Harlequins Down Schuylkill River Exiles

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Quins earned a hard fought 17-10 victory against the Schuylkill River RFC on Saturday at Avonworth High School. Despite playing into the wind during the first half, Schuylkill opened the scoring with an unconverted try in the opening minutes. Schuylkill controlled the play early with good ball control, committing few turnovers in the process. The Quins responded with a Nick Koon penalty at the 25th minute to cut the lead to 5-3. The Quins were penalized repeatedly during the first half, but Schuylkill was unable to take advantage due to aggressive defense by the home side. With two men in the sin bin, the Quin backs broke free on a nice movement, the ball touching many hands. Zach Schell finished by breaking through to touch down in the try zone. Koon converted for a 10-5 lead, which stood until halftime.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Quins struck early in the second half, after a another nice movement by the backs. Schell punched it in for his second try of the game. Koon converted for a 17-5 lead. Discipline and ball control improved in the second half and the defense remained stout. With the wind at their backs, Schuylkill continued to push into Quin’s territory but the Quins held firm. Schuylkill scored an unconverted try at the 60th minute to cut the lead to 17-10. The hard hitting and aggressive play continued for both sides, with Geoff Jordan, Robbie Roche and Paul Holmes standing out for the Quins. Centers Nick Koon and Tyree Massie continued to break throiugh gaps, but the Quins were unable to finish. Schuylkill threatened several times in the final minutes but were unable to score. Brian Donnelly iced the match by intercepting a pass and breaking down the field. Instead of trying to score, he wisely hoofed the ball into touch to end the match.

Both sides put on a nice display of running, attacking rugby in the second game with Schuylkill running in five tries and the Quins four. But the Quins came out on top 28-27 by converting all of their tries while Schuylkill converted only one. The Quins roared back from 20-7 and 27-21 deficits to claim the win. Try scorers for the Quins were Mike Wilk, Seta Vukica, Simi Vaisova, and Epa Vitivakabuka with the game winner. Making their Harlequin debuts in this match were Bill Eagan, Sam Kriegler, and Thor Croughan.

As in week one, all 26 players who dressed for the Quins played hard and played well.

Both sides enjoyed barbecue pig, courtesy of Sione, after the match. The social moved down to Sunny Jim’s Tavern, where St. Patrick’s day festivities were going strong. We had a good drink up with the Philly boys. Incredibly, the band on stage knew the words and melody of “Are Yins From Pittsburgh”, taught to them, according to the lead singer, by none other than Rich” Big C” Walters. About 20 Quins sang along with the band for one of the better versions of this song I have heard in recent years.