CLAYTON, NC – On a beautiful North Carolina Spring afternoon, the Clayton Bootleggers closed out their Spring season with a close loss to Southern Pines in a very physical and exciting match. Despite the loss, the Bootleggers continue to improve with each season they play. After taking a number of lopsided losses last Fall, the club finished the Fall on a high note and carried that into the Spring as they finished with a 1-2-1 record. Even more important is that every Spring match was competitive.
The Bootleggers came out of the gates roaring, scoring two tries in the first ten minutes of the match. The first coming from wing Chris Crumity who got the ball out wide with some space and zipped into the end zone for a try. Just minutes later, his brother Anthony Crumity picked up a loose ball and cut his way in for another score to put Clayton up 10-0.
The middle portion of the first half belonged to Southern Pines as they put pressure on the Bootlegger defense and broke through for five tries over the span of 15 minutes to take a 25-10 lead. With their defense in shambles, Clayton buckled down and finished the match with one of their best defensive efforts to date.
Down by 15, needing a score to get back into the game, and without any time left in the first half, scrumhalf Simon Potter made a break from the back of a scrum and offloaded to flanker Ted Hardy, who broke a tackle and raced in for a score. The try cut Southern Pines’ lead to 25-15 going into the half.
The second half would prove to be a defensive battle as both sides tightened their lines. Southern Pines kept the fair share of possession in the second half and would have scored a couple of more tries were it not for Clayton fullback Connell Smallwood who made more than a few try saving tackles in a Man of the Match performance. Midway through the second half, Southern Pines finally broke through the Bootleggers’ defensive line and scored a try to push their lead to 30-15.
With just minutes left in the match, Clayton struck one last time as wing Chris Crumity scored a long try racing down the sidelines for his second score of the match. Despite the strong effort, the mid-first half barrage from Southern Pines was too much to overcome as the Bootleggers fell 30-20 to Southern Pines.
Southern Pines 30 Clayton 20
Tries: C. Crumity (2), A. Crumity, Hardy
Immediately following the match, the Bootleggers took the pitch in another very important match. For the first time in club history, the team played a B-Side match against a real opponent. The rapid growth of the Clayton RFC was on full display as they Bootleggers’ Bs took on Southern Pines.
“For those of us that have been here from the beginning, this match was great to see,” said Club President Ted Hardy. “This time last year we had about 10 guys. To have 30 or so guys turn out today and to be able to field a full B-Side just shows how fast we’re growing.”
As in the A-Side match, Southern Pines used a quick barrage of tries to take a 20-0 lead. The Bootleggers then started to dig themselves out of the hole and staged a comeback with a try from flanker Tim Robbins and two more from Chris Crumity to bring his total to four on the day.
Unfortunately for the Bootleggers’ Bs, their comeback came up just short as they lost 20-15.
“What a day!” added Bootleggers Head Coach JG Van Graan. “The men played a great match today against Southern Pines. We were able to see some guys in different positions and got our reserves some valuable game time in the B-Side. We’re headed in the right direction as we look ahead to our Fall league schedule.”
Southern Pines B 20 Clayton B 15
Tries: C. Crumity (2), Robbins