Springfield vs. Westfield State and Boston Maccabis Round Robin Recap
For those who could not make it out yesterday, the men's team fielded two full sides (with subs) to play Westfield State (collegiate Division 4 champions) and the Boston Maccabi's (a new Division 4 men's team).
Springfied Vs Westfield State
Springfield won its first game of the season by a final score of 29-0 against Westfield State in interim coach Rikki Blair's debut. The Rifles were careless with the ball and a rash of penalties, turnovers and sloppy passes stalled the Rifles' attack. Westfield played stout defense in the first half and gave the Rifles all they could handle. The game remained scoreless until Brian Costello touched down a try in the final minute.
In the second half, the Rifles shook the rust off and most of the half was played at a blistering pace. The physicality of the forwards began to take its toll on the leaner Westfield pack. Nick Nesserella, Matt Duvall, Eddie Ribui and Scott Harlow always seemed to leave multiple tacklers in their wake as they powered the ball down the field. Congrats to flanker Nick Nesserella for taking home man of the match honors.
Costello, playing his first game at flyhalf, settled in during the second half and began distributing the ball wide to his centres and wingers. Early in the second half Terry Hanechak, who always seems to be calling for the ball at the right time, took an offload from the outside centre and evaded a few tacklers before touching down a try. It would be all Rifles from there.
Fullback Brad Scudder and speedy winger Atoah Ripley combined for a slew of deep bursts into opposition territory which produced 2 tries for Ripley. Outside centre Nick Lata also scored a try. Inside centre Mike Tupai delivered a series of savage tackles which would leave any opposition player reluctant to take a ball off the flyhalf's hip.
Springfield Vs Maccabis
In the second game, the Rifles fielded a team that spanned the ages, ranging from rookies John Leydon and Anthony Stork to Vic Thomas and Bug Ireland who began playing for the Rifles before the former two players were born.
Rookies and weathered veterans alike pooled their efforts to play an inspiring brand of defense that would ensure that no Rifles' opponent would find the try zone on this day. Vic Thomas (playing inside centre) and flanker Davian Madho dished out hit after hit to stall the opposition attack. Fearless tackling and aggressive running from wingers Anthony Stork and John Leydon earned Leydon a boot full of beer for touching down his first career try. Nevertheless, the Rifles would miss the conversion and Boston's two penalty kicks would be enough to carry the day by a final score of 6-5. Congrats to Boston on winning their first game in NERFU.
Joe Martin, a veteran prop and lock making his Rifles' debut, was strong in set plays and seemed to have his head in rucks and mauls all afternoon. Congrats to him for taking home man of the match honors in his first game with the Rifles.
Maccabis Vs Westfield State
In the final game of the day, Westfield State played Boston. Lead by their veteran forwards, Captain Brandon Arber, Number 8 Jordan Goodnaugh and hooker Alex Goldstein, Boston again made a strong defensive showing, but Westfield's mobile pack and coordinated back line attack proved to be more than Boston could handle as Westfield went on to earn a solid victory. Good luck to Westfield State this season as they move up to Division 3.
The Rifles play next in a cross town road game either Friday night or Saturday morning against Springfield College. We encourage past players and friends and family to come out and enjoy the game.