It’s not often a team representing a town beats a national team. It happened last Thursday, when the Pelham Youth Rugby U15 team faced off against the national U15 side of Bermuda on Randall’s Island.
Bermuda was looking for a win after touring Canada recently and going undefeated–undefeated until they played Pelham.
Pelham dominated the early play, pinning Bermuda deep in their own end. Due to some untimely penalties, Pelham was unable to score until about the tenth minute, when off a scrum down about 15 yards out, Luke Persanis picked up the ball out of the scrum and split two defenders to crash over for the first score.
Pelham increased the pace after that with a series of strong runs until North Westall sliced through for Pelham ‘s second try, taking the score to 10-0, where it remained until the half.
Shortly after halftime, Josh Quinn looked to score but the whistle had already blown, with the referee awarding a penalty to Pelham. Luke Persanis quick tapped and drove through a couple of would-be tacklers for Pelham’s third try.
Off the kickoff, Bermuda mounted a comeback. On the deep kick, Ryan Killeen, Pelham’s fullback, was able to snare the ball and kick it out of bounds just before a Bermuda winger could reach it. On the ensuing lineout, Bermuda punched in a try and kicked the conversion to take the score to 15-7. A few minutes later off another kick, Bermuda gathered the ball and an uncalled holding of the jersey allowed Bermuda to score again.
At 15-12, things were now getting tight for Pelham.
Pelham kicked off. Their defense stuffed Bermuda back into their own end and eventually forced a knock-on. Pelham was awarded a scrum 20 yards out. Off the scrum, Persanis picked up the ball and ran in untouched for his third try and a 20-12 lead. Cian Burns made the conversion to take the score to a more comfortable 22-12. The game ended moments later.
Pelham had won it’s first international match and were presented with the Atlantic Cup.
Luke Persanis was man of the match. Pelham got strong performances once again from Josh Quinn, North Westall, Cian Burns, Matt Rabinowitz, Matt Biskup, Kevin Ndou, David Monaco and Morgan Collins.