Tag: Rugby

Clayton Picks Up Sweep at Home

CLAYTON, NC – It was a busy day of rugby action in Clayton this past Saturday as the Clayton Rugby Football Club hosted a triple-header of rugby games at East Clayton Community Park. For the Bootleggers, it was their final home match of 2017, so the squads aimed to finish off on a high note for fans.

For a curtain raiser, the club hosted East Carolina University against Coastal Carolina in a pivotal Southern Rugby Conference match up with National Playoff implications. Fans were treated to a battle as the two sides played a close and intense match. ECU took a narrow 10-7 lead into halftime, but two yellow cards in the second half gave Coastal the advantage needed to surge out to a 21-10 lead with less than 20 minutes to play in the match. ECU clawed their way back into the game with a forward oriented attack and closed the gap to 21-20 with less than five minutes to play. A try in the final few minutes gave ECU the victory. They now move on to play the winner of the Cardinal Conference with a trip to the USA Rugby D2 Nationals on the line.

Trying hard to top the opener, the Bootleggers 1st XV took the pitch against Hilton Head in a Carolinas Division III Conference match. The squad came into the match expecting a close battle and got exactly that as Hilton Head did their best to spoil the club’s final home match of the Fall. Hilton Head got off to a great start as they were on the board first with a converted try in the 5th minute. The Bootleggers bounced back with a try from lock Jeff Cosgrove in the 13th minute. The conversion from Ed Dixon knotted the score at 7-7.

From there, the Bootleggers started to take control of the first half with strong set piece work and ball retention. They were rewarded for their work with an 18th minute try from center Connell Smallwood who found a seam to score from short range. The conversion gave Clayton a 14-7 lead. Minutes later, No. 8 Gareth Davies was on the receiving end of a nicely worked try after some nifty support work and offloads opened up space to run through the visiting defense.

With the score at 19-7, the Bootleggers were once again on the front foot and threatening to score deep in the Hilton Head half. Just five meters out from the end zone, a Hilton Head player intercepted a pass and went the distance to turn the tide and cut the Bootlegger lead to 19-14 with 15 minutes to play in the first half. The Bootlegger’s set piece answered back. After a penalty put Hilton Head deep in their half again, Clayton scored off of a nice line out play from five meters out. Flanker Ted Hardy was the recipient of the try as the Bootleggers pushed their lead out to 24-14 with less than ten minutes to play in the half.

As was the theme for the match, Hilton Head answered back as they capitalized on another turnover to put points on the board just before halftime. The try cut the Bootlegger’s lead to 24-19 at the half.

The second half started off with a frantic pace as both squads set out to get on the board first. It was the Bootleggers that struck first in the second half with a penalty goal from Ed Dixon to extend their lead to 27-19. Hilton Head fired right back with a 46th minute try to cut the lead to 27-24. After kicking all of the Clayton points, Dixon added a try after Nick Taylor stole a line out ball from Hilton Head deep in the opponent’s half. The try from Dixon pushed the Bootlegger’s lead out to 32-24 with 15 minutes left to play in the match.

The final 15 minutes were a battle as Hilton Head swung the momentum in their favor with a pair of tries to take a 34-32 lead with ten minutes to play. Clayton regathered and went back to work pushing the ball into Hilton Head’s territory. The home side retook the lead with a penalty in front of the posts. Dixon knocked down the penalty goal in the 71st minute to give the Bootleggers a 35-34 edge. Another penalty goal from Dixon just two minutes later extended the lead to 38-34. With the match still hanging in the balance, the Bootleggers thwarted one more Hilton Head attack and worked the ball deep into their opponent’s half. With time expiring, Dixon fed a crashing Ted Hardy for his second of the day as he crashed over from five meters out. The conversion gave the Bootleggers an important 45-34 victory.

Dixon finished with Man of the Match honors after scoring 20 points on a try, three conversions, and three penalties.

“It was a battle,” said Clayton Head Coach Rich Munro. “Credit to Hilton Head for playing a hard fought match. We made things more difficult on ourselves than we should have, but the guys showed a ton of heart and dug deep to get the win. We showed that we can finish off a close match against a good opponent.”

With two matches down, the Bootleggers 2nd XV took the pitch against the new South Wake club that is forming with students from Wake Tech. The 2nds produced a strong effort against the new side and opened things up in the second half to run away with a big win.

The two sides locked into a tight battle for most of the first half as they traded possession. The Bootleggers were the first to strike when wing William Ashley scored the first of his three tries in the 10th minute. The lead didn’t grow until the 25th minute when Wesley Smith crossed over. The conversion from flyhalf Jesse Rinehart gave the 2nds a 12-0 lead. South Wake scored their first and only try of the match a few minutes later to cut the lead to 12-7. A try from Deven Howard, his first of four on the day, gave the Bootleggers a 17-7 lead. The score began to open the match up as the 2nds finished the 1st half on a high note with tries from Ashley and Jared Thomas to extend the lead to 29-7 going into the break.

The 2nds picked up where they left off in the second half as the side played solid, structured rugby that gave the back line plenty of good ball to work with. The backs used the platform to open with the scoreline. The Bootleggers got three more tries from Howard, three from Eric Hile, another from Ashley, one from Derek Braun, and Dylan Johnson scored his first career try in his first ever match.

“The weather was perfect for rugby,” added Munro. “We couldn’t have asked for a better day to play. I’m proud of the effort from both of our squads today. Our B-Side is pushing just as hard as our A-Side and that is making our entire team better.”

The resounding victory finished off a clean sweep for the home sides and served as a great final home stand. The Bootleggers have one final match this Fall against Camp Lejeune on November 18th before taking a break for the holidays.

Clayton 1st XV 45 Hilton Head 34

Tries: Hardy (2), Cosgrove, Davies, Smallwood, Dixon

Conv: Dixon 3/7

Pen: Dixon 3/4

Clayton 2nd XV 84 South Wake 7

Tries: Howard (4), Ashley (3), Hile (3), W. Smith, Thomas, Braun, Johnson

Conv: Rinehart 6/10, Braun 1/3, Hile 0/1

Home Stretch for the Johnston County Rugby Park

WILSON’S MILLS, NC – After well over a year of negotiations, planning, and waiting the time has finally come. Last week, ground broke on the entrance to the Wilson’s Mills Community Park and Johnston County Rugby Park. The park is a joint effort between the Town of Wilson’s Mills and the Clayton Rugby Football Club. When completed, the park will include a playground, bathroom facilities, pavilion area, parking, rugby fields, and multi-purpose field space. The joint effort is the first of it’s kind in North Carolina and one of few in the entire United States.

The rugby portion of the facility will include one full international sized rugby pitch with permanent professional grade goal posts. Along with the Championship Pitch, the facility will also have two additional multi-purpose fields that are large enough to fit full size rugby fields. Those fields will have ground sleeves in place with removable goal posts. The multi-purpose fields will provide the flexibility needed to host youth rugby, other field sports, and provide additional recreational space to the community. The Johnston County Rugby Park will provide much needed rugby space in an area where rugby is growing at an exponential rate.

“As Johnston County continues to grow with the Triangle Region, we see the efforts of the Clayton Rugby Football Club as an opportunity to become the “go-to” destination for rugby teams and players from the Triangle, the Southeast United States and beyond,” said Chris Johnson, Director of Johnston County Economic Development. “Locally, the facility will provide much needed additional recreational space for our citizens.”

Through private donations, sponsors, fundraising, donated labor, and a generous grant from the Johnston County Visitor’s Bureau, the Clayton Rugby Football Club has raised approximately $350,000 towards the project. World Rugby Shop has also signed on as the corporate sponsor for the facility.

“We’ve been extremely fortunate to have so many wonderful people involved with this project,” said Clayton RFC President Ted Hardy. “Starting with the Town of Wilson’s Mills, our sponsors, contractors, and those that have already donated to the project. Without them this project would not be possible.”

The full project has been divided into three phases with Phase 1 of the project focused on the installation of the fields and parking lots. Future project phases include the construction of a covered grandstand at the Championship Pitch and a full service Clubhouse/Community Building. As the Clayton Rugby Football Club prepares to begin the grading process on Phase 1 of the project, the club enters into a final push for fundraising to push past their Phase 1 goal. The club has worked hard to secure the bulk of the funds needed to complete Phase 1 and are aiming to raise another $15,000 before the end of 2017. This push will complete fundraising on Phase 1 of the project and prime the pump for Phase 2.

The Clayton RFC purposely chose not to reach out to the community, members, or fans until this point. The club’s Board of Directors aimed to prove that they could raise the bulk of the funds before reaching out to members and fans closest to the program. The goal was to save the group to push efforts over the top as opposed to having them kick start efforts and then have to wait well over a year before construction began.

To help assist with the final Phase 1 push, the Clayton RFC has created a campaign through FundRazr. Anyone interested in donating to the cause can follow this link for further details. Donations of all sizes are accepted. The club has also set up incentive levels that come with special club gifts as a token of gratitude for your donations. Anyone is welcome to donate to the Johnston County Rugby Park. Whether you are a member of the Clayton RFC, a friend of the club, a citizen of Johnston County, a fan of rugby, or someone that believes in the power of building strong communities.

The Clayton Rugby Football Club is a 501(c)3 non-profit public charity and all donations are tax deductible.

“This is a massive project that can have an equally massive impact on the community and rugby here in Johnston County,” added Hardy. “We can’t wait to share this with everyone!”

Work is expected to continue on the Johnston County Rugby Park throughout this Fall with the goal of opening the facility sometime in 2018.

Clayton RFC Expands Partnership with World Rugby Shop

CLAYTON, NC – After negotiations over the past month, the Clayton Rugby Football Club is proud to announce that they have come to an agreement on a long term deal with World Rugby Shop that expands upon the current partnership between the two organizations. The Clayton RFC first partnered with World Rugby Shop in 2015 and the partnership has since blossomed into a close and active relationship. Aside from providing equipment, uniforms, and apparel to the Clayton RFC’s players and fans, the two groups have expanded their collaboration to work together on the CottonTown 7s Rugby Festival and Player and Coaching Development Camps hosted in Clayton.

The agreement covers a broad range that sees both the Clayton RFC and World Rugby Shop enhance their mutually beneficial bonds. The previous agreement has been replaced by a more robust partnership that expands upon the terms of their original agreement. The biggest change is the focus on the development of the Johnston County Rugby Park, which is a joint project between the Clayton RFC and the Town of Wilson’s Mills, NC.

“World Rugby Shop is excited to enter into a partnership with Clayton RFC and Wilson’s Mills,” said Trevor Caterson, Multi-Sport Account Representative at Sports Endeavors, Inc. the parent company of World Rugby Shop. “As a relatively new club, Clayton has shown tremendous dedication to not only grow their club but to grow rugby as a whole in our home state of North Carolina. As a company, our core values are to inform, innovate and inspire the growth of rugby in the US and we believe the work that Clayton RFC is doing with their Wilson’s Mills project encompasses these values to the fullest.  We are very excited to be apart what the future holds! “

The new agreement is already in place and was launched with an updated team shop for the Bootleggers that now includes merchandise from Gilbert and Under Armour along with other fan shop apparel never before offered in the club’s team shop. The World Rugby Shop presence will also be noticeable when the Johnston County Rugby Park opens in 2018.

“We couldn’t be happier to come to a new agreement with World Rugby Shop,” said Clayton RFC President Ted Hardy. “We are excited to have them on board as we prepare to open a new chapter for the club with our new rugby facility. Their support over the past couple of years has been extraordinary and we look forward to continuing to grow and strengthen our relationship.”