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Suffolk Bull Moose RFC Inaugural Match

After a dreary morning of rain and wind, the very first squad of the Suffolk Bull Moose RFC (Division III) took to the field in exhibition play against Montauk RFC (Division I). Fortunately, the rain had eased considerable at kick-off and the pitch had not collected a troublesome amount of water. Montauk started the game and recovered the ball. However, the referee was injured almost immediately, and could not continue. A replacement referee was found and decided to simply redo the kick-off.

Montauk began the game solidly; taking the Bull Moose a little by surprise with their long-body rucking and skillful passes during contact. The Montauk fly-half was also quite tricky and after a few moves, created gaps which would eventually lead to a try.

After a short moment to regroup during the conversion, the Bull Moose charged back enthusiastically. However, low line-out and scrum percentages in the first half resulted in a primarily defensive half. This was exasperated by offside play by the Montauk scrum-half and open-side flanker (which went unnoticed by the referee) and by half-time, Montauk were leading by 4 tries (and 22 points) to nil.

In the second half, the referee finally began calling offside and long-body rucking infractions against Montauk. In addition, Bull Moose 8-man Danny Yarusso provided some clean scrum ball and suddenly we had some offense. Further work from Danny yielded good attacks down the touch-line and almost resulted in a try. From a penalty on the Montauk 10-meter line, we crashed the ball forward. Frank Grieco came up with the ball and, when stopped just 1-meter short of the try-line, dished off to scrum-half Victor Drover who dove between the centers and touched-down for 5.

Montauk was visibly frustrated as the half continued and the weather improved. The scrum-half and another Montauk player were sent to the sin bin for “retaliating” when the Bull Moose committed infractions and penalties. In contrast, the Bull Moose stayed calm, spoiled a lot of open-field ball and tackled much better. Mike, Jimmy and Jeff all had excellent games in this regard. However, Montauk broke the defense on one occasion. Fortunately, the player ran out the back of the exceptionally short end zones; no try given!

Unfortunately, injuries struck the short-handed Bull Moose about midway through the half. Frank Grieco had his jaw broken and Julio Morin took a finger (or three) to the eye. Both left the game and were replaced by Chris Brennan (who was nursing a broken nose) and SUNY Stony Brook rugger Matt Arena. Although the Bull Moose continued to enjoy more ball in the final quarter and the scrums were very solid, no further points were awarded in the match. Final score: 22-5.

With the exception of the injuries, I think all of the players were proud of the second-half shutout of a Division I side and were already talking anxiously about the next match on April 19.

Team
  1. Jimmy DeFelice
  2. Mike Vocson
  3. Tom Shea
  4. Gordon Anderson
  5. Joe Morgello
  6. Jeff Kraebel (A)
  7. Keith Royozinski (LIRFC)
  8. Danny Yarusso
  9. Victor Drover
  10. Ron Brammer
  11. Bill Seabrook
  12. Frank Grieco (rep. Matt Arena)
  13. James O’Brien
  14. Ray Basso
  15. Julio Morin (rep. Chris Brennan)

    Scoring Summary: Victor Drover (1 try)
    Man of the Match: Danny Yarusso