Pelham Youth Rugby started the last day of the fall season Sunday with the elementary flag team heading down to the last Chelsea Waterside Tournament. Pelham showed up with a team made up of four fifth graders and seven third graders. Playing against teams made up of mostly fifth graders, Pelham still won two of their three pool games to advance to the semi-finals.
In a rematch from the group games, Pelham and Epiphany played to a tie. The game went to sudden death overtime. Pelham won the toss and scored on their first possession to win the game and advance to the finals. In the Cup final, Pelham ran out of steam and lost a very close one, 5 tries to 6. Everyone had fun, and the Pelham kids were interviewed for the popular rugby website rugbywrapup.com.
Back in Pelham, the U12, U14 and U16 tackle teams took on long-time rival Manhattan at Ingall’s Field. A month ago, these teams faced off with Pelham’s U12s squeaking out a close 1 try win, the U14 team also winning by 1 try and the U16 team tying.
It was very different this week.
Starting off, the U12 team beat Manhattan “A” 40-20 and defeated Manhattan “B” 50-15. There were several great runs, some hard, clean tackles and fantastic passing. “Man” of the match was Emmit McLoughlin in the second game, joining last week’s winner Sam Jalinoos and the first game’s honoree Finlay Boardman.
Next up, the rejuvenated U14s went into their game missing several key players. It showed. Manhattan jumped out to an early lead as Pelham missed tackles. Not willing to give up, Pelham battled back to score a few of their own tries. This back-and-forth affair finished with Manhattan winning by a good margin, 10 tries to 4. This will be an exciting matchup in league play in the spring. Player of the game was Sofia Imperato, who has had a very strong season. She joined Woods Johnson and Quinn Scanlon as players of the game for this season. Special mention has to go to Jean Vigroux for outstanding play all season.
Finishing the day was a rematch of the heated, aggressive U16 game the sides played a month ago. These players have been battling against each other since they were in fifth and sixth grade.
Pelham was without standout stars Josh Quinn, David Monaco and Matt Rabinowitz. Manhattan came north looking for its first win against Pelham, probably encouraged by the tie a month ago. It was not to be. From the start, Pelham controlled the game and proved to be too powerful and skilled for Manhattan. Getting back to what made them successful over the last two league seasons, Pelham’s players demonstrated some fantastic defense.
The team welcomed back flyhalf Whit Johnson, and he did not disappoint, controlling the game and playing stellar defense. The home team jumped out to a couple of quick tries created by scrumhalf Luke Persanis and finished off nicely. The team had a very solid all around game and won 14 tries to 8. Player of the game was North Westall for the second time in three games. He joined newcomer Harry Fanning as a man of the match this season. Special mention goes to Luke Persanis for three very solid games.
“All in all, it was a great season of rugby,” said Director of Rugby Matt Persanis. “We picked up some great new players as the program continues to grow. We had our largest group yet.”