CAMP LEJEUNE, NC – On Saturday, a brave group of Clayton Bootleggers traveled east to the Camp Lejeune 2nd Annual Go Ruck Yourself Tournament. The Bootleggers overcame the frigid weather, gusty winds, and opponents to take home 2nd place at the tournament. The 22-man Clayton roster, that made the trip, was a mix a veteran Bootleggers, new players to the Club, and players that were new to rugby altogether. The tournament provided a great opportunity to get valuable game time and experience for the Bootleggers.
“We’ve gone through a lot of changes during our short existence and this Winter was no different,” said team Captain Ted Hardy. “We added some more depth over the off season, got younger as a whole, and filled some key positions. Most of all, we keep attracting new players to this great sport.”
Clayton opened up the tournament against the tournament hosts, Camp Lejeune. The last time the two teams met in XVs was during Clayton’s first year of play with Camp Lejeune running away with a lopsided victory. It wasn’t to be this time around as the Bootleggers have come a long way in the past year and a half. The two sides engaged in a physical defensive battle for the first quarter of the match. With Clayton’s new flyhalf Brian Beauregard running the back line, the Bootleggers began to find gaps in the Lejeune defense. A nice back line move opened up outside center Matt Temesy who then set up wing Jon Rogers for the first score of the game. After missing out on a few golden scoring opportunities, Clayton took a 5-0 lead into halftime.
Camp Lejeune came out and picked up the first score of the second half to knot the match at 5-5. Much like in the first half, Clayton found plenty of room to run in the backs, but had trouble converting inside of the red zone. Midway through the half, Temesy found a seam and struck for the Bootlegger’s second score to give Clayton a 10-5 lead. That lead would stand the rest of the match as the Bootlegger defense put up a strong front against a bigger Lejeune side.
Due to a late dropout from the tournament, the schedule was adjusted and Clayton was forced to play back to back matches. This time around it was their old foe Cherry Point. The Bootleggers started off the match on the wrong foot as Cherry Point picked off a pass and scored to take a 5-0 lead. The Bootleggers stuck to the game plan and retook the lead with tries from the second row pair Jeff Cosgrove and Jason Schurr. Conversions from Beauregard gave Clayton a 14-5 lead. Beauregard added to the total by converting his own try just before halftime to give the Bootleggers a 21-5 lead.
The Bootleggers continued to roll into the second half with a try from wing Chris Crumity, but as a number of the Clayton starters inched over the 80 minutes played mark fitness began to wane. Cherry Point picked up two quick scores to cut Clayton’s lead to 28-15, but a second try from Crumity on a kick and chase iced the match. Cherry Point added one final try at the death, but it was not enough as the Bootleggers took a 35-20 win. The victory vaulted the Bootleggers into the Championship match.
In the Championship, Clayton faced off against Cape Fear. The match started off with the two side swapping possession for the first 10 minutes, but the long day in the cold started to show on the Clayton squad as they ran into trouble with penalties and turnovers. Cape Fear were clinical in punishing each Bootlegger mistake. As the match progressed, Cape Fear began to dominate possession and territory. In the end, Cape Fear won the match going away with a 40-0 win to take home the tournament title.
“We’re excited about the start to the season,” said Bootlegger’s Head Coach JG Van Graan. “For the first hit out of the season, we saw a lot that we need to work on, but also a lot that we can build upon. It was a great day for the Club.”
The Bootleggers return to action in two weeks on February 27th when they take on Duke Grads at Duke. Both the 1st XV and 2nd XV should see action against Duke.
Clayton Tournament Roster
Ed Dixon, Jon Ryan, Kevin Ellis, Adam Hester, Jeff Cosgrove, Nick Taylor, Jason Schurr, George Allen, Brandon Roggow, Anthony Bevelacqua, Mike Stephens, Jerry Artos, Ted Hardy (Capt.)
Simon Potter, Brian Beauregard, Manosh Premachandra, Matt Temesy, Jon Rogers, Paul Castellana, Hunter Brookshire, Anthony Crumity, Chris Crumity
Clayton 10 Camp Lejeune 5
Tries: Rogers, Temesy
Conv: Beauregard 0/2
Clayton 35 Cherry Point 20
Tries: C. Crumity (2), Cosgrove, Schurr, Beauregard
Conv: Beauregard 5/5
Cape Fear 40 Clayton 0
About the Clayton Rugby Football Club
Founded in 2013, the Clayton Bootleggers are a men’s rugby club affiliated with USA Rugby and the Carolinas Geographic Union. The club currently fields three side, 1st XV (competitive), 2nd XV (Developmental/Social), and Old Boys (35 & Over). The club is open to men, ages 18 and over, regardless of skill level or playing experience. If you’d like to learn more about the Clayton RFC or are interested in playing, please contact the club at email@example.com and a club representative will be in touch with you shortly.