USA Rugby Women’s D1 Challenge Matches – UPDATED

USA Rugby Women’s D1 Challenge Matches – UPDATED

Emerald City Mudhens vs Belmont Shore – April 19, 2008
Jill from the Mudhens let me know a brief update of the Challenge Match against Belmont Shore:

The Emerald City Mudhens beat Belmont Shore in double overtime, sudden death 15-10. It was cold and periodically hailing and raining with brief sun breaks. It was a very hard fought match for both sides. Incredibly intense match with a big fan turnout. Scrumhalf, Kammi Lopez, scored the winning try running off the weak side of a maul to win the match. Very exciting game!!

Thanks for the update Jill!

And another update from Liz:

USA Women’s Challenge Match

EMERALD CITY MUDHENS 15 – Belmont Shore 10 Referee: Preston Gordon

A 0445 wake-up call had me out of the house and on the way to SFO to catch my early morning flight to Seattle, where I was met by one of the ladies from the local team and driven to the pitch in Redmond, WA. The field was in very good shape, but a little short. Other than the rogue gopher(s) at work, everything looked good.

However, getting to the game 2 hours early meant that I got to inspect the pitch and then get changed while being first rained, then hailed, and finally snowed on (no shelter at Marymoor Park). The sun then filtered through the clouds for a bit before the entire process was repeated (all of this at between 35-45F). However, I had paid close attention to the forecast and was prepared for the weather and cold.

We started on time at high noon, and before too long each side had notched one unconverted try. Sideline support was plentiful and boisterous, and we even captured the attention of many of the people there to watch a lacrosse game on the adjacent field. Both sides were playing a very even and well-contested game, although I had to have a few words with the captains twice to prevent some repeated silly play (offside at the breakdown, players leaving their feet, etc). Some of this stuff was probably due to the wet pitch.

The second half began just as another leading edge of a thundercloud was passing through. There was no lightning, but the temperature dropped about 20 degrees in a minute, it nearly got dark, and 2mm hail was being blown sideways down the long axis of the pitch at about 30mph. Of course, that’s when one of the players needed a minute for an injury, so we all stood around freezing in the miserable weather for a little bit while she was attended to.

Once that was out of the way, two more tries were scored. The Mudhens got on the board first in the second half at 44′, followed in the 50th minute by Belmont Shore. Neither kick was good, but one did bounce off the uprights (although that may have been the penalty attempt later; I can’t recall exactly).

A frenzied contest ensued as each side tried to put the game away, but came up short. There were more than the usual number of knock-ons – again, this was probably because of the wet weather. One ball was held up in in-goal, we spent about 20 minutes camped inside the 22’s, but the closest attempt was saved for the penultimate play of regular time, when one of the Belmont Shore backs broke through a couple of tackles and went 30 meters, getting within about a foot of scoring a try before she was finally pulled down by an opponent. The Mudhens recovered, kicked to touch, and that was it at 10-10.

Challenge matches can’t end in a draw, so it was a good thing I had asked the match organizer what to do in this case. We played 2 more 10-minute halves (just like the second half, but with no scoring), and then it was time for sudden death. Again there was an even contest, until at 105′ the Mudhens were awarded an attacking scrum 5 or 10 meters from their opponents’ goal line. One of their players picked up from the base, dodged a tackle, and grounded the ball on the goal line with a couple of opponents hanging on, right at my feet.

A wild celebration ensued after the try was awarded to end the game with the score at 15-10 to the local side. The USA Rugby paperwork was signed, warm/dry clothes were put back on, and after a while we retired to the Kangaroo & Kiwi for the post-match function. In addition to the women’s teams, both OPSB and OMBAC showed up after their Super League tie. I was reminded again how small of a world rugby really is when I ran into 2 former teammates from Arizona, one now playing for each of those sides. After absorbing some good refereeing philosophy from Tom Coburn, it was time to head back to the airport for the flight home (which was slightly delayed due to bad weather, of course).

Many thanks to Jon Leehr and Mark Roberts, the PNRFU referees who came out to touch judge on this day of strange weather, and also to Shannon Nielsen, the match commissioner, who (happily) nearly stepped in and ran touch herself. I certainly enjoyed the opportunity to fly up to Seattle and back the same day to be a part of this outstandingly well-contested match.

Glendale vs Boston – May 3, 2008
Glendale Women’s Raptors vs. Boston WRFC 12:00pm @Infinity Park, will be broadcast from their website here.

0 thoughts on “USA Rugby Women’s D1 Challenge Matches – UPDATED”

  1. I saw it with my own eyes and it was amaaaazing. Boston was so prepared, not even affected by the altitude, and ignored razzing by rude Glendale fans by showing them the better team on the pitch.

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