Manassas, VA was sunny and cool for a full day of rugby this past Sunday. The games started at 10:30 am with the visiting Twin Cities Amazons kicking off the DC Furies. It didn’t take long for the Amazons to set the tone of the match, driving over the Washington tryline five minutes into the game. The Amazons came back hard again after the restart, forcing the Furies to play a vigorous defense inside their defending 22. The Zons put up 7 more points on the board before the Furies began to gain momentum and take charge offensively. A series of off-sides penalties for the Amazons kept the play in the Furies’ favor despite a volley for possession between the 22’s. Offensively, DC worked together to maintain possession and chip away at the Amazon’s defense. Inside center Jeanna Beard punched through the defense, bringing the Furies up the field and a boot by flyhalf and captain Katie Bell was recovered by the winger. Despite the offensive momentum for the home team, the Zons got their hands on the ball and were able to run it down the field for another try before the half. Another good field goal from the Twin Cities had them leading at the half, 26-0.
The second half continued where the first had left off: the Furies applied pressure on defense and won the ball offensively, but the Amazons were able to find the gaps with the ball in their hands and bring their score up. Right off the half, the DC defense was able to force mistakes from the Amazons, soliciting calls for forward passes and off-sides. Then, the Zons won a lineout and shot down the field for their first try of the second half. As the half progressed the Amazons were able to shake the defense and rack up another 29 points to win the match 65-0.
Despite the loss, Furies Head Coach Nancy Fitz is optimistic that the team will continue to show improvement in the second round of WPL matches.
“We implemented the things we worked on in practice, which was great to see,” says Fitz. “But we made too many mistakes and when that happens against a very good team like the Amazons, they make you pay for it. So while the score wasn’t great, there are a lot of good things we can take from this game and build on for the second half of the regular season.”
Furies Blue took the pitch next, against Georgetown. It didn’t take long for the team to find a rhythm, working together and put up 10 points in the first 35-minute half. Throughout the course of the match the Furies dominated, barely letting Georgetown have possession of the ball. Things finally clicked for this combination of seasoned and rookie players. DC scored a total of 41 points against Georgetown with tries touched down by both forwards and backs, a result of great support and setting each other up to find the gaps. New-to-rugby rookie Jen Putnam assisted rookie Tomar Brown in a score, while British rookie Mel Wright had two break-away tries from her position at outside center. After several tough losses for the Furies, the victory over Georgetown was earned and enjoyed!
The excitement continued into the day as longtime rival Nova B stepped up next against Furies Gold. Nova received the kickoff and came at the Furies with gusto. But Washington forced mistakes and took advantage of penalties and turnovers. The first points on the board were for the Furies, with a sideline try five minutes into the game! The Furies suffered several penalty calls as well, conceding possession over knock-ons and off-sides. A strong back triangle, anchored by rookie Stephanie Cox at fullback, kept Nova’s attempted advances at bay, executing fierce counterattacks off of kicks. It was a much forward’s game- scrums and lineouts constituted a lot the play, resetting the infractions and kicks to the sideline. Continuing the success of the Georgetown game, the Furies offensively linked up to score try after try. In the backs, inside center and captain Eli Webster had two great runs through the opposition to score. On the wing, Brigid Beech moved the ball down the field with several long breakaways that resulted in more point for the home team. In the second half, Jeanna Beard stepped in at inside center and tore apart the tiring Nova defense. As the clock wore down Beard surged through the defense in rapid succession and connected with outside center and new-to-rugby rookie Dana Marchitelli to collectively score twice more for the Furies. The final whistle came after another conversion kick by Beech- Furies won 65-0!
Furies Pride showed strongly following the two big B-side wins. It was a long day in Manassas, but the team stayed in the game for every minute of it and executed well the skills they had developed in practice.
“I was incredibly impressed with the intensity, execution and level of play of the B-side in both matches,” says Fitz. “People in the last game looked fresh, focused and played really well. That in itself is a huge accomplishment after a long day at the field in pretty warm weather. Players did an excellent job of eating, drinking water and being mentally prepared to go 100% when then stepped on the field.”
Next week the Furies play at home, facing off against Beantown for the second time this season. Stay tuned for details about the matches and come out to see the WWRFC in action!!