Varsity Score Good Win Over Greenville
January 21, 2017Updated Sunday January 22, 2017 by Niall Fenton.
Phoenix hosted Greenville at Alpharetta in perfect conditions following torrential rains earlier in the day. This friendly marked a resumption of what was a regular series some years ago.
Phoenix opted to rest some regular starters in preparation for the upcoming MSIRL game against Charlotte Tigers next weekend at North Park. Tim Voin made his first start at out-half while Mateo Podesta and Greg Pelland debuted in the center and Tony Manuel on the wing. The returning Bennett Erickson captained the side from his usual flanker position. After an opening 15 minutes where both teams threatened but were stymied by the other team defense, Phoenix were first on the board when 8 man, Marek Lipold, took the ball from a long line out throw and weaved through the Greenville defense to score. The conversion was missed and it sparked the best period of the game for Greenville. Their impressive scrum half, Connelly Mitchell, crossed the Phoenix line with a determined carry, aided by poor Phoenix tackling, only to have the score disallowed after crossing the dead ball line. Not to be denied, Connelly, who impressed throughout, followed up with a duplicate run 5 minutes later and this time downed the ball in the goal area. The difficult conversion was missed to leave the half time score tied at 5 points apiece. This was a very fair reflection of the game thus far with both sides creating chances but unable to execute.
In the second half, Phoenix brought on Mitchell Blair to play out-half due to a groin injury incurred by center Greg Pelland. This appeared to make a huge difference to the offense with Mitch regularly turning Greenville around with well-placed kicks from hand. Mid-way through the half center Tim Voin intercepted a pass in the Greenville back line and scored under the posts after a 35-meter sprint. Logann Cridick converted the opportunistic score and Phoenix began to play with much more purpose. Kyle Monahan and the returning Corbin Shanklin had some strong carries while Bennett Erickson was a tiger when jackling for the ball after tackles. A long kick downfield from the Greenville out-half was not fielded cleanly by the Phoenix backs and suddenly the home team was on the back foot. Following a scrum, Greenville were then denied on the Phoenix line with some stout defending and a good clearing kick from Mitch Blair. Phoenix then marched to the Greenville 22 in a drive that featured some solid work from flanker Griffin Tucker. From a scrum on the Greenville 22, Marek Lipold picked up at the base and sprinted over for his second try of the day. Cridick made the difficult conversion to leave the final score at Phoenix 19, Greenville 5. Returning Phoenix flanker Bennett Erickson was named Man of the Match with an impressive 7 steals on the day narrowly pipping his fellow back row partners Griffin Tucker and Marek Lipold. Next up for Phoenix is the anticipated home MSIRL game against Charlotte Tigers on Saturday.
This was a good performance from Phoenix, particularly in the second half. The principal area that needs work is body position following the tackle. Too many times a strong run was spoiled by the player going to ground out of control. No doubt, the coaches will work on this area prior to the Charlotte Tigers MSIRL game. In closing, it would be remiss not to make mention of the terrific refereeing job on the part of our own John Green ----- thank you John and well done!
For more pictures from the match check out Phoenix's photo album http://phoenixrugby.siplay.com/site/ClientSite/photo_albums_photos/38620