The Clayton Rugby Football Club opened up their Fall season with a road loss to Southern Pines. The Bootleggers travelled a bit thin to face off against Southern Pines, who reached the DIII Carolinas Rugby Union playoffs in the Spring. Southern Pines showed exactly why they were a playoff team as they pushed the tempo of the match and ran the, older and less experienced Clayton side, ragged in the second half.
As with their first 15s match in the Spring, Clayton held strong during the first 20-30 minutes of the match and were still battling into the halftime break. But, with eight players in the lineup that were playing their first or second game of 15s, cracks began to show despite a valiant effort. Clayton were able to sustain a fair amount of ball retention during the first half, but were unable to come away with any points to show for it.
In the second half, fitness began to wane as Southern Pines rolled in fresh legs and began to score tries in bunches. Despite the lopsided score line, the Bootleggers continued to battle all the way to the end and were rewarded with a try with just minutes left in the game. The try came off of a nice break and then nifty weak side move that ended with Connell Smallwood scoring his first-ever try. To a man, Clayton showed heart for a full 80 minutes of rugby on a blistering late Summer day in North Carolina. The game was a massive improvement over the club’s first foray into 15s when they were pounded by Virginia Beach in May.
Southern Pines were gracious hosts and a great time was had by all at the social. The Clayton RFC looks forward to future matches with Southern Pines and continuing to improve.
Next up, the Clayton RFC is back on the road as they face Camp Lejeune on Saturday September 13th. The club looks for continued improvement as the new players gain more and more experience.
Lineup vs Southern Pines:
1: Van Graan 2: Williams 3: Liverman 4: Cosgrove 5: Klingenbeck 6: Cunningham 7: Niemiller 8: Munro 9: Premachandra 10: Hardy 11: Cowan 12: Smallwood 13: Ryan 14: Bevelacqua 15: Ollie
Southern Pines 68 Clayton 5