CLAYTON, NC – The Clayton Bootleggers opened up their 2017/2018 Carolinas D3 Conference campaign on a high note with a 52-17 victory over Fort Bragg at East Clayton Community Park on Saturday. Despite a shaky start to the match, the men eventually settled in and produced a nine try effort to surge past their visitors. Nick Russell and Cam Grim each scored two tries to lead the offensive attack.
“It’s good to get a league win out of the way,” said Head Coach Rich Munro. “We’ve some big games ahead of us though. Time to get back to training and prepare for Cape Fear.”
After a shaky start to the match, the Bootleggers got on the board in the 6th minute with center Nick Russell’s first try of the day. After the ensuing kickoff, Cam Grim added another score when flyhalf Brian Beauregard caught the Fort Bragg defense flat and chipped behind their lines. Grim ran down the kick, found a favorable bounce of the ball, and raced into the try zone. Beauregard added the conversion to stake the Bootleggers to a 12-0 lead within the first 10 minutes of the match.
No. 8 Gareth Davies extended the lead to 17-0 after crashing over for a try in the 17th minute and the Bootleggers appeared on the verge of breaking the match open. Instead, Fort Bragg dug in and Clayton ran into penalty trouble with a series of infringements at the breakdown. In the 26th minute, the referee took corrective action and sent lock Nick Taylor to the sin bin to cap a stretch of play littered with Bootlegger penalties. Fort Bragg used the man advantage to narrow the score with a try in the 31st minute to cut the Bootlegger lead to 17-5. The Bootleggers regrouped and finished the half strong with Russell’s second try of the match and a penalty goal from Beauregard as they took a 27-5 lead into the break.
Clayton got the 2nd half off on the right foot with Grim’s second try of the afternoon to extend their lead to 32-5. Fort Bragg answered right back with a try in the 53rd minute to put the score at 32-10. Bootlegger Head Coach Rich Munro went to his bench aiming to bring fresh legs on for the final quarter of the match. The Bootleggers responded with three tries over a seven minute span as 2nd half replacement center Deven Howard scored his first Bootlegger try. He was followed across the try line by flanker and Team Captain Simon Potter, and lock Ted Hardy as Clayton pushed their lead out to 47-10.
Fort Bragg added one last try in the 68th minute before hooker Eric Tansey closed out the scoring for the Bootleggers with a 76th minute try.
Final Score: Clayton 52 Fort Bragg 17
“For the season opener, I was very pleased with the result,” said Potter. “You always want to start strong, and we managed to do that in this game. Our organization was pretty good, and when our backline got quality ball they showed what they could do with it, running in some excellent scores. That said, there’s definitely plenty for us to work on before our next game against Cape Fear.”
The Bootleggers’ 2nd XV followed with an entertaining match against Fort Bragg’s B-Side. Fort Bragg got off to a strong start pushing out to a 20-0 lead in the first half. After spending most of the 1st half playing defense, the Clayton 2nds regrouped and carried the lion’s share of possession in the second half. Deven Howard added another try and lock Scott Dougal also scored for the 2nds. Fort Bragg added one second half try and were able to hold off the Bootleggers’ 2nds by a final score of 25-10.
The Bootleggers return to action on Saturday October 21st as they travel east to take on conference favorites Cape Fear. The next home game for Clayton is Saturday November 4th when the club takes on Hilton Head.
1st XV Box Score
|Scoring Summary||T: Russell (2), Grim (2), Davies, Howard, Potter, Hardy, Tansey|
|C: Beauregard 2/8, Dixon 0/1; P: Beauregard 1/1|
2nd XV Box Score
|Scoring Summary||T: Howard, Dougal|
|C: Rinehart 0/2|