Phoenix Academy and Freshmen Teams Secure Marquee Wins at Charlotte Catholic


Updated Monday February 2, 2015 by Alpharetta Phoenix Rugby Club.

The Phoenix Academy and Freshmen teams travelled to Charlotte on Saturday to participate in the 2014 Charlotte Catholic Invitational Tournament.

The Academy team played Charlotte Catholic in an eagerly anticipated match-up of two quality teams. Although travelling without a number of first choice players, and no substitutes, the Phoenix boys opened the game with great gusto and strong discipline. Following a penalty award in the middle of the park, Lechandt Opperman coolly slotted between the posts and it was 3 to 0 in favor of Phoenix. The Catholic team was  almost constantly on the defensive and mid-way through the half the pressure told with center Chris Bagby dotting down for an excellently worked Phoenix try. Opperman added the extra points to make the score 10 to 0 with half time approaching. Catholic were not lying down easily and, almost on the stroke of half time, unleashed their backs in a fine display of ball handling to score and make the half time tally, Phoenix 10; Catholic 7.

The second half continued in similar fashion to the first. Phoenix prop, Cristian Calvallo, stormed over from a forward set move following a penalty to make the score Phoenix 15; Catholic 7 and that proved to be the final score in the game. Phoenix wing, Tam Doan, was forced to leave the game with a head injury and was replaced by Colts captain, Mitchell Blair, who performed admirably. All in all this was a quality win for Phoenix who played well as a team and provided an insight into their potential. Cristian Calvallo was recognized by Charlotte Catholic as the player of the game and was presented with a signed rugby ball immediately following.

The second game was against a strong North Mecklenburg team who went ahead with flowing try from their backs after 5 minutes of the game. However, Phoenix were in top form at this point of the afternoon and eventually won comfortably by 35 points to 5.

Due to a lack of numbers as a result of the first Freshmen game being played at the same time as the Varsity game, the Phoenix Freshman team went down to Charlotte Tigers by 5 tries to two. Considering the team was almost entirely made up of Colts players and played the second half with only 13 players, this was a spirited result. However, in the evening encounter with Charlotte Catholic, Connor Fenton’s team was at full strength and soundly defeated the solid opposition 27 to 0 in a terrific game of rugby. The Phoenix forwards were outstanding and provided the backs with quality ball throughout. Of particular note was the performance of Bennett Erickson who was playing his third game of the afternoon. Mitchell Blair and Ben Fagg were also outstanding in this encounter.

In summary, this was a splendid day for the Phoenix club with solid wins at both the Varsity and Freshman level.

Niall Fenton