“Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul. ”
William Ernest Henley
We're down to two teams in the Rugby Maryland league after Bethesda and the Maryland Exiles won semifinal games over the weekend.
The Roosters took care of West Carroll 31-14, while the Exiles, which had lost to North Bay just a few weeks ago to get bumped down to 3rd, rebounded with a convincing 45-14 victory over North Bay this time around.
Bethesda will take on the Exiles on the campus of UMBC on May 7 at 2pm.
For Maryland, this will be an interesting clash as the Exiles saw many players from last year shift to the Roosters. The player moves put the Exiles in danger of not being able to field a team. But a strong recruiting effort from the Maryland players got them on the field, and then some heavy-duty coaching got them learning the game.
"When we started 10 weeks ago, nearly all of our guys were seeing a rugby ball for the very first time and they were all so very young," said Exiles Coach Dan Soso. "So this year was almost like a startup club. But they've really worked hard in practice, and they're playing pretty well now as a result."
The results against North Bay show how the Exiles have improved. Adam Tounkara has been excellent. Lock forward Owen Caverly is expected to be playing football at Baylor next year, and he's been a force in the pack. Cory Levy has stepped up into the role of team captain after a shoulder injury to Max Cohen. Both of them are seniors and will be attending Mount Saint Mary's University together next year.
Those four players, said Soso, "exemplify the traits that we value in our club -- character, discipline, commitment, character, respect, and a value of lifelong learning."
For Bethesda, the combination of experienced players, new talent, and a wide-open approach has been working.
The Roosters had a very balanced attack, with five different players scoring - Ryan Hunt, Elijah Bruce, Nicholas Bernhardt-Lanier, Aymeric Busidan, and Alex Mateos y Lago. Pierre Marcandella was 3-4 on conversions and also was a catalyst in getting their attack on track.
Updated 18:36 - 16 May 2017 by Dan Soso