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DII Club Roundup - Middlesex Keeps Winning

Sunday Sep 27, 2009 in Amateur Competitions Division II Clubs

image for this article
(Middlesex runs past Newport, just. Ian Durrant photo)

Summer in New England didn’t really show up, as it was cold and rainy virtually the entire time.

But the sun has arrived in time for fall rugby and that has teams smiling. And certainly it made for excellent conditions at Fort Adams in Newport, RI, where the upstart Middlesex Barbarians defeated their previously undefeated hosts 27-12 to stay on top of New England’s DII club league at 4-0.

Middlesex scored an unconverted at 14 minutes with No. 8 Mike Mahoney making a nice play to set it up. Down 5-0 Newport answered six minutes later when scrumhalf Marc Daniel-Simpson scored a nifty try off a quick tap. And then Chris St Germain extended the lead when he zipped around the weak side. 12-5 Newport at halftime.

The game was a contrast of styles. Newport playing very direct rugby - bashing it up with forwards and their backs also running hard, straight lines. The young Middlesex side liked to move the ball more and offloaded in the tackle. Sometimes it was like watching a 7s team play.

In the second half the Barbarians began to take control. Flyhalf Jason Stefani hit a penalty kick and then Albert Chow did well in his support running to score and give Middlesex the 15-12 lead.

The third quarter of the match was very tight. The teams traded territory and then Newport seemed to be in position to retake the lead. They mauled the ball over the line, but were held up. From the ensuing scrum the over-eager Newport pack drive early, free kick to Middlesex.

Soon after John Meehan scored for Middlesex and Matt Virzi iced it when both teams were hoping to come out with at least a bonus point.

Newport ended up losing by 15, but were much, much closer for most of the game. They drop to 2-1, but are still in a solid position in New England.

"This was a match we had to have going into the bye week,” said Middlesex coach Josh Smith. “One thing is clear in NERFU DII, we are going to battle each week, no easy ones.”

Middlesex men of the match were No. 8 Mike Mahoney and scrumhalf Danny Mullane. Newport’s best were prop Marc Landers and lock forward Colin Roberts.

Other New England scores:
Portland 39 Charles River 14
Burlington 17 Providence 0

Elsewhere in DII
In Met NY, the Village Lions improved to 2-2 with a 24-7 victory over winless Montclair. Monmouth moved to 3-0 after defeating Union 32-14. Monmouth dominated the breakdown and held Union to just one try.

In the Mid-Atlantic, Wilmington traveled to their first road game of the '09 season and came home with a win versus the Jersey Shore Sharks 24-22.  The Sharks kept Wilmington on the back foot for most of the day, with former Penn State All American flyhalf Justin Lotter controlling the game with his snappy kicking game. Lotter scored a try with a sweet chip and chase and added a penalty for an 8-7 lead for Jersey Shore.

Trailing 8-7, Wilmington fought back with the last try of the day scored by wing Trevor Thomas, and scrumhalf Pat Mullin’s touchline conversion proved to be the difference.

Also Saturday in MARFU, Frederick won 54-10 over Western Suburbs.

Wilmington improves to 2-1 in the North Conference, while Frederick improves to 2-0 in the South.

In the Midwest, the Chicago Blaze traveled out to Clinton, Ia and came home with a 21-15 to improve to 2-0.

The young Blaze backline was outstanding once again, and the Blaze got a boost last spring with the arrival of BYU All American lock Craig Clark.

And in the West, the Denver Rugby Queen City side were slapped around early by Colorado Springs. Springs ran out to a 28-0 lead and held on the win 41-28.

- Alex Goff
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