Old Gaelic hosted D1 Potomac Exiles’ Rugby Club on a chilly and sunny Saturday at Double D Ranch. The 2020 season opener did not disappoint the home faithful.
After some back and forth action that saw both teams get within scoring range, it was Gaelic that marched down the pitch and patiently executed its goal line attack. The unselfish play was rewarded when #12 Paul Sommerville found wing Kory Harris out wide for the first of his three tries on the day.
Potomac came right back and was knocking on the door when an interception attempt went begging, and PERC marched in for the tying score. With both conversion attempts missed, the two combatants ended the first 20 minute session at a stalemate, 5-5.
With subs on in the second half Shippensburg’s Chris Armbrust took the pass from Richard “Squirrel” Recordon and dotted down. Harris’ conversion gave the home team a 12-5 lead that held through the second 20-minute session.
After two tries from the visitors to open the third period, it was the OG forwards’ turn to get in on the action. First it was lock Dante Ngo dotting down a pick, then flanker Alex Diegel took a penalty tap from Hart and found a gap on the left-hand side of the defense to put one down against his old ‘mates. That was enough to give Gaelic the lead heading into the final stand, 24-19.
In the final period, it was all hands on deck and Coach Roth put on the boots to steer the ship at 10. His veteran presence was felt as he found a gap from West Shore/Mount St. Mary’s Colby Rigg, then fed Harris for an impressive 60M try. Harris then found space again, and converted his own for a 36-19 lead. PERC would pick up the last try of the day, dotting a late one down for the final score, 36-24.
Man of the Match: Kory Harris. Kory scored three tries, but was equally impressive on defense covering ground to recover and counter a number of Exiles’ kicks to space.
Old Gaelic took on the rival Lancaster Roses on Saturday with the Susquehanna Cup on the line. The visitors had no answer on this day, as OG secured a 58-10 home victory to end the fall standing alone in second place in the division!
The scoring started early with a good scrum by Lancaster turning into points for the Black and Gold. Lancaster stole the scrum, but an ensuing mishandle was scooped up by #10 Brady Reisman who took the ball the rest of the way for the early 5-0 lead. The roses struck back 10 minutes later and the combatants were locked up at 5-5 before the Gaelic attack took over.
A well-executed 8-9-11 play from Curtis Brillhart to Captain Brian Hart, finished by Man of the Match Austin Waugh sparked a 46-0 run to dazzle the home crowd. Next it was big #12 Lee Townsend who crashed across the line at 31′, then Waugh’s second two minutes later, then prop Sergio Acala finishing off a series of pick and goes just before halftime.
The score held for 10 minutes into the second stand before flanker Alex Diegel spotted a gap top open things up in the second half. Reisman’s boot was well on display as he followed up with a penalty kick and a drop goal to go with his four conversions. Wing Kory Harris got in on the action with try at 70 before Lancaster got one in. At 76′ Hart dished out his fourth assist of the day for Townsend’s second try, and hit the conversion for the game’s final score, 58-10!
The win puts Gaelic at 4-2 and in position to finish the Spring season strong and secure a first round home playoff game. It was an injury-plagued season that saw games without its most experienced scrummaging prop, a big try scorer at 13 and other key players in and out of the lineup throughout the season. Lesser teams would have found itself outside of playoff contention, but OG’s “Next Man Up,” team-first mentality rose to the occasion time and again.
Well done by all Gaelic players, coaches, administrators and supporters! Keep an eye out for the Holiday Party, team award votings, get togethers at Evergain, and team workouts.