North Shore Rugby Takes 2nd at NERFU Cup!
Sunday, May 12, 2013 @ 2:00pm
Battered and bruised from a long and tough Spring season the North Shore Reds traveled to the NERFU Cup as the 6 seed in the annual Spring tournament. Each year the mantra is the same - play on Sunday, but we the club had failed to do so in their 11 year history. There were some close calls in the past, would this be the year?
First up, North Shore faced the #3 seed, the Albany Knickerbockers. Albany came out strong and spent much of the first 10 minutes of the game in the North Shore half and took and early 3-0 lead on North Shore on a penalty right in front of the posts.
From there on out the Reds would not allow another point, taking over the game in the loose and letting their backs run wild on the Knicks. Zac Cook put the first try on the board, putting the Reds up 5-3, then Brandon 'Sunshine' Mahler and James Sullivan took over the show - Sunshine popping in two tries, Sully one of his one, all while converting all three of their tries, the last one at 35 minutes and and slamming the door on the game, putting the Reds in the drivers seat with a 24-3 victory.
North Shore 24 - Albany 3
The Reds would face the winner of #2 Portland v. #7 Old Gold. A tight match saw Portland pull out a 22-18 victory and dash the hopes of a North Shore v Old Gold rematch from last week.
North Shore had previously lost to Portland this past fall, a 44-12 loss that North Shore was never in. With the weather turning ugly, the Reds donned the Blue jerseys for this contest and delivered the first blow of the game, when Garrett Santos put in a long run for a try, followed by a conversion by Sully. Minutes later, Chris Mroz, found his way up the wing for a try, with yet another conversion nailed by Sully. Leading 14-0 into the half the Blues found themselves on their heels early as Portland mounted their attack, putting in a try in the first minute and closing the gap to 14-7.
From here on out it was a dogfight, with neither team gaining ground offensively. Both teams piled on big hits, as both forward packs were up to the task defensively. A defensive struggle both ways the Blues tried to pin Portland in their defensive half late in the game. Portland's strong pack had made the set pieces a battle, evening out the scrums and lineouts, this left this game to be decided by the backs. A Portland handling error ended the match and for the first time in club history, North Shore RFC would play on Sunday.
North Shore 14 - Portland 7
North Shore would face hosts Newport RFC, who defeated #5 Providence and #1 Burlington (in an incredible match) on their road to the finals. Light on bodies, but heavy on pride, North Shore came out hard and physical against a deep Newport squad. Make no mistake, the scoreboard clearly showed victory in favor of Newport, with the final outcome 64-5, but there was no denying that this was a physical match that took the toll on both sides. Heavy hits were served with regularity all over the pitch - in the fringe, open field, on crashes, chases downs, kickoffs...you name it, there was a hard hit to follow. When the whistle blew it was clear that North Shore gave everything they got, but on this day the better club won.
North Shore 5 - Newport 64
North Shore was awarded a 2nd place trophy for their efforts, the cup will be shared with Rucky, given to Adeola Akinola, our pack captain, who could not play due to injury. Ade will take the cup and duck on his adventures to Iceland with the rest of the club in two weeks, from there they will be passed around from one team member to another for the summer. The little duck, Bucky, was given to Zac Cook, who is hanging up his A-Side boots after over a decade with the club. Zac, our current president, has served as captain, mentor, teammate, and friend to us all. His love for this club and this game is an example to us all. We thank him for his years of great play, great humility, and a lot of great memories. We will certainly miss having him around, but I'm sure we will see him every now and again. Special thanks to Molly Cook for letting us borrow him one more time on her first Mothers Day!
While we fell short of taking it all, this was the closest any club in North Shore history had come, in either DIII or DII and this experience is what this club will build on with the fall season a few months away. We would like to thank all of our supporters back home, sending us messages of pride and encouragement, our coaches Don Madden and John Rice for their thankless and tireless efforts all season, and to every player that put the Red and Blue jerseys on their back this spring and played with pride, heart, and integrity.
See you all in the fall!
— Ian Nichols