A Friday night road trip and an overnight stay was necessary before the Valley Forge Casino Philadelphia Fight returned home, remaining undefeated with an encouraging 52 – 30 win over Boston 13s on Saturday, July 12. (Photos Courtesy of Gene Thorpe Photography-The official photographer of the Fight)
The much anticipated match, expected to be the 2013 National Champions toughest contest yet in 2014, became a great team effort by the Fight after Boston opened the scoring in the first 10 minutes. Boston’s early converted try couldn’t hold the Fight back from a 18-6 lead at the first 20-minute break, with 3 tries and 3 conversions. Aussie five-eighth, Tom Dawney opened the Fight’s account with a another gem of a try, winger Mike ‘Squirrel’ Timpano and Captain Rich Henson also scored tries in the first quarter with Squirrel converting all 3. Timpano would finish with a perfect 6 goals from 6 attempts for the day.
The conditions were hot and humid 30mins south of downtown Boston. The Fight continued to provided solid team work throughout the match. Each and every player who pulled on the cardinal-red and myrtle-green jersey for the match combined in a way that gave the opposition little chance to stop the flow of try scoring throughout the match. Although Boston scored two converted tries in the 2nd quarter, they couldn’t get over the line in the 3rd. Before the half-time break, right-winger Ian Ferguson screamed down the touch-line at lightening speed to score a try. That conversion and a penalty goal by the ever-accurate Timpano had the Fight leading 26-18 at half-time.
The Fight’s combination of set plays, determined and powerhouse performances in both attack and defense kept them well ahead on the scoreboard throughout the match. Dawney scored his second try after the half-time break, along with his Aussie team mates Jackson Springer and Rhys Bowdich. Coming back from an injured spleen, Michael Garvey posted another strong game rewarding him with a try.
There were many bright and encouraging individual performances amongst a team effort that will prove invaluable for the Fight heading into another tough encounter at A.A. Garthwaite Stadium next Saturday July 19, 5.00pm against the Washington DC Slayers.
Some of the season’s best performances made it difficult to separate one Fight player from the other for best on-ground. A very pleased coach nominated Captain and five-eighth Rich Henson as his best on the day, with 2 tries and 2 goals for 12 points. Along with his key strength of mustering his troops, Henson was complete in his execution of the game. His deft running with the ball resulted in many headaches for the opposition. In addition, his defense was faultless.
Henson was closely followed by Springer, Bowdich and Dawney who often combined to deliver the final blow, along with Garvey and lock, Andrew Kneisly. The front-three of James Coleman, Jared Frymoyer and Dave ‘PFC’ Wilmore had high work rates in both attack and defense making sure there was good field-postion for the others to exploit. Newcomer and fullback, Roman Lowery, nominated Players Player by his team mates, handled the pressure from Boston 13s accurate kicking game and caused many problems for their defense with his decisive running when in possession of the ball.
As mentioned, it was difficult to separate anyone from the fine performances that came from all players. Tristan Sylk, John Evangelista, Matt Scherr, Larry Madden and Joe Cesario came from the interchange bench to inflict their share of damage on the 13s. Cesario in particular with a couple of bone-crunching tackles, and Sylk breaking the defense on several occasions for 30 – 40 yard runs. A unique game for the ‘big fella’, trying out three positions in one game at 2nd-row, centre and prop. Springer, Bowdich and ‘Chunk’ Kneisly worked hard at their trade with solid games, shutting down Boston’s attack on many occasions. Springer scored a bustling 50 yard try.
Dawney showed his kicking game was in sync again. Garvey was always a threat to the opposition when he had possession of the ball, and added to a good defensive effort by the Fight. Joel Beasley and John Lyons, playing in the centres, had solid games again and will make selection for next week difficult
It’s on again next week when we’re home at A.A. Garthwaite Stadium…. with the promise of a better game against the also-undefeated Washington DC Slayers.
Come out and watch some great Rugby League.
Try Scorers: Tom Dawney (2), Rich Henson (2), Ian Ferguson, Mike Timpano, Jackson Springer, Rhys Bowdich, Michael Garvey
Goals: Mike Timpano (6), Rich Henson (2)
1st Qtr: 18-6, Halftime: 26-18, 3rd Qtr: 36-18, Final: 52-30