Pelham Rugby faced off against Manhattan Rugby Club in U12, U14 and U16 games Sunday at Manhattan’s home field on Randalls Island.
Pelham’s U12s were playing their first game ever against a heavily favored Manhattan team. Pelham started slow, falling behind at half time 3-2, but came roaring back in the second half to win 4-3.
Pelham’s U14 team took the field next against long-time rival Manhattan. This was a fiercely contested battle between two teams looking for a win in the first game of the season. The teams were tied at halftime 20-20, but that didn’t last long. Right after kickoff, Manhattan caught Pelham sleeping and scored two long-range tries to go up 30-20. But Pelham came roaring back to even the score. With only moments to go, Pelham put together a long-range try to go up by one. Not done yet, Manhattan pinned Pelham deep and forced a turn over. With very little time left on the clock, Pelham’s defense reached deep and held up the Manhattan runner to cause a stoppage in play. The game ended with Pelham the winner by a 40-35 score (8 tries to 7).
This led to the U16 game, a brutal match contested by these two long-time rivals. In fact, this was a rematch of the first game ever played by both teams. Pelham has never lost to Manhattan and that stayed true. But it was close, and the ended in a 45-45 tie (9 tries a piece). Maybe feeling a bit over confident, Pelham came out slow and paid for it—down 3 tries to none after 10 minutes. Pelham eventually battled back as the try count went 3-2, 4-2, 4-3, 5-3, and at the half, it was 5-4 to Manhattan. Clearly upset, Pelham came back out fired up. They tied the score 5-5, then after what some people described as “interesting refereeing,” the Pelham team was down again. But they battled back to eventually pull even, ending the game tied at 45 all (9 tries each).
It was a great opening weekend. Pelham had lots of new kids involved, and the win by the U12 team in their first game ever is a great sign of things to come.
Next game is on Oct. 20 at 6 pm at Glover field. It should be a great season.