SOUTHERN PINES, NC – The Clayton Bootleggers struggled in their D4 season opening loss on the road to Southern Pines D4. The two squads came out of the gate playing physical rugby and appeared to be fairly evenly matched early on in the contest. As the first half progress, Southern Pines began to find space out wide and used their young backs to begin to probe the Bootlegger defense. The attacks began to eat up large areas of territory.
Southern Pines broke the scoring seal midway through the half and proceeded to take a commanding 24-0 lead into halftime. The second half proved to be a bit closer as Clayton was finally able to string together some phases of play and take the pressure off of their defense. Unfortunately for the Bootleggers, inexperience and impatience would be their undoing as the squad wasted some golden scoring opportunities deep in Southern Pines’ territory.
Southern Pines pushed their lead out to 31-0 before Clayton struck for a score late in the second half. After a sustained run of play inside of Southern Pines’ 22, a few crash balls from the Bootlegger forwards opened up room for one last crash as Hooker Adam Hester went over for a score.
The home side tacked on two scores in the final five minutes to close out the scoring with a 45-7 win over Clayton.
“It was a disappointing start to the season,” said Coach Rich Munro. “But there were some positives in there”.
“Hats off to Southern Pines,” said Team Captain Ted Hardy. “They found our weak spots and went after them. Our guys fought hard and the match was much more competitive than the score suggests. Unfortunately, there were some little things that we killed ourselves with.”
“There is a lot of rugby left this Fall. Better to get a bad game out of the way early.”
The Bootleggers are back in action as they take on D4 rival Duke Grad tomorrow night at Duke.
Clayton v Southern Pines D4
1: Kozcanski 2: Stephens 3: Liverman 4: Taylor 5: White 6: Cowan 7: Hardy (C) 8: Cosgrove 9: Fitzpatrick 10: Premachandra 11: A. Crumity 12: Rogers 13: Smith 14: Smallwood 15: Haskins
Subs: Hester, Braun, Buckheit, Crosby, Ryan