The Rowers Prems opened up the second half of the season in a close contest against cross-town rival Meralomas this past Saturday, coming up short on the road by a score of 34-31.
The Rowers opened the scoring in the second minute as winger Jordan W-R ran a hard attack into space, beat his man with a grubber, and chased it in with outside centre Harvey Rowland, who put it down in the corner to make it 5-0 Rowing Club. Coach Jon Mergui would later call it, “the most beautiful try we’ve scored all season.”
The Meralomas responded in the sixth minute, electing to kick for points from a penalty mark to make it 5-3.
The Rowing Club stayed on the front foot and mounted an extended attack into opposition territory that was stalled by a Meralomas knock on. The Rowers drove the ensuing scrum from the five meter line into the end goal, where 8th man Scylar Dumas was able to put it down and extend his team’s lead to 12-3 after a successful kick.
The ‘Lomas added another penalty kick in the 31st minute to make it 12-6, and were pushing their offense into the Rowers’ end when Rowers inside center Tom O’Hare timed a defensive run perfectly to intercept a Meralomas pass and take it the distance for a five point tally. 17-7 Rowers in the 33rd minute.
The Rowers’ attack kept pace and was making good progress in the 33rd minute when a Harvey Rowland offload to hard-charging prop Jake Schwartz was ruled a forward pass. The Lomas won the ensuing scrum and kicked to clear, mounted a strong chase, and managed to recover the ball to score a try. 17-11 in the 37th minute.
The home side would add three points off of another penalty kick in the 39th minute, and score another try off of turnover ball to take a 21-17 lead at the half.
The Meralomas tallied two more penalty kicks to start the second half in the 45th and 49th minutes, making it 27-17. They would get into penalty trouble of their own a bit later, and end up with a man sent off on a yellow for not being back 10 meters on a Rowers’ penalty in the 53rd minute. The VRC attacked pressed on from the mark and took advantage of the short-handed ‘Lomas pack, pushing the scrum across the line to set up another Dumas try. 24-27 ‘Lomas in the 56th minute.
Dumas was issued a yellow card of his own shortly afterwards, and the Meralomas took advantage, running a play off set piece that put them in the end goal for a 34-24 lead following a successful conversion.
Undeterred, the Rowers continued to press. Dumas, fresh off a rest from the yellow card, mounted a fine looking attack run inside the ‘Lomas ten meter line that featured a successful dummy pass and culminated in an offload to halfback Dermot O’Mera, who evaded would-be tacklers with a handsome spin move to find pay dirt. A successful conversion made it 34-31… as time expired.
Coach Mergui said that he was frustrated that they didn’t get the result, but satisfied with the effort. “We chased the score in the 2nd half and the ‘Lomas kicker was very good off the tee. Overall, they dominated the breakdown with some key penalties and turnovers. We were stretched for numbers, and still looked a little out of shape…. lots of room for improvement in the way we manage the game and the ups and downs.”
The Prems are next in action this coming February 5th, when they will host Westshore at Brockton.