CLAYTON, NC – The Clayton Rugby Football Club closed out their Fall XVs season with two wins and two losses in their final four matches. The club finished the Fall season with a 3-4 record and they were 2-3 in their first season in Division IV. All four of the club’s losses in the Fall were to strong teams as the Bootleggers were able to win easily against their other opposition.
The Bootleggers started their end of season charge with a tough doubleheader at the end of October. The men got the day off to a great start with a 48-0 win over Cherry Point. The Bootleggers ran in eight tries in the match with Chris Crumity scoring two and Nick Taylor, Ted Hardy, Blake Cowan, Derek Braun, Jon Rogers, and Brendan Fitzpatrick each scoring one try apiece.
The club followed up against a very tough Charlotte B side. The Charlotte RFC is currently one of the top D2 sides in the region and the Bootleggers were up against a number of players that see action in D2.
Clayton battled during the first half and only trailed Charlotte 29-19 at the half, but the men began to tire in the second half. Despite their lopsided score against Cherry Point, the Bootleggers were made to work very hard for their points. That showed in the second half and the Bootleggers opted to get more action for their 2nds the rest of the match. Charlotte had no trouble running away with the match down the stretch. Flanker Elliott Lindley scored twice for the Bootleggers and Hardy added a third score in the loss.
Last weekend, Clayton closed out their XVs season with another double header. The 1st XV took on Raleigh D4 in what turned out to be a very entertaining battle. Having played Raleigh in recent years, the score was often lopsided in favor of the Vipers. It wasn’t to be this time as the Bootleggers showed how much progress they have made over the past year.
Despite Raleigh dominating the set pieces, Clayton only trailed 19-5 at the half and battled through the second half to a 29-10 loss. It was the closest that the Bootleggers have been to Raleigh in the club’s three meetings. It was also the first time that Clayton has held Raleigh to fewer than 50 points in the match. Hooker Jon Ryan accounted for both of Clayton’s tries in the match.
The Clayton 2nd XV took the field next and finished on as high note as they defeated Guilford College 34-5. Anthony Crumity scored three tries in the victory while Adam Hester, Manosh Premachandra, and Derek Braun each added solo tries for the Bootleggers.
The Bootleggers finished 2015 with a 4-7-1 record which was a massive improvement over their 2014 season. The biggest difference was the number of players. After scratching to field a full team for most of 2014, Clayton not only had a full squad for every match, they were able to play B side matches for the first time in club history. With growing numbers and a positive outlook, it may not be long before Clayton turns in their first winning season.
The squad now prepares to host the 1st Annual Bootlegger 10s Tournament this coming Saturday at East Clayton Community Park. It will be the squad’s final rugby for 2015.