Wilmington, North Carolina – This past weekend, the Clayton Rugby Football Club opened up the second half of their season on a sour note. Both the club’s 1st XV and 2nd XV suffered lopsided losses at the hands of Cape Fear and UNC-Wilmington sides.
With a new look side that featured seven players making their first appearance for the 1st XV, the side showed rust and lacked cohesion. The 1st XV came out and struggled to find possession or continuity as Cape Fear unloaded for 36 first half points. No. 8 Gareth Davies and center Austin Lyons accounted for the only two scores of the first half for the Bootleggers. Newcomer Nick Gebrael added a conversion as the Bootleggers went into the break down 36-12.
The Bootleggers showed some improvement in the second half as they held a fair amount of possession and kept Cape Fear off of the scoreboard for a good portion of the half. Hooker Doug Stillwell and lock Ted Hardy each added tries for the 1st XV in the second half with Gebrael adding another conversion. Despite showing some improvement, Cape Fear finished the match with a flurry, scoring five tries in the final 15 minutes of play to finish with a 72-24 victory.
It was a disappointing kick off to the second half of the season for the Bootleggers.
Looking to bounce back in the second match, the 2nd XV faced off against a young and fit UNC-Wilmington side. The Bootleggers aged 2nd side couldn’t keep up with the pace of the match as UNCW ran out with a comfortable shut out victory.
During the day, Bootlegger stalwart Ted Hardy became the first player in club history to play in 100 games for the club.
The club returns to play on February 29th with the 1st XV taking on the Charlotte Barbarians in a must-win match as both teams are vying for a place in the Carolinas D3 playoffs. The 2nd XV follows with a friendly against New Bern. Kickoff is at 1pm at East Clayton Community Park.