Albany 25 New Haven 24
The Albany Knicks came back from 17-3 at halftime and 24-13 with 5 minutes to go to defeat the New Haven Old Black 25-24. Down by 11 points at the 75 minute mark, Albany’s comeback began with the New Haven fullback being yellow carded for a submarine tackle on Tom Breslin who was in the air in the attempt to catch a kick just inside the Knicks half. After a kick to touch, Albany was able to secure the subsequent lineout and Murphy Lill broke through the New Haven line on a set play to score a try and bring the Knicks to 24-18. The Knicks secured the ensuing kick-off and were immediately back on the attack. After several phases of play, Steve Arango was loose on the left wing and would have crossed the line if not for a high tackle. Albany was awarded a penalty try and Breslin converted to go in front 25-24. The concomitant yellow card left Old Black with 13 players. Still, with more than 2 minutes left on the clock, New Haven, as expected from a top team in the standings, wasn’t done. New Haven pressured until the Knicks committed a penalty giving Old Black a chance to escape. The kick went wide and it was the Knicks who escaped with the win.
New Haven opened the scoring at the 12 minute mark. After taking an Albany scrum, the Old Black No. 8 picked and ran 15 meters through the Knicks defense to put his team up 5-0. At 20 minutes, Breslin converted a penalty to make the score 5-3. The New Haven scrum began to assert itself with regularity putting constant pressure on the Knicks. This finally paid off for the visitors as they scored 2 tries (one converted) in the final 5 minutes of the half to go into the break 17-3. New Haven could have put up more points, but handling errors ended several threats.
Things looked bleak for the Knicks as they were down and now faced a very brisk wind. Albany instead came out in the second half and met the challenge. Scrums improved and lineouts produced allowing the Knicks to maintain possession from the set. This allowed the Knicks to finally go on the attack. The backline, led by Dave O’Neill and Scott Bergen, was able to make use of the possession provided by the forwards and put Albany into the New Haven end. Justin Snide powered into goal from a penalty 5 meters out and the Knicks drew to 17-8. Shortly after that Breslin powered over the right wing making the score 17-13. Both teams stepped up the intensity, but neither was able make headway until New Haven put the ball to its right wing who found space with a nifty kick that he was able to gather and run in for the try. With the conversion, New Haven took a 24-13 lead – setting up the dramatic finish.
The Knicks improve to 3-1 picking up max standings points (5) and New Haven falls to 3-1, but picks up 2 points.
While the second half comeback had the Knicks leaving with the win, there are several areas in which we have to improve to reach our potential. Numerous missed tackles and ineffective scrumming in the first half had us constantly on the back foot. This created a high penalty count and the deep hole we found ourselves in. The positive takeaways are improvements made in these areas in the second half and the clean ball taken from each of the restarts. (That’s 2 Jo !!)
Man of the Match was Dave O’Neill.
1 Hensel (Roy @50)
2 Rufer (Grimm @50)
7 Fleischmann (Guilfoy @50)
9 Cirone (Arango @70)
11 Breslin (Capt.)
In the B Match Albany dropped its first game of the season 29-21 to New Haven. Brandon Murphy opened the scoring with a powerful run for a try. Hugh Kelly converted. New Haven was able to use the wind and pinned the Knicks deep in their territory which resulted in 3 tries (all converted) and Penalty Kick in the first half. New Haven was able to score first in the second half to go up 29-7. The Knicks responded by putting pressure on the visitors. Evan Mullen scored 2 tries which Kelly converted and the Knicks were able to pull to 29-21 before time ran out.
Albany 38 - 13 Saratoga
The Knicks returned home this week to take on local rivals Saratoga Stampede. Play was intense from the kick-off as would be expected in the local derby. Saratoga drew first blood as consistent pressure eventually drew an overload situation that resulted with the Stampede touching down in the right corner less than 4 minutes into the contest. Saratoga maintained its pressure and several minutes later caused a penalty that was converted for a 8-0 advantage for the visitors. After the restart, Sean Mertz blocked an attempted clearing kick that Murphy Lill scooped up and ran in from 20 meters. Tom Breslin converted and the Knicks closed to 8-7. Saratoga continued its pressure which resulted in a slicing run through the Knicks defense and an answering try to put the score at 13-7. That would be all for Saratoga. The Knicks began to take control of the possession and territory which ended with a Justin Snide power run for a try. Breslin converted and the Knicks had the lead. Tom Breslin was next to cross the line. He converted and the Knicks went into halftime with a 21-13 lead.
The second half was all Albany; in possession, territory and on the scoreboard. Scott Bergen and Joe Judge sandwiched tries around Murphy Lill’s highlight 70 meter darting run for a try (Breslin converted). Murph’s run came off a set play from a lineout which left several Saratoga players waving at air as he cut through the defense. The final score was 38-13.
After a slow start, the Knicks came to control play and thus the game. Albany used its advantage in possession and territory to keep Saratoga under wraps for the final 60 minutes of play. A big positive was restarts. Albany took clean ball from each kick-off and, therefore, was able to re-apply pressure immediately. Snide and Cosgrove were of note in this regard. Scrums were more stable and consistent which settled play in times of need. Lineouts were generally clean which allowed possession to be maintained. Areas for improvement include missed tackles, handling errors and being slow to the tackle which caused penalties and a negative turnover rate.
Murphy Lill was named Man of the Match.
10 O’Neill (Kelly @ 79)
9 Cirone (Arango @70)
1 Hensel (Roy @ 70)
2 Rufer (Grimm @ 50)
3 Cosgrove (Milizia @ 65)
4 Boehme (Matt G. @ 68)
6 Reigert (Fleischmann @ 48)
23 Matt G.
In the B Match, Albany continued its winning ways with a 29-10 win. Tries were scored by the ageless Marty White, Hugh Kelly, Evan Mullen, Nate Meehan and Matt Guilfoy; Charles Colley converting 2. Albany had the run of play controlling the game from the onset to improve to 3-0 on the season.
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