Windsor Rogues v Michigan RFC Match report…
Saturday May 7th 2016
For decades the Rogues have had a great relationship with all the nearby rugby clubs in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana etc. but with an increasingly difficult time with border crossings due to post 9/11 passport requirements, rugby canada / rugby usa insurance bureaucracy, and city park availability in spring, a number of our traditional friendly rivalries were slipping into the history books.
This years executive with both roots in the past and an eye to the future are bringing back these traditions starting with what was to be a mini-tournament between Michigan RFC, TriCity Barbarians and the Rogues. Unfortunately the bureaucracy did leave one casualty with late notice from RugbyUSA the Barbs were unable to obtain clearance from RugbyUSA. Determined to make a great day of it Michigan traveled from Ann Arbor in a "Limobus" with a large contingent and with a solid group of Windsor players available for the home opener at Windsor Stadium it was decided to play an elongated version of the game with 3 periods and 'rolling subs' in order to get maximum playing time in for rookies and work toward game shape leading into the start of league play in a couple weeks time. [thus the only one not getting a breather over the extended format was our stalwart referee Jon Rae who, thanks Jon, gutted out many a mile in what would turn out to be an exciting afternoon of rugby for what appeared to be around 150 fans.
Windsor started a strong lineup of veterans, sophomores, some like big props Jeremy Revenberg getting their first game action after year of absence and Blake Morley returning after stitches in the Missisauga opener. Their steadying influence allowed pack leader Scott Kenneth Murphy to resume his guiding hand on the reins at no.8 and give our outstanding backs a chance to do their thing. The centers with Joe Joseph Bunda Jr. running hard and Simon Kazibwe making great open field tackles kept the pressure on Michigan early and with numerous dangerous attacks, one ending in an over eager penalty on the Michigan line, one ending with a great running and grounded offload from Harry White to a supporting Justin Hunt being called the slightest bit forward. Windsor finished the first of 3 'halves' up 12-7 on the strength of a couple Chris Suchy tries and a Chris Shaw convert.
In the second 'half' our limited practice time started to show with the fitness level of some of the bigger forwards (a relative term in Windsor ) needing a rest and some of the newer backs learning on the fly the teams traded tries (Spencer Bryant - Win) early and it looked like Windsor would escape with a 17-14 edge heading into the third 'half but Michigan had found our weakness on the fringes of the rucks and mauls and slowly ground their way up the field and pounded a big power try into left side with time clicking to zero, 19-17 visitors....
This would have been a heartbreaking way to lose our best effort of the new year during a normal format but the extended format, third half, would provide a chance at redemption. Windsor inserted its fresh rookie wingers and a couple of recuperated forwards and would bring the the dominant onslaught we knew we were capable of but had yet to achieve so far this preseason.
With Spencer and Harry spinning the ball wide both right and left the bigger Michigan forwards found themselves caught into backline defensive positions and the speed mismatches were too much as Ben Magri and rookie Austin Crough capped of a 19-0 run to close out the game!
Final 36-19 Windsor win over Michigan.
Try scorers Chris Suchy (x2), Spencer Bryant, 'Jon-boy' Jonathan Triolet, Ben Magri, Austin Crough. converts Chris Shaw 3 of 6.
man of the match:
windsor: player-coach Scott Kenneth Murphy
michigan: 'the big #8'
Final Score Windsor 19 - 17 Michigan RFC. Nice Win boys!!!