Saturday October 1st, the Arkansas Gryphons traveled to North KC to battle a revived Northland RFC of about 30 strong. We traveled with 21 players that were ready for the challenge, which is much lighter than the turnout we’ve been getting at practice, which was a little disappointing. This mean that the coaches had to come up with a strong lineup, which meant players playing in different positions than they were used to. Nonetheless, we were up for the battle and it showed with the players effort that they put forward on Saturday. Unfortunately we needed more than effort, we needed Accuracy and Execution in our passing and tackling and we fell short in those two areas and suffered a 10-29 loss against Northland.
Northland beat us 4 tries to 2 plus a couple of penalty kicks to get to 29 points vs our 2 unconverted tries. The match started out close where we both battled evenly for the first 15 minutes, until NL scored their 1st try in the 13th minute after their BIG STRONG outside center bust through and dotted down for the 1st points of the game. The Gryphons battled back and were attacking nicely with good strong forwards play that translated into some space for the backs. However, as we were attacking in their 22, we gave kicked possession away and NL recovered and went 90+ meters to score their 2nd try of the match. The 1st half ended with NL being up 12-0, as we were very much in the game and just needed to sure up our tackling, decision making and passing accuracy. Strong 1st half play by the following players – Beau Fore and Mike Wyse with some good hard running, Lawrence Standingwater with some tough tackling and strong running and good rucking, and David Robertson was also doing well and getting around the pitch to support the open play.
The second half we made a few changes and brought on Calvin for Tyler, Joel for Robert (Mike Wyse moved up to the front row), Nate for Juicy as he was a little loopy from a 1st half knock on the noggin. We didn’t get the start we wanted as NL scored 2 tries in the first 13minutes. We had our backs to the wall, but still kept coming and trying to attack. The NL defense was solid and kept us from getting the ball outside with the backline defensive line speed. However, we were persistent and Mote scored our 1st try in the 56minute in the corner after a series of pressure to make the score 26-5. NL converted on a penalty kick and we kept the pressure on and were able get a hard forwards try by Beau Fore in the 62min. We tried and tried to keep the pressure on to gain another opening but NL’s defense was good and they didn’t allow that to happen. We left it all on the field, but it wasn’t good enough as we got beat 10-29. I was very pleased with the effort that EVERYONE gave including 2 players who started their 1st match as a Gryphon – Seth White and Devyn Hardy, but our decision making, passing accuracy and tackling will have to be better in order for us to win those matches.
We improved on our set pieces where we won our lineups and most of our scrums and overall, the forwards played well together. In the backs, we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be. Several simple basic ball-handling mistakes and our inability to attack out wide prevented us from breaking through and scoring the tries that we needed and that we are capable of scoring. We will regroup and get back at working on the basics of rugby which are tackling, catching and passing and get ready to take on our next opponent!
Go Green Machine!!!!