Thompson Park, Lincroft – Monmouth Men met the Danbury Mad Hatters in a rematch of the Met Union DII game from the fall that Monmouth won by 19-15. Looking at the teams lining up fro kick off it was clear that the Danbury pack was considerably smaller than their opponents. Thus Monmouth had a huge upper hand in the scrum early until the referee checked them for pushing early, this was almost impossible to avoid given the lack of resistance from the Mad Hatters eight.
Territorially the home side were well on top but could not put away a score. With a more mobile pack and some adventure Danbury shot into a 15-0 lead with their small pack tackling very well and out rucking the bigger Monmouth pack. They existed on the fringe of offside and it was no surprise when the Hatters hooker went to the bin. With Monmouth applying more and more pressure John Russoniello eventually crashed over for a try that was converted by Joe Lucarelli.
That left the score 15-7 at half for the visitors but right after the break Monmouth open up and banged in two quick tries. Joe Lucarelli barged through the Danbury centers for the fist one and Kevin Kustelski scored the second with an excellent move locking his opposite number in place while he danced by and down the line. The next score came from a ruck within 5 meters of the goalline with Jason Peterson picking and driving to the line and when held just short Michael Delia came in to drive him over with both players hands on the ball for the try which Joe converted.
Chris Kaldrovics scored the next from the unaccustomed position of flanker and was on hand for an assist for the last Monmouth try with a pass to Kustelski. This left Monmouth ahead by 16 with 7 minutes to play. To Danbury’s credit they did not give in and score two late converted tries finding space within the tired Monmouth defense to score.
Mark Hardy, Michael Delia, Jason Peterson, John Russionello, James Barlow, Pat Mallon, Joseph Corbo, Rob Shope, Rob Morello, Colin O’Neil, Kevin Kuestelski, Joe Lucarelli, Brendan McSherry, Dave Chepuskas, Nick Lynch, Replacements James Linehan, Nic Ross, Ryan Elsbree, Carlos Oliveria, Sean Dunne Reynolds, Chris Kaldrovics, Ken Pape, Austin Noonan
First XV Man of the Match was Rob Morello.
The second XV had a sprited match against the Danbury first side over 40 minutes and despite their best efforts lost 30-0.