playing field of the Rugby Pitch. Any individual found with such items may be ejected from the match and subject to school-legal sanctions. The Guilford Rugby team would like to ask that all of our fans follow in accordance with all school, local, state, and federal regulations, and please keep coming out to our games!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Game Recaps of the Duke and Gastonia matches

Sorry for the delay in getting these posts out...

For the first game of our Fall 2010 season, we convoyed over to Durham to face off against Duke in a Friday night game. This first game featured fresh faces at several positions both within the scrum and back line. Returning players such as Dave "Caveman" Watters, and Aaron "Harvard" Craig helped to lead the scrum, while flyhalf Sean "Burrito" McNally led a back line in which Harrison Anthony started his first game at the outside center position.

This game was played in true fall non-MATRIX fashion, with no kicking for points allowed, due to the fact that a massive satellite was placed behind one of the goal posts in order to broadcast the soccer game that was happening that same night.

Duke started hot, and the Guilford defense was slow to respond, giving up a quick try to the Blue Devils. It was a back and forth game, with penalties on both sides of the ball. The Guilford set-pieces were somewhat sloppy, but it is to be expected with a healthy dose of new blood in the scrums and line outs. Guilford's main defensive problem was not coming up to the ball, and Duke was able to move the ball along the line unimpeded. Our boys responded though, with excellent runs and try's by Harry and Sean McNally in the first half.

The second half went in a similar fashion as the first, but Guilford remained close the entire game. Several forwards made strong powerful runs in after halftime, including those by David Watters and Aaron Craig, the latter of which resulted in a try. The quick Duke wing was more limited than he was in the previous game the previous spring, although he still broke off several long runs.

For the fresh blood - Senior Grayson and transfer Junior Randy played with the type of intensity that makes us proud to be ruggers. Overall there were clear things to work on, but Guilford showed good resilience and chemistry as a side playing its first match together.

Final Score :Duke 35 - Guilford 25

In the first home match of the season the Guilford Men played against the Gastonia Men's Rugby club in a late afternooon match during parents weekend. After watching the girls club play a valiant game against UNC-G, our men took the pitch against the larger, older men of the Gastonia club. This game was confirmed late, after our scheduled opponent Elon, realized that they had already scheduled a match for the weekend against Duke.

The Guilford Club was much better prepared for this, our second match playing as a side, although, an injury to Andrew Slater left us without our captain. For this match, Harry Anthony played at fly half, with veteran Sean McNally moving to the outside center position. This new back line allowed McNally to play his natural position at 13, and put Harry at the 10 spot.

In this second game it was Guilford's turn to start quickly, with excellent back line passing bringing a quick try to the Quakers. The Guilford defense responded to the critics, with better movement and spacing throughout the line. Excellent tackling was displayed around the breakdown by Kevin Cumberland, and new scrummy "Baby" Nick Forman. The Guilford lineouts were also much improved and it showed, with the set pieces bringing breakout offense which resulted in a series of tries for the Guilford Side.

This was a good win for Guilford, our first of the 2010 - 2011 season, and showed the team's potential. Our next game is Saturday, October 30 against Pembroke.

Stay posted

Final Score: Guilford 29 - Gastonia 19

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Embarrassing loss to UNCG ends competitive season for Guilford

It's never easy to write a match report for a game in which your side did not manage a single point. Even more so when the competition put up 60. On Friday night Guilford traveled across town for what was anticipated as a clash of playoff-bound teams and came back with nothing more than a sack full of dirty jerseys and, yes, a 0-60 obliteration on our minds. This one won't take too long...

The first ten minutes of the game are worth mention as Guilford showed the game that had put them at 2-1 in the matrix with a couple of bonus points: center Bryce Bjornson broke for an impressive gain - although he would suffer a concussion, his third in four games, after using his head as a battering ram. Flyhalf Sean McNally, who captained for the visting side with Andrew Slater out with injury, showed renewed composure - after losing control of his line in the latter stages of the Duke game - and managed his centers and back three tactfully, although not fruitfully, throughout the test. Winger "Baby" Nick Forman showcased some of his linebacker schooling in a few impressive tackles in the open field. Kevin Cumberland, moving to the number eight position for injured Slater and gave a strong performance. As usual, first-year utility-forward Aaron Craig made his presence known at both flanker and prop. And the reintroduction of veteran hooker Abel Montes de Oca added a boost of tenacity to the pack. And that is as much as can be said for the Guilford side.

After UNCG scored their first try of the match Guilford fell apart, revealing yet again the true weakness of this athletically-talented team: discipline and emotional control. Like a blow to the groin, Guilford never recovered from that first score and UNCG was able to take advantage and had piled on 31 points before half-time. In the second half they would add 29 more with the last ten minutes of the game reduced to a gunfight in which Guilford had not even a spoon to defend itself. To add insult to injury prop Jamie Sisk, finally back healthy in the starting side, earned a yellow card in the first half for a high-tackle and celebration that sent him to the bin and then in the second half delivered an astounding shoulder charge that put him off the field for good and left the already reeling Guilford side a man down for the remainder of the match. Sisk is now looking at a 10-week benching at the hands of the ref and NCRU.

And speak of the ref... From my vantage point in a sling on the sideline, that was the worst bit of refereeing I have ever witnessed. His interesting mix of silent advantage, a delayed whistle and a general blatant ignorance of the rules of rugby had the coaches of both teams commiserating on the sideline and offering to help point out that a penalty does not garner a scrum down and other forgettable points from the rugby rulebook.

There's nothing really to add here. Gulford will be playing a series of friendlys to close out the spring season, traveling to Davidson this weekend, possibly heading down to the beach to take on UNCW - who are back in the developmental league after fulfilling their 2 year suspension - and then meeting the Triad Dawgwood Flowers at home on the 17th and finally UNC Pembroke at home on the 24th.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Night game at Duke ends in heartbreak

The final score did not reflect the game that Guilford played on Thursday night. Discipline was the missing factor in the 20-31 loss as Guilford controlled the pace of game and possession of the ball but could not capitalize at key moments. Duke took advantage with a combination of lucky breaks and smart decisions to outlast us and come away from the battle of a match with the win.

In the first half both teams came strongly out of the gate. After a missed penalty kick by Guilford early, Duke got a chance of their own in front of the posts and knocked down the games first points. We had heard the stories of Duke's speedy wing and indeed they are all true. He got his first try of the game early, taking advantage of an unset Guilford defensive line. Down by 10 we charged back and put together a good series of phases, marching down to the Duke 5 meter line. This momentum was put on hiatus when the lights to the field shut off leaving everyone standing confusedly in the dark. 20 minutes later at the restart Guilford was unable to turn the opportunity into points.

Possession flipped but Guilford continued to press into Duke territory and flyhalf Sean McNally, in his classic burrito form, touched down after quick-tapping a penalty for Guilford's first points. However, the effort was nullified when Duke, noticing Guilford lagging, quickly took the kickoff and their wing recovered the deep kick for another try, putting Duke up 7-17. Shortly after fullback Max George scooped up an errant pass and broke through the line for a try but missed the conversion to make it 12-17 and that would be the score at the half.

On the opening phase of the second half outside center Bryce Bjornson, who had just subbed in for starter Harry Anthony, took a hefty blow to his mustache-laden head, rendering him apparently concussed but unwilling to step off. After the restart Guilford charged back with the pack controlling the rucks, scrums and line-outs. An apparent try by flanker Kevin Cumberland was revoked, the ref penalizing him for a double-maneuver. However, Guilford regained possession and went back on the attack and Bryce proved his resiliency by breaking multiple tackles in an impressive streak down the left side, culminating in a timely off-load to wing Luke Walsh-Mellett who was able to finish the attack with a game-tying try.

The score was stuck at 17-17 for some time and the next points would come from the boot of wing Walt Barber, putting Guilford up 20-17 with about 10 minutes left. However, discipline fell by the wayside and the backline, after displaying effective ball movement around the center of the pitch, lacked creativity in the opposing red zone and was unable to convert crucial opportunities. Duke's winger was able to field a bad Guilford pass and shrug off a tackler for his third try of the game, putting Duke up 20-24 with 8 minutes left in the match. Securing the kick off, Guilford fought back but again could not convert pressure into points and Duke put the last nail in the coffin when their opposite wing touched down after a long run to put the home team up 20-31 with a couple minutes remaining in the match.

Despite the loss, Guilford has a lot to be proud of. With six changes in the starting line, a few players had impressive performances to make up the difference. Cumberland, lock Crosby Blair, and man-of-the-match hooker Aaron Craig were beasts. The starting back three - Walsh-Mellett, George, and Dave Kloss - rendered Duke's kicking attack harmless and mounted a few solid counter-attacks. Starting center Andrew "Texas" Heimsath, finally getting his first action, was steady at both outside (first half) and inside (second half) and should be a force to be reckoned with as the season progresses. But once again, penalties (15) plagued Guilford and a subsequent lack of discipline left us unable to capitalize on the number of opportunities we were afforded.

With a rest for spring break, the next match is a Friday night game on March 19 at UNCG. Thanks to all the fans who traveled to support us last night (Duke had less than a handful of supporters for their home game and we had an entire cheering section!), hope to see you at the next one.

Quote of the day: When being checked for symptoms of concussion after the match and asked what his name was, he stared blankly off into space and muttered, "Bryce College Bjornson." Classic.