It was a cloudy day on a narrow pitch in Bridgewater. It was a day of messy rucks, lots of scrums, and plenty of hitting. PAC scored first.
Once MRFC got within scoring range, a skip ball went wide to #14 Matt “Drago” Zadroga with a 1v1. Drago baited the defender and cut to stride into goal.
After Monmouth drove back down that way, PAC ended up with a scrum from their own 5 meter. The Monmouth pack, foaming from their mouths, pushed the attacking scrum back into their scrum half as he was scooping the ball up. With perfect timing, flanker Harrison Raby unbound, and charged the off balance #9. As the PAC scrumhalf’s soul left his body, he left behind the ball sitting a meter away from the goal. Monmouth #9 “Backpack” Billy Martin picked it up and put it right back down over the line. Exemplary play from numbers 1 through 9 made that try possible.Nick Wallace scored the next try in typical Nick Wallace fashion. The athletic #10 made a confident cut in the middle of the field to split two defenders, stiff-armed a defender to the ground, and out-accelerated those in pursuit.
With only a couple minutes left in the half, PAC got a lucky break on a turnover and quickly had the ball within meters of the goal. They capitalized to end the half 15-12 MRFC.Rousing halftime speeches from Coach Wagner, Captain Greenwood, and Vice-Captain Walsh sent the men into the second half with a new enthusiasm for aggression. Monmouth quickly turned the match into a slugfest with memorable big hits coming from damn near the entire lineup. The aggression allowed Monmouth to open up on attack and shut down any hopes of PAC scoring again.The next score came three minutes into the half when Joe Marshall received a short lineout, drew two tacklers, and offloaded a pass back to Jon Minenna. The only thing that stood between Minenna and the goal was a PAC wingback. The winger was overheard muttering “Oh God” before Minenna turned him into roadkill on his way to a try.Another came when Wallace sliced through for a line break and was tackled. From the ground, he offloaded a pop to Jack Cole running onto the ball to extend the break into a try. The next came from Donny “the Trashman” Palmer on a carry that looked familiar to anyone who’s watched Trashman play this season. A final try came when rookie lock Scott Lasher manhandled the ball out of the grips of a PAC runner. Wallace took advantage of the turnover for yet another break, this time ending between the posts. The second half score was 26-0. The final score was 41-12.Week 6 is a scheduled bye week for the men. Their next match will be their final match in the NJ Cup against Montclair on 5/22 for Friends and Family Day. Onward.
#10 Nick Wallace – 10 points, 2 tries
#12 Kieran Walsh – 6 points, 3 conversions
#14 Matt “Drago” Zadroga – 5 points, 1 try
#9 “Backpack” Billy Martin – 5 points, 1 try
#1 Jon Minenna – 5 points, 1 try
#8 Jack Cole – 5 points, 1 try
#2 Donny “the Trashman” Palmer – 5 points, 1 try
Man of the Match went to Captain Ryan Greenwood. No, he didn’t award it to himself. Coach Wagner did so with unanimous agreement from the team. When Greenie tried to pass the honor onto a teammate at the drink up, there was a full blown mutiny. Greenie (pictured below) made all of his tackles, which were many. More impressive was how many of the tackles were for losses. Between that and breaking the gain line every time he got the ball, Greenie was tilting the momentum in favor of Monmouth every chance he got. Most of all, Greenie set the tone with his shoulders. One particular hit comes to mind, but there were plenty to give PAC nightmares.