Pelham seventh-eighth grade team beats Rockaway at last gasp; sixth-seventh edged out of comeback bid

The Pelham Rugby Club traveled to Glen Cove on Sunday for week five of the season. The sixth-seventh graders took on the Rockaway Rugby Club. The first half started poorly for the Pelham team, but a strong second half pulled them close. Luke Persanis scored two unassisted tries in the second period, the first on a kickoff return and the second on a pick up from the base of a scrum, running the length of the field to score. The third try was a beautifully executed loop performed by Jack Weyndling and Adam Razick.

Playing for Pelham were Luke Persanis, Adam Razick, Sofia Imperato, Jack Weyndling, Jack Fronce, Alejandro Kahaner, Woods Johnson, James Bristow, Jean Vigroux, Duffy Doyle, Quinn Scanlon, Conor McNulty, Chris Davis, Tamio Shibaski and Cameron Ward.

The seventh-eighth grade team took on undefeated Aspetuck in a showdown of league leaders. A very strong team performance gave Pelham the win, 4 tries to 1. In the second game, Pelham faced second-place Rockaway, which only had one defeat in the season, an early loss to Pelham. And Rockaway beat Aspetuck earlier that day, so a Rockaway win would create a three-way tie at the top of the league with only two games to go.

Pelham started slowly, with handling errors and penalties leading to an early Rockaway score. Pelham battled back to take a 2-1 lead on tries from Xavier Worsely and Morgan Collins. Rockaway responded with a strong run off a kickoff to set up the tying score.

The two teams went back and forth for 10 minutes with no one scoring. Pelham was killing itself with unforced errors. With one minute to play, Pelham made it to five yards from the Rockaway try line, but committed a penalty and gave the ball to Rockaway. Rockaway executed a nice penalty play, moving the ball to the outside, and the Rockaway player was now one-on-one with half the length of the field to score. Luke Persanis, playing in his third game of the day, was faced with a do-or-die situation—make the tackle or Rockaway would score. He did make the tackle, Pelham recovered the ball and forced Rockaway to knock it on, leading to a Pelham scrum 50 yards from the Rockaway try line.

The ref signaled last play of the game. Matt Rabinowitz put the ball in the scrum, and Pelham won the ball. Matt Biskup picked it up at the back of the scrum, made a long run, eventually getting tackled. But through strong rucking, Pelham won the ball and passed it down the line for a try in the corner. As the ball was placed down the ref signaled “try” and “end of game.” That put Pelham in sole possession of first place and made the team undefeated with two games remaining.

Playing in the game were: Matt Biskup, Dan Biskup, Luke Persanis, Quinn Scanlon, Xavier Worsely, Jack Weynding, David Monaco, James Cahill, Morgan Collins, Kees Huisman, Whit Johnson, Nick Roll, Matt Rabinowits and North Westall.