Saturday the 22nd of September saw the Dragons of Doylestown take on The South Jersey Rugby Club. The toughness of this fixture over the past two seasons has not been reflected in the score as Doylestown has comfortably ran away with both games. Both of these matches were played in Doylestown.
Saturday was a much different story. As is typical of the league, home field advantage makes a significant difference with many teams unable to field a supremely competitive team on the road.
While that can sometimes be the case, Doylestown was very prepared for a road test and travelled down to Cherry Hill very strongly; both players and supporters alike.
The oppressive weather of this past summer had largely broken in time for the weekends match. That being said, as the opening whistle neared, the sun broke through. There would be no reprieve from the weather this day.
Going in to the match the team was, due to injury, already without the services of the reliable Dave Kornock and Alex Willower. On the other end, the return of flyhallf Dylan Hamilton had a balancing effect on the lineup as they were able to rally around one of their most dominant players.
The first minutes of the game were very calm and cool for Doylestown. Set pieces, which have proved a great challenge for Doylestown over the past two seasons, were the driving force behind an early lead.
Not 10 minutes into the game the first scored was the result of a dominant mauling lineout from the 5 meter line. It was a classic forwards try. Touched down ultimately by Oliver Samuels. Another lineout would be pushed over in the first half (at the hands of Dylan Pellegrino) solidifying the packs dominance in the game.
The rest of the first half scoring for Doylestown was rounded out by the duo of Eric French and Kevin Reilly. Both no stranger to the scoreboards for DRFC.
Unfortunately, the first half was not all roses as have been so many previous games for DRFC. One fumbled bit of kick coverage led to South Jersey’s first converted try. An intercepted pass at midfield right in the centers led to their second. A series of pick and go’s from inside the Doylestown 5 meter accounted for the third.
At half time the score sat at 26-21 Doylestown. Lapses in seriousness and discipline cost the Dragons as the half closed and would prove to be a similar theme in the second half.
Penalties were the name of the game in the opening 10 minutes of the second half. Doylestown allowed South Jersey, through a lack of professionalism, to march slowly down into the Dragons’ end. The stacking of penalties would have surely garnered a card any other day but in this outing the Dragons were lucky and only conceded a try. 26-26. All tied up.
At this point, with the score tied up, the Dragons sobered up. One converted try from Eric French and two from Max Compo were adequate enough to close out the game. Final score 47-29. The score looked a whole lot friendlier thanks to a 6-7 kicking day from Dylan Hamilton.
Man of the match was Kevin Reilly Jr. for continued toughness and heart in the face of the experience levels of the players he comes up against.
Our B-side match was a wonderful demonstration of the many players who are truly coming along quickly this season. The Dragons are looking numerous and strong as they prepare for their home opener, this Saturday, against Wilmington RFC. Come and support the Dragons at 1PM at our home field!