Monday, April 27, 2015

NSCRO Men;s XVs Championship: MSMU v NEC

Mount Saint Mary’s University v New England College
                  The Lions fullback, Cathal Finneran, in stripes with ball, made big plays all day for NEC             image: Bob Lyon

NEC Lions ran rampant on a field of green Sunday. Steady and chilly the rain at Infinity Park Rugby Stadium as NEC claimed the 2015 NSCRO Men’s XVs Champions crown over Mount Saint Mary’s University. The Big Cats were comprehensive in defense, all but shutting down a prolific MSMU offense that had put 55 points on Saint John’s University (2014 champs) in Saturday’s opening semifinal match. It was all about the “rush-dee” for Lions as their three-quartersline joined with their adversaries nearly simultaneous the spun pill and, along with slidey turf that had rainwater pooling, the vaunted MSMU offense had evident difficulty finding firm footing and/or locating the ball’s handle this day.
First blood to NEC as they rolled into the Mount 22 in slips and starts from the breakdown. Openside flanker, Ky Young, tore over goal from the loose inclose to ground for fullback Cathal Finneran’s conversion and 7-nil the Lions in the early goings.
With NEC turning the ball over at breakdown and making the gainline repeatedly, the Mount was on its rear leg until a shortside maneuver along touch brought the Marylanders into the Lions 22; penalty assessed by field official, Leah Berard, the sticksplitter by inside center Tito Miranda, and a 7-3 scoreline for NEC at the 18th minute.
Lions reply toute suite as, from a 15 meters wonscrum, second row Daryl Wislon carried the misdirection away and stormed across for his dot and Finneran’s completion: 14-3 in the 21st minute.
A Finneran penalty goal at 32 put the tallies at 17 and 3 as the drizzling precipitation became steadier.
Now a yellow ticket to sit for a Lion and the swift capitalization thereof on the one-man advantage by the Mount as their workhorse outside center, Travis Bewley, slipped over after 15 banging phases inside the Lions 22 for the five pointer-made-seven by Miranda and 17-10 for New England at Berard’s halftime signal, and lads to lockers for hydration and instruction.
Slick and sloppy conditions affected play adversely, though NEC were better at turning ball over in the breakdown and maintaining possession thereafter; Mount fire and tight maulwork stood them in good stead and kept MSMU within a converted try of their opponents at the half.
NEC extended its lead in the 52nd minute when replacement tight five, Parry Owens, crashed into goal for a grounding and 27-10 the sig-figs just then.
Another for the Lions as inside center Isaiah Lopez broke to space 30 meters from goal and outpaced the chase for the try that brought the tallies to 27 and 10 in the 55th minute.
MSMU got one back in  fine fashion when Colin Tirney took the scrumput against the head and 8-man CJ Beasley popped across into goal: 27-15 at the 63rd minute, but the Mount yet in two-score arrears now.
Much desperate action on both sides in the closing quarter of the match, though no further numbers until NEC replacement, Connor Fantasia, finished a 30-meter scoot with the day’s final grounding and the record of 32-15 to New England College Lions for the 2015 NSCRO Men’s Championship XVs title at Berard’s last blast.
            MSMU – Try: Bewley, Beasley; Con: Miranda; Pen: Miranda;
            NEC – Try: Young, Wilson, Owens, Lopez, Fantasia; Con: Finneran (2); Pen: Finneran;
Match Official(s): Leah Berard (referee); Gary Hartzell, Dan Hattrup (ras)

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