Although the weather continues to try to disrupt the High School Boys games nothing could dampen spirits as a successful regular season came to close. Making up a March cancellation on Mother’s Day is not ideal and yet again the match was moved due to weather and field closures. In less than perfect conditions for a game that would decide the playoff seedings, Morris Lions knew a victory over Jersey Shore would secure second place in the league and a home playoff fixture. Jersey Shore with a win and other results going their way could go above the Lions. The game got underway with both teams having all to play for, Morris Lions played some excellent rugby took control and the early lead. Ignoring the slippery conditions both underfoot and of the ball, effective play linking both forwards and backs created space for a hat trick of tries on the left wing. Smart play from the forwards sucked in the Jersey Shore defense on the try line and slick handling and strong running from the backs created a fourth try before half time. The teams turned around with Morris Lions leading 22 – 0 having secured a valuable bonus point.
The second half saw Jersey Shore abandon the expansive game and as the rain continued to fall and conditions worsened they ran big forwards hard around the ruck. Making a few yards at a time and testing the Morris Lions defense as they drove down the field. The High School Boys defense stood the test, continually making the tackles, bringing attackers to ground and extracting themselves from the mud to reposition and reset the line. The tremendous teamwork and the individual efforts a clear demonstration of the teams’ willingness to work for each other. We have seen the flair in attack now this was literally the boys doing the tough and dirty work. Holding out for many phases on their own line they forced a knock on by Jersey Shore. From the resulting scrum the Morris Lions set up for a clearing kick, as the ball went back to the Morris kicker in the in-goal area Jersey Shore were ready. Unable to get the kick away under enormous pressure a delightful dummy and side step opened up running room. Breaking down the wing, good close support and well timed passing saw the Morris Lions score under the posts. A length of the field try that would be great on a good day but was spectacular in the terrible conditions. The conversion making the score 29 – 0 to the Morris Lions. Eventually Jersey Shore were able to breach the Morris defense with a consolation try from a close range drive. But the final score of 29 – 5 saw Morris Lions High School Boys secure a home playoff semi-final.
None of this would be possible without the support of many off the field, Fathers who helped line the field early that morning so the game could go ahead, the Moms who on their day let the boys play and came and stood in the pouring rain and the superb support from the coaching staff and team Mum. Hopefully this victory was a nice Mother’s Day present but will be rewarded with sweeter victories as the Lions roar on!
Who do you play for?