Harlequins at Wolfhounds

The Harlequins travelled to Boston to take on the Boston Irish Wolfhounds in a crossover playoff game this weekend.   With perfect weather conditions at the Irish Cultural Center in Canton, the Quins took charge early with good ball control and patient offense.   The very large and vocal support group of wives and girlfriends and alumni from Pittsburgh helped the atmosphere for the men playing 800 miles from Founders Field.

An early penalty against the visitors momentarily slowed an aggressive and coordinated assault.  An easy kick on the short and narrow field led to 3 points for the home team.

The Quins jumped back into it with solid forward play and then good use of a well-disciplined back-line.  A couple good runs from the centers set up some space on the outside for a try at the 12-minute mark.  An easy chip for the conversion gave the Quins the lead at 7-3.

Boston, with a seemingly endless supply of large forwards, was able to get a ball out to the far sideline with 10 minutes left in the half for an unconverted try.  At halftime break the score stood a close 8-7 in favor of the home team.

The second half showed the benefit of playing at home under familiar conditions, as well as a confidence in being the favorites and a very good rugby club.  The visitors, in trying to up the intensity, lost some of the cohesion of the first half, and gave up multiple penalties in the first 15 minutes.  Boston, with a decent goal kicker on a small field, took full advantage and added 9 points on 5 attempts.

For the next 20 minutes the Harlequins put together effort after effort only to be foiled with bad handling.  Boston capitalized with the sun at their backs and kicked their way out of trouble time after time.

Another hard fought Boston try around the outside at 70 minutes elapsed and it looked like Pittsburgh might be done for the year.  However, the visitors dug deep and controlled the ball inside the Wolfhounds half for the final 10 minutes of the game, and punched one in to end the game 31-14.

Great season Quins!  And best of luck to the Wolfhounds, who travel to Pittsburgh for theUSARugby Round of 16 playoffs May 12th and 13th.  The top 24 Men’s Club teams from three divisions will compete for advancement to the National Championship in Glendale, Colorado.