Despite a massive Hurricane (Hurricane Irene) hitting the East coast of the USA and Philadelphia getting a big brunt of it, it was not enough to cancel two of the penultimate events on the Rugby League Calendar in the United States. The Colonial Cup Between the USA Tomahawks and Canada Wolverines was brought forward a couple hours and the USARL Grand Final was brought forward by an hour. It shows that not even a hurricane can keep a good game of Rugby League down.
Philadelphia Fight 28 (18) – (0) 26 New Haven Warriors
The Philadelphia Fight have won their first ever Rugby League Premiership. Philadelphia the fight may have had a home ground advantage but no one told the New Haven Warriors that fact.
Though it’s a game that could have never happened as Hurricane Irene has been bearing down on the East Coast of the USA, things were looking touch and go for the city. It was decided to move the game forward by an hour from 3 pm to 2pm to miss the worst of the storm.
Though still wet and raining, a good crown turned out to see the game. The Fight were the first to come out of the blocks and raced away to a 18-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes with one of the tries of the season coming from an individual effort from Joel Weeks. This stirred New Haven into some outstanding defence and held off conceding any more points. The fight went into the half 18-0 up and with their tails up.
Crowd of 160 or so were treated to the Vixens doing their dancing and as I heard one person say “I can’t believe they are flipping around in the wet!” The crowd was very vocal and seemed to be quite partial to the home team.
The Second half saw a rejuvenated New Haven side. In an amazing 20 minutes of Rugby League they were able to pull the score back to within 6 scoring converted 2 tries. In the last 20 minutes the two teams went tit-for-tat on tries with scores being level at 22-22 at one point. The match have a lot of energy to it with the two teams having a good old fashion scrap from the scrum with the Referee having to step in and calm things down. It then came down to the last 10 minutes both teams pushing hard for the line. New Haven went in to go into the lead 26-22 and then about 2 minutes from the end the Fight went over to seal an absolute thriller 28-26.
The fans were celebrating, running onto the field to celebrate with their team. New Haven despite the disappointment go home with their heads held high knowing that they had just played in the game of the year! Talking to Ryan McGough and Anthony Meyers who are co-owners of the fight were ecstatic with the win “It’s great for the league, It’s a wonderful turnout, I can’t believe 200 people came out in a hurricane!” Anthony goes on to say “New Haven are a quality side, they have been in two championships, they wanted it in the second half and brought it back”. As for next season, they will start working on that tomorrow they say.
Philadelphia Fight 28 – Tries: Quirk, Tampano, Weeks, Evangelista, Goals: Timpano (2), Weeks (4)
Sean Staunton, Jared Feymoyer, Patrick Quirk, Mike Kelley, Mike Timpano, Rich Henson, Joel Weeks, James Coleman, David, Wilmore, Matt Webster (c), Larry Madden, Andrew Tully, Kevin Wiggins, Joe Bascelli, Joel Beasley, Subs: John Evangelista, Joe Henson, Daniel Gabrielli, Martwain Johnston
New Haven Warriors 26 – Tries: Muliumu, Buck, Kelly, Moroney, Kosbob, Goals: Schact (3)
Keith Nelson, Joe Roucken, James Mcowan, Ed Reed, Brian Lee, Damien Omalveney (c), Siose Muliumu, Blair Wards, Taurean Sheehan, Matt Callan, Karl Buck, Ben Kelly, Andrew Moroney, Wesley Haughton, Amosa Lio, Subs: Justin Xenelis, Chris Yeargen, Jeremy Kosbob, Brian Schact
The Other match played in Philadelphia saw the Tomahawks and Canada in the Colonial Cuip. This was their next warm up for the World Cup Qualifiers. They took on the Canadian Wolverines with both teams braving Hurricane Irene. The match was brought forward by two hours to try and miss the worst of the storm.
The match was very scrappy in the wet, both teams creating many opportunities but failing to put any 4 pointers on in the 1st half. Every time there was an opportunity it seemed like a knock on would happen. About 10 minutes from the half it was locked in at 2-2 however it was looking like Canada had the better last 5 minutes and would score. A forward pass put an end to those thoughts and both teams went into the break thinking what needs to be done.
In the second stanza it was the Americans that came out firing with three tries in the opening 20 minutes. They raced away to a 18-2 lead and then knuckled down to deny the Canadians any points. In the end in a wet game it was the Tomahawks coming away with the win and have their tails up when they travel to Toronto in a few weeks for the return leg.
USA Tomahawks 18 (2): Fitz-James Adams, Leslie Alovili, Gareth Baxendale, Bryan Confer, John Convery, CJ Cortalano , John Dykeman, Ian Elliott, Michael Garvey, Andrew Kneisly, Xavier Lozinguez, Kelly McGill, Apple Pope [Capt], Thomas Ray, Joshua Rice, Justin Ripley, Charlie Rizzo, Touanga Talakai, Sean Taylor, Salesi Tongamoa, Louis Tulio , Alejandro Valentin
Canada Wolverines 2 (2): Robin Legault, Tony Felix, Geoff Bylund, Christian Miller, Matt Pettie, Jamie Lester, Matt Wyles, Steve Conlon, Chris Diamond, Louis Robinson, Cam Grace, Henry Miers, Tyler Allen, Graham Dobbs, Dale Fitzgerald, Mike Reid, Steve Lamb, John Felix.