On a partly cloudy but humid Sunday afternoon, Kenmore Boy’s Rugby hosted Orchard Park on the new turf at Crosby Field in Kenmore. The result was a 43-3 victory for Kenmore, improving the club’s record 4-0 in the Western Division 1 league of the Rugby NY conference. Orchard Park dropped to 1-4 in the division.
The opening minutes of the match was a bit sloppy with dropped passes, knock-ons, and penalties committed by both sides. However, both teams brought intensity and solid tackling to open the match.
“We knew they were a younger team so they put a lot of pressure on us right from the beginning” said Kenmore head coach Steve Caruana on the tough Orchard Park side. “They were able to sustain that through most of the first half. I felt like once we took advantage of field position we were able to break the line. I think they were one of the toughest matches we’ve had this year…they’re going to be a good team moving forward.”
Some early penalties caused much of the first fifteen minutes of the match to be contested within the Kenmore twenty-two-meter line. However, some dropped Orchard Park passes and solid defense by Kenmore kept Orchard Park off of the board.
Finally, Kenmore got out of its own zone after a scrum and a good offensive phase that got Kenmore junior wing Chris Schiavone the ball who was able to gain significant ground closer to midfield. Another penalty by Kenmore turned the ball over to Orchard Park who chose to scrum, but the Kenmore pack was able to steal it to regain ball possession at midfield.
Shortly after, the Kenmore offense churned out good phases and Schiavone was able to capitalize scoring the first points of the match with a try, good for five points. Senior scrum half and captain Anthony Cutre kicked in the conversion to give Kenmore the 7-0 lead.
Kenmore’s offense wouldn’t rest after receiving the following kick off, putting together more phases and getting the ball out wide and into space. Junior fly half Joe Stewart found a gap in the Orchard Park defense just over midfield and turned on the jets to score a forty meter try. Stewart would add the conversion points himself to extend the Kenmore lead to 14-0.
After another try, this time by senior John Seibert off of a pass by Schiavone and the conversion points by Stewart, Kenmore took a 21-0 lead into the half.
The second half started much like the beginning of the match, with neither team being able to put together multiple offensive phases. The brother duo of flanker Dylan and inside center Noah Belier led Orchard Park defensively all game, and were quick to reestablish the tough first-half tone in the second. Fly half and captain Pat Mann directed the formidable Orchard Park defense which rucked well all afternoon.
Once Kenmore was able to gain composure in the ruck, Cutre was able to get the ball out to the backs and take advantage of the offensive overload. Schiavone would add his second try of the day to give Kenmore the 26-0 lead. Later on, following an Orchard Park penalty deep in its zone, junior Hunter Phillips pulled down the lineout and Seibert scored his second try shorty after.
Now down 31-0, head coach Rob Beck and the Orchard Park squad looked to get on the board. The Kenmore defense held up deep in its zone, but committed another penalty. Beck chose to take the penalty points and inside center Tom Hollander delivered to put three points on the board for Orchard Park.
With time winding down and substitutes coming into the match, Kenmore added two more tries, one each from seniors Demarian Walker-Johnson and Angelo Costanzo. Junior Joe Brooks added the conversion points on Walker-Johnson’s try to cap the scoring at 43-3.
While Kenmore was able to put up 43 points, the offense clicked once it found a rhythm. Caruana added “I thought we moved around the ball better when we did score. Our moves were five and six, seven and eight phases and we were able to capitalize on that.”
With the win, Kenmore remains on top of the Western Division 1 standings and looks to control its path to playoffs.
However, Coach Caruana emphasized some things to work on in the coming weeks. “We told the guys we need to work on eliminating penalties and mistakes, and working on recognizing and avoiding mental errors.” He added that after the match “We talked about putting the pieces together and playing smart rugby.”
With only three matches left before the playoffs begin, Caruana said he is still looking for his team to improve. “I put the challenge to them to not worry about beating other teams but to put ourselves in position to be able to function at our best. We want to be tuning up so that as we hit the playoffs we are at peak fitness and form, and running the best lines.”
Kenmore will travel to Rochester on Saturday, May 12th to meet another perennial power in Fairport Boy’s Rugby Club, who are currently 4-1 and second in the division behind Kenmore, but tied in points with 20 for each club. Orchard Park will host Corning Boy’s Rugby Club (2-2) on Sunday, May 13th in a Western Division 1 match.
All Pics Courtesy of Fred Bressette
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