Belmont drop to 3-1 (1-1), losing to Hendricken 5-13 – Pictures thanks to Dave Chan
After an emotional victory against St. John’s Prep, a postponed match with Brookline, and a 10 day tour to Spain, Belmont RFC had trouble executing offensively, and problems defensively as they lost to Bishop Hendricken High School 5-13.
Belmont has faced Hendricken only once before in the regular season – a bruising, physical match in Rhode Island that saw the visitors come up short by 3 points. This year’s game was similar – tough, brutal at times, with back and forth play, and dynamic action throughout.
The match highlights began quickly and was frenetic at times. Belmont’s defense – the backbone of the club – was strong once again, missing few tackles and holding Hendricken’s very organized and well drilled side to a meter here, a meter there.
Penalties against the home side once again hurt – at the final whistle Belmont had committed 20 penalties to the visitor’s 9 – and Hendricken pushed the ball deep in Belmont’s territory. Time & again, however, the men in maroon & black held true and protected their try zone.
Crushing tackles were put in by senior open side flanker Craig Janjigian. At times he seemed a man possessed, crunching and driving back players twice his size. Hendricken’s lineout was ineffective because of Jig’s strong fringe defense.
Newly minted wing J.D. Niles may have put in the tackle of the match as he chased a kick down and clobbered Hendricken’s hooker.
The back and forth lasted a bulk of the 1st half until Hendricken was able to capitalize off a Belmont knock-on and run in a long distance try. With the kick missed, the visitors were up 0-5.
Belmont responded quickly and showed why their backs were such a threat as Niles inserted himself in the line and made an impressive 3o meter break.
But red zone breakdowns failed the homeside as they visited Hendricken’s 22 seven different occasions in the 1st half and came away empty each time.
After a dislocated shoulder sidelined starter Sean Griffin at flyhalf, sophomore Paul Campbell stepped in and played impressive, calm, physical rugby. It’s clear BRFC’s future is bright with Campbell and the talented group of underclassmen.
When the 2nd half began Belmont punched in an early try. Off a penalty the ball moved quickly from Sam Tommy, to captain Jon Comeau, to Janjigian, who hopped, skipped and jumped into the try zone. Tying the game 5-5 the momentum began to tilt back to the homeside.
Through the 2nd half the score was even and the play was back and forth. Each time traded blows and nifty play by fullback Sal Pargoli and wings Luke Gallagher (earning his first 1st side cap) and Niles prevented a Hendricken try.
But penalties killed Belmont again and Hendrick was able to kick over a 3-point penalty shot to take the lead.
It was a three point game until Hendricken’s skilled #10 found space and scurried through the defense of Belmont, to dot down the deciding try.
At the final whistle, the score read 5-13. It was a solid match by the homeside, and an impressive win by the visitors. Taking away the positive, Belmont realized how strong their defense was and how tight the match was throughout. Minor corrections, and cutting down penalties, are the focus as Belmont prepare for their next match as they host Xaverian Brothers High School.
Man of the Match: #7 Craig Janjigian
In the shortened 2nd side game, Belmont brought that physical defense and attacking style true to form and defeated Hendricken’s 2nd side 10-5.
Impressive efforts were put in by Darren Chan, Bryce Christian, and Jack Toland.
Belmont was able to move the ball through their backline, secure quick ball, and exploit a weaker Hendricken defense.
Belmont was also able to hold the visitor’s tactic of pick & go and chip & chase at bay as they disrupted ball and fought off a strong, larger Hendricken forward pack.
Men of the Match: Jack Toland & Luke Perrotta