Today was a beautiful fall afternoon on “the farm” in Dickerson Maryland, where the NOVA Old Grays faced off against traditional foes Wild Geese RFC and Baltimore RFC for “old boys” rugby bragging rights.
The Grays were sparked by scrumhalf Sherwin “Squirrel” Birsak, who bolted through the opposing line with several daring scampers, perhaps to impress the numerous young females who accompanied him to the pitch. (Squirrel’s cover story is that he’s the women’s rugby coach at GMU).
Notwithstanding Squirrel’s heroics, it was a powerful scoring run by Zack Josselyn off a successful line-out which started the NOVA scoring. The Grays added to that with a second effort by “Tom from Vienna” who spun into the try zone through several would-be tacklers. In the second half, the Grays added three more tries against their stunned opponents, finishing the score at 35-5.
In the second game, the Grays went head-to-head with a determined Baltimore squad, which beefed up their lineup with several hard-running backs. The teams traded tries in the first half, with “the Phantom” dashing away to put the Grays up first.
In the second half, the Grays attacked successfully on the edge with their three-quarter backs: ”Charles the Bald” Kaiman, Casey Craig and Prince Hill. That eventually opened up into loose play which was successfully converted by Josselyn and “Dutch” (he’s from Amsterdam!) who touched down tries before the final whistle.
Throughout it all, the scrum led by Big Ernest, “Billy from Philly,” Mark Rasmussen, Phantom, Patrick Cunningham, and “the hooker from Woodbridge” continued to control play and provide clean ball to Squirrel and the backs. The final score was 26-10.
The games could not be properly recapped without mentioning NOVA inside center Fred Gregory, who played in both matches and then insisted on running the 40 miles back home to northern Virginia. (Also a shout-out to Patrick LeFloch of Fairfax City who refereed the games. Patrick chairs the City Democratic Committee, which means he’s pretty busy these days).
Finally, the author of this column played fly half today for the Old Grays and tossed several “bounce passes” to his fellow backs. Thanks to his teammates scoring under the posts all afternoon, he was able to convert 8 of 9 kicks.