Phoenix Beat Chapin 40 - 7


Updated Sunday December 9, 2018 by Niall Fenton.

On a beautiful December Saturday the Phoenix Varsity team travelled to South Carolina for the first leg of our traditional home and away series with Chapin Eagles. Phoenix, although short a number of squad players, fielded a strong side led by team captain Nick Koumandarakis and coached by John Green and Paul Bagby.

Phoenix were first on the scoreboard through a snappy try from scrum half and Captain Nick Koumandarakis who quickly repeated the feat with another individual effort. Fullback Greg Pelland converted both and clearly had his kicking boots back on for this game. Although structure and teamwork elements were not strong in this early season game, Phoenix demonstratively had the better athletes at key positions and this would prove to be the key difference between the teams on the day. A clear example of this soon occurred with Chris Bagby scoring after a kick ahead from Omari Rincon. Again, Greg Pelland converted to keep the scoreboard moving. A very harsh yellow card was then incurred shortly after the kickoff by Cristian Calvallo --- after having been tackled whilst in the air, he over zealously cleared out a Chapin forward at the ensuing ruck who then retaliated. Surprisingly, the referee yellow carded Cristian so it was down to fourteen men for the boys from Alpharetta for ten minutes. The Chapin team, seizing their one man advantage opportunity, lost no time in clawing back seven points with a very well taken and converted score.

It was that man Koumandarakis again shortly afterwards who really put the game beyond Chapin’s reach with a weaving run from deep to score under the posts. The drop kick conversion was narrowly missed by Mitch Blair who was having a terrific game at the flyhalf position. Nick Zimmer, surely the discovery of the season to date in his new role of flanker, then found the try line following a stolen line out and Koumandarakis, having a try-fest of a day, dotted down from close following a well taken quick tap penalty. It was left to Cristian Calvallo to round out the Phoenix scoring with a typical run involving hand-offs and bounce-offs to leave the final score at Phoenix 40 : Chapin 7.

Although a 40 to 7 away win over Chapin Eagles is a terrific result, the Phoenix performance was far too reliant on individual efforts rather than a team effort. There were not enough consecutive phases and it is significant that neither winger managed to score. Nick Koumandarakis had a terrific individual game but it does not bode well for the team when the scrum half scores four tries, the forwards score two and the remaining one is scored by a center ----- we need to reverse this process! However, there was a great deal to be positive about and the return fixture at North Park may prove to be a lot closer on the score line. Certainly, Chapin looked a great deal better than the final score indicated. This 2016 Phoenix squad clearly has a great deal of raw talent and when they become familiar with working as a team they will be capable of beating anyone.