Belmont end regular season 5-1 (4-1) with convincing 34-7 defeat of Xaverian; 2nd XV finish 5-0-1 with big win
May 6, 2015
The Belmont Rugby Club’s 1st XV finished their regular season with a strong performance, defeating a physical and strong Xaverian team 34-7. The win secures Belmont a 1st round bye in the state playoffs and the right to host a playoff semi-final match.
The game started at a frenetic pace with Xaverian threatening early. Belmont’s aggressive style cost them in yardage as the penalty count quickly turned against them. The Hawks took advantage of the mistakes and put the ball deep in Belmont’s territory. Several strong defensive stands kept the scoreboard calm, but the first 12 minutes of the match seemed to give Xaverian the momentum.
Finally Belmont were able to relieve the pressure and spend quality attacking time in the opposition’s end thanks to a quick thinking clearance kick from #8 Luke Perrotta. The soccer player, turned center, turned wing, turned loose forward has proven well suited for the pack, but his kicking & back play prowess have also come in hand.
Due to injury, scrumhalf captain Darren Chan was unavailable. Suiting up in the #9 jumper was senior Matt Wilk. New to the position the cerebral Wilk played like a veteran, communicating often to the pack, distributing ball well, and threatening the line himself.
It was Wilk who commanded the team when Belmont first threatened the Xaverian line. Multiple pick & go’s by the Belmont forwards, lead by captain Nick Ryan, proved unsuccessful because of the size of the Hawks tight five. A costly turnover left the hosts frustrated, but a missed kick to touch allowed Belmont’s back three to attack. Fullback Peter Berens moved the ball quickly to wing Luke Gallagher and then found flyhalf Paul Campbell who was able to break the deadlock, putting Belmont ahead 7-0, with a successful conversion by Gallagher.
The first score of the game seemed to also instill some confidence in the Belmont side. Another slow start by Belmont gave the Hawks something to believe in. That was quickly snuffed out, however, when senior center & resident Scotsman Campbell McCready punched in Belmont’s second score. Off the ensuing kick off Belmont drove the ball up the narrow channel with lock Lucas Jenkins & tighthead prop Deshawn Frederick. The ball moved quickly out to McCready who dummied several defenders and scampered in from 60 meters out. Gallagher made the tough conversion and the hosts were up, quickly, 14-0.
Xaverian tried to keep the pressure on, realizing that they needed a score quickly. Their backs, playing deeply, moved the ball well, but the Belmont blitz defense shut down most of their options. An unfortunate injury to their hulking inside center did the visitors no favors, but their blindside wing, looking more the size of a loose forward, rumbled for yardage all night.
Belmont did well to bend, but not break, to the attacking pressure and, playing down in Xaverian’s half again, Belmont decided the prudent thing was to take the points when available. A penalty was awarded and the hosts wisely kicked the three pointer, putting them up at half 17-0.
Some fresh legs for Belmont allowed the score line ticking as junior center Grant “DOUBLE G” Gilbert scored after a strong counter attacking run by Berens.
Up 22-0 Belmont did not look back, punching in another score off a beautifully executed lineout. Perrotta drove the defense back and dotted down his first of the night, emphatically. With the conversion Belmont were up 29-0.
More reserves began to pour in and they proved useful. Seniors Austin Lutz, Peter Durkin, Evan Goldberg and Bobby Moran did well to maintain the momentum in the forwards and not allow Xaverian breathing room. Jacob Hale, getting his first start in the 7 jumper, and hooker Bryce Christian wreaked havoc on Xaverian’s breakdown all night.
Xaverian, full credit to them, did not back down and refused to be shutout. A quick tap penalty taken by their bruising #8 was the impetus for their only score, as he broke multiple tackles which set up a try under the sticks, the score line reading 29-7.
Not to finish that way, Belmont moved the ball again off a lineout, getting the ball in the hands of wing Norman Kilivatitu who refused to be kept out of the score sheet. With Gallagher’s conversion the win was cemented, 34-7.
Final Score Belmont 34 (17) Xaverian 7 (0)
Belmont High School
Tries – Campbell, McCready, Gilbert, Perrotta, Kilivatitu
Conversions – Gallagher (3)
Pens – Gallagher
Tries – unknown
Conversions – unknown
Referee: Pearce Mara
In the 2nd XV match Belmont dispensed with the visitors quickly, putting up a halftime score of 21-5. Lowell Haska, making his return after an offseason back surgery, crunched the visitors with multiple tackles, drove through rucks like a big rig, and made his presence felt on attack.
But it was the underclassmen, once again, who showed that this senior laden Belmont squad may have quite the future. Sophomore halfback pair Mateo Saint-Ourens & Marvyn Dorchin, also known as “The French Connection”, showed a level of maturity and aggression not seen this season. The two imports sliced and diced the defense, moved the ball swiftly and with panache, and commanded the troops well.
Seniors got in on the action, to be sure, with fullback Alex Berets making dozens of linebreaks and accumulating massive amounts of yardage. Berets scored his first of the night, emphatically, after outpacing several defenders and dotting down under the posts. Dorchin’s conversion put Belmont up 7-0.
Senior Kyle Eyma, the team’s de facto Trendsetter, scored his first of the night, with his usual jubilance, and before the visitors knew what struck them they were down 14-0.
Quickly regrouping the Hawks were able to put together good phases of play and scored their first of the half. Unconverted they were on the board 14-5. Under the watch eye of senior captain Rashunda Webb, Belmont responded quickly. After strong runs by another sophomore, lock Brendan “Evergreen” Walsh, senior Spiros “Hellas” Kritharas scored his first of the season. Dorhcin’s conversion rate staying steady at 100%, Belmont were up 21-5.
At the break fresh legs rolled in, but it was Berets again who found gobs of space. This time he wasn’t tracked down by a defender and outpaced for his 2nd of the night, putting Belmont out of reach 26-5.
A loose ball and miscommunication led to Xaverian’s second score when the pill spilled out and the boys in black didn’t notice an aware Xaverian player scooped it up and ran for paydirt. Now at 26-10 Belmont refused to end the game on that note and, as their 1st XV brethren did, made sure the last score of the evening was for the home side.
Continued pressure from kicks, both from Dorchin & Saint-Ourens, allowed the ball to end up in the opponent’s half. Ryan Haggerty, a senior prop, playing with his usual strength and aggression, punched in the final score of the night when, in perfect body form, he trucked a defender who nobly got in the way of Haggerty & his prize.
At 31-10 the 2nd XV celebrated an immensely successful season. Going 5-0-1 the future is certainly bright for Belmont.
Final Score Belmont 31 (21) Xaverian 10 (5)
Belmont High School
Tries – Berets (2), Eyma, Kritharas, Haggerty
Conversions – Dorchin 3
Referee: Pearce Mara-->