Dolphins challenge Blackheath but fall in high scoring affair.
by Doug Bratcher
The Dolphins took the field on Saturday to face the oldest open rugby club in the world, Blackheath. Throughout the course of the next 80
minutes the home side opened the eyes of the visitors, played some of their best running rugby of the season, but eventually fell to the more experienced side 59-44.
Midway through the first period the Dolphins were leading 15-14. Blackheath were able to scramble and touch down just before the half to regain the lead which they never relinquished 15-21. We knew this was going to be a stern test for us coming in. They are much more experienced than we are and that experience really shone through on long multiphase play and in the scrums. They were able to exploit us a little on the 4-5 phase after the ball had gone sideline to sideline. It was great for our guys to see the type of rugby that we want to play and are capable of playing.
20 minutes into the second period and we were able to scramble and close the gap to 5 points. I’m not sure if it was because the pressure was off because of the game being a friendly, but the boys really started playing beautiful rugby. The forwards supported the ballcarrier all over the paddock, the backs ran great lines, and for the first time all season played up to our abilities. We had a great display of rugby to close out the 2011 season.
The Blackheath management and coaches awarded center Ali Ross the man of the match honors. He was tremendous throughout the day gouging
holes in the visitors defense and refusing to allow opposition ball carriers even a sniff of space.
The Dolphin seconds faced Pilgrims RFC an touring side of British SAS. The seconds were filled out by members of BAFTA, young visiting rugby players, and all manner of rugby journeymen. The Pilgrims were a very fit, tactically sound team and put the ‘Cuda to the test throughout the match. John Ruud led the side and put the ‘Cuda’s first points on the board with a dropkick. Ross, filling in and getting more match time scored the only try for the home side in the second period. The Pilgrims triumphed 28-10 in a match that was extremely competitive throughout.
Overall it was a tremendous day of rugby. The social at O’Briens was on par with the rest of the day, gifts were exchanged, speeches were
given and songs were sung (the Brits really like to sing). It’s awesome to walk into O’Briens to find 60 red clad fans and players from Blackheath, 35 Pilgrims in blue touring polos, and 30+ members of the Dolphin family with most in their spiffy new green blazers.
Saturday’s A Rugby Day