Providence vs. Albany
Albany 7 - Providence 12
September 2nd, 2011
Labor Day weekend 2011 signaled the beginning of the rugby season for Division 1 women’s rugby clubs in Competitive Region 3. CR3 is a seven team conference that includes teams as far away from Albany as Atlanta and Washington, DC.
The club had a relatively short road trip to Providence to start their season out. Providence and Albany had faced each other many times in their 6 years in Division 2 together. The outcomes of those matches (particularly in recent years) had been close. The usual scenario being Providence would win the regular season match and Albany would flip the tables in the play-offs. 2010 saw the teams take separate paths as Providence moved to D1 and Albany stayed in D2. Both teams had successful campaigns with Providence reaching the first round of national D1 play-offs and Albany claiming the D2 national title.
Enough back-story… onto the match: Despite the early 10am kick-off the weather was already hot and humid, a factor that would put both team’s early season conditioning to the test. Providence started out with a quick tempo and solid rucking that put Albany under immediate defensive pressure. Albany withstood the early test and thwarted any advances Providence made into their 22. When it was Albany’s turn with the ball they had some solid phase play but early season jitters (and a solid Providence line) kept them from advancing far down the field.
It wasn’t until the first half was almost over that either team was able to score. At the 36th minute Providence was able to put their speedy fullback thru a gap and she finished the run with a try in the corner (no conversion). On the ensuing kick-off Providence displayed some good ball retention in the forwards that drew in the Albany defense. This enabled them to get the ball once again to their favorite recipient (the fullback), and she was through the line again… this time for a try near the posts that was converted. 12-0 Providence, after 40 minutes of play.
Half-time gave Albany some time to regroup and pick a few areas of their game to concentrate on and improve. The renewed focus helped as they re-took the field and the Providence scoring train that had gotten started at the end of the first was brought to a halt. At this point Albany was also able to put the Providence forwards to the test. With 10 minutes gone in the second, sustained Albany possession down by the Providence endzone and a heads up play by scrumhalf Kristin Bonomo (diving over the ruck) got Albany their first try of the game. A JoAnne Kos conversion brought the club just a try away from tying up the match.
Whether it was the two teams familiarity with each other, their similar style of play or the just the fact it was the first match of the season for both clubs, neither Providence or Albany was to come thru with another scoring opportunity. Both teams had surges that put the other one under pressure and Albany had one last hopeful drive into Providence territory with time winding down. The match ended with Providence up 12-7. Despite the loss, Albany still came away with a bonus point for keeping the game within seven as well as a solid base to build the rest of the season on.
Albany's competitive DII women's rugby club.