The Rugby New York Ironworkers (3-3) defeat Rugby ATL (2-4) by the score of 31-20 at Mount Vernon Memorial Stadium on Sunday.
Defense was on display for both sides in the opening stages, as the two teams were scoreless for the first 17 minutes of play.
The Ironworkers would get on the board first at the 18-minute mark. Benjamin Bonasso kicked the ball from New York’s own 40-yard line, leading to a footrace between Ed Fidow and Rugby ATL players. Fidow got to the ball first, which landed on Rugby ATL’s 24-yard line, and kicked the ball into the try zone and gave chase. No one could catch up to the speedy Fidow who dove on the ball to score the first try of the game. Jack Heighton’s conversion gave New York a 7-0 lead.
Rugby ATL would do the rest of the scoring in the half and go into the second leading 10-7.
The Ironworkers answered in the opening seconds of the second half. Tei Walden’s pass found Kara Pryor who went untouched into the try zone. Another Heighton conversion made it 14-10.
Rugby ATL would score a try of their own at the 54-minute mark to give them back the lead 15-14.
The Ironworkers put together a hard-fought try a few minutes later. The ball eventually landing in the arms of Quinn Ngawati who retrieved at around Rugby ATL’s 45-yard line. From there, Ngwati stiff-armed two Rugby ATL defenders and took the ball all the way to the try zone himself for the score to make it 19-15.
Speed was an advantage for New York all day as they were hard to tackle every time they had possession. At the 72-minute mark, the slippery Heighton got through the defense and found Andrew Coe who ran into the try zone. Heighton’s conversion made it 26-15.
Attempting to mount a comeback, Rugby ATL’s last points of the match came with a try at the 78-minute mark to cut the deficit 26-20.
The Ironworkers played until the final whistle using strength to ward off Rugby ATL’s comeback efforts. Following a drive, Pryor trucked a defender and unloaded the ball to Jason Emery who was able to land into the try zone with two defenders on his back. That would prove to be the nail in the coffin giving New York the 31-20 victory.
What Went Right:
The Ironworkers keeping their foot on the gas made it easier to tire out the opposition. New York played a full 80-minute performance. Defense was stellar again, but it was the second half adjustments on the offensive side that proved to change the course of the game.
New York’s ability to run through the defense with sheer speed and strength was the difference-maker in the match. All five tries scored by the Ironworkers came as the result of passing the ball until it got into the hands of someone who will take it all the way.
It was a crucial win for New York, as they are back to a .500 record and sit in third place in the Eastern Conference. With 15 points, New York is only one point back from second place and four back from first with plenty of rugby left to play.
Their next matchup will be this Saturday at 4 pm against the Toronto Arrows at York Lions Stadium. For tickets to the next huge home game v Houston, click here.
Written by Jason Piccolomini.
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