CHARLOTTE, NC – This past weekend the Clayton Bootleggers traveled West to take on the Charlotte Barbarians in a Spring friendly at the Rugby Athletic Center. Coming off of playing at the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Tournament, the Bootleggers made the trip light on numbers, but determined to give the Barbarians a tough match.
The match started as expected with the Barbarians coming out strong, but with the Bootleggers holding strong on defense. Charlotte held the majority of early possession and opened up the scoring 15 minutes into the match with a nice kick and chase try in the corner. The Barbarians added a penalty goal about ten minutes later to give the home side a 10-0 lead.
Charlotte extended their lead to 24-0 by halftime as they kept up their pressure and limited the Bootlegger’s time of possession. What little possession was had by Clayton was squandered with handling errors and penalties. Penalty trouble was the theme for day for Clayton as they were penalized throughout the match which kept the squad under pressure. The saving grace for the Bootleggers was a strong set piece as both the Clayton scrum and lineout provided a good platform all match long.
The Bootleggers came out strong in the second half and for the first time all match strung together multiple phases and maintained territory in the Charlotte half. Unfortunately, 20 minutes of play in the Barbarian’s half failed to yield any points for the Bootleggers as multiple scoring opportunities were left wanting.
With the match edging into the final 15 minutes, Charlotte retook control of possession and began to find space to run against a Bootlegger side worn down from a hard match. In the final 10-15 minutes of play the Barbarians doubled their lead to finish with a convincing 48-0 win over the Bootleggers.
“It was a tough game,” said Coach Rich Munro. “The guys battled the entire time, but couldn’t keep up with Charlotte and their fresh legs. Our set pieces were strong, but we gave away too many penalties and had too many turnovers. We didn’t travel strong and Charlotte made us pay for it. It was a good lesson for our team.”
The Bootleggers return to action on April 9th as they play host to NC State and start a string of four home dates to close out the Spring season.