Saturday, Orlando traveled South to face Naples, the #1 seed in the state. Orlando was missing a good deal of starters, mainly due to injury, but was able to bring a solid side of 22 players despite. The first half of the match was rough as Naples went up by 40 at the half. Orlando’s defense wasn’t attacking as a flat line, and as a result, Naples was able to find the gaps. The counter attacks looked like a 7’s match, and Naples was able to poach the ball at will. Orlando managed a penalty kick and a try with conversion, both by Captain Eugene Louw. One noticeable factor for the Griffins was bickering amongst the team once frustration set in. Halftime primarily focused on being positive, playing as a team, and picking one another up and the second half was far different. Orlando moved the ball well, rucking and ball retention looked good, and Orlando fought back to put up another 38 points in the second forty, outscoring Naples 38-19 in the half. It wasn’t enough, however, as the final score saw Naples walking away with a 69-41 victory.
Some positive notes from Saturday: PJ Scott earned his first start and played brilliant rugby all afternoon, deserving of “Man of the Match.” Phillip Moore, who started his rugby career just a couple of weeks ago, filled in at wing and did very well, Mike Shope, Eugene Louw, and Pedro Tonietto all impressed with their solid play. Despite a disappointing result, I can say I was proud of everyone that travelled. Nobody gave up and everyone walked away with their heads held high. Orlando has it’s final match on 3/16, as they travel south again to play the #2 seed, Boca Raton. Thank you to all of the Old Boys for your support this season.
Match Reports, Men
Orlando traveled well to Ft. Lauderdale this past Saturday. The Griffins came hard out of the gates. This wasn’t a dominating performance, but one in which Orlando was able to move the ball, play aggressive, and do enough things right to put the score at 19-0. Eugene Louw offloaded to Bart Longchamp for a score. Dan Gordon picked a pass and took it to the house for another. Jason Browning took a kick from deep in Orlando territory, virtually untouched, for a 70 meter score.
Then the second half rolled around….
Not sure if it was the long drive down, or the vast number of mental mistakes, or if a magical fairy sprinkled pixie dust to lull the visitor’s to sleep. Whatever the case, Orlando played flat in the second half. Ft. Lauderdale fought back with try after try to take the lead 21-19 and ultimately walked away with their fourth win of the year, 26-19. At one of the most critical points in the season, Orlando failed to show up for an entire half of rugby. Anyone at training this past week could have predicted the outcome. Poor numbers prevented Orlando from having the opportunity to focus on areas for improvement. Orlando will travel again to Naples on March 2nd for another big contest, and finish off the cross-overs at home against Boca Raton on March 9th.
The U-19s played as well but Ft. Lauderdale had their number as well. No word on the score yet.
Match Reports, Men, Youth
Orlando Youth kicked off their season on Saturday with an important home win against neighbors Daytona. The late afternoon kickoff left both sides with great weather for attacking rugby. Orlando recieved the opening kick off and marched right down the field with great forward runs breaking the opposition line and applying early pressure on a dug in Daytona defense. Second rower Maxime Remesey, flankers Adam Gunn and Josh Wilson set the tone early and Orlando was able to score in the 7th minute from a set piece with Gunn finishing off an 8 man pick off the scrum; conversion missed, Orlando 5-0.
Using more tactical kicking to get out of their half Mitchell Wilson kicked deep into touch to set up a line out for Daytona. Orlando jumped on a long line out throw and Maxime Remesy was able to take the mis-throw in and give ORFC their second try, conversion missed, Orlando 10-0.
Daytona wasted no time in getting to the kick off and poor readiness by Orlando saw Daytona recover the restart and shortly after score their first try of the match in the right corner, conversion missed, 10-5 Orlando. Now with there heads up Daytona applied good pressure against Orlando but found very few opportunities credit to great ‘A’ gap defense from Hector De Juan, Nick Plale and company. When Daytona chose to go wide there was little space out there as well with Mark King, Harry Allen and Parker McCormick meeting Daytona before the gain line. Nearing the end of the first half both teams continued aggressive play but it was Orlando that was able to score with Adam Gunn scoring his second try of the match 4 minutes before the halftime whistle, conversion missed, 15-5.
Play stalled somewhat in the second half with both teams struggling to maintain consistant possesion. Hector De Juan, Sam Voegle and captain Jack Ponder all made great runs but Orlando lack suffcient support to finish great runs into points. Anthony Morales was able to take a try in during the 45th minute, conversion made, 22-5. It would be Orlando’s last points of the day. Daytona played well after some Orlando mistakes and were able to score two more tries before the final whistle. Orlando walked out passing their first test as a 22-17 winner. “We did things well but we have more to work on.” said captain Jacob Ponder. “We are going to work hard to fix our mistakes and be prepared for the Trojans” added junior hooker Nick Plale.
The Junior Griffins will be in action next on February 16th as they travel to Ft. Lauderdale to play the Taravella Trojans. We would like to thank all supporters and members that came to support Saturday.
Tries: Gunn (2), Remesey, Morales
Conversions: M. Wilson 1-4
Man of the Match: Josh Wilson
Hit of the Match: Hector De Juan
Match Reports, Youth
On a beautiful day at Lorna Doone Park Orlando delivered a win, but not a pretty one. Daytona came to town with their expansive, quick style and opened the books with a converted try about five minutes into the game. Orlando recovered quickly and within five more minutes had a converted try of their own to even the score at 7 all. The forwards struggled a bit to get through the solid tackling from Daytona around the fringes, but the Orlando back line began to make some inroads and fantastic support on the breaks gave Orlando another try to go into halftime 14-7. The second half saw more of the same form both sides. Orlando struggled to maintain continuity and Daytona kicked often with their speedy wings applying pressure each time. Each team scored a try bringing the score to 19-14 with ten minutes to play. Daytona took over at this point, pushed deep into Orlando territory, and put a drop goal through from about 25 yards out; 17-19. Once again, Daytona collected the kickoff and marched right back down into Orlando territory. The defense tightened up at about the 22 and after several rucks Daytona set up for the winning drop goal. Kenny Britt led the charge and blocked the kick, gathered and raced 75 yards the other way to give Orlando a bonus point victory in a game that was much closer than the score belies. Next week Orlando travels to Jacksonville for another league match.
Match Reports, Men
In what turned out to be the most physical game of the season yet, Orlando lost to Krewe 25-21. We’ll get the match report up as soon as we can.
Match Reports, Men