Charles River Men @ Saratoga Stampede

Match Report

September 7, 2013, 1:30pm

Waterford-Halfmoon High School, Waterford, NY

Rats Match

Match Details: It was a long day for the Charles River Rats. It was a long commute to Waterford, NY (a three-hour car drive), a long kickoff delay[2] and a long, painful defeat to the Saratoga Springs Stampede.

Highlights: In only two games, the Rats have matched their entire 2012 offensive output (43 points). Against the Stampede, the Rats scored 35 points, 28 of which came in the second half.

The only bright spot for the Rats in the 1st half was a nifty try scored by Wing Mike Fair thanks to a major heads-up play by Scrum-Half Dana Etherington. With 18 minutes left in the half, Etherington reacted to a messy scrum by picking up the ball and eluded the pursuit of the opposing scrum-half and 8-man. As both centers converged on Etherington, he completed a beautiful pass to Fair, whom eluded the last two Stampede defenders to put the Rats on the scoreboard.

Four different Rats scored tries during the 2nd half, it began when Outside Center Jerry Kenneally broke the Stampede line and fed Inside Center Corey Lang with a timely off-load. Lang just managed beat the pursuit to score his first try of the season. Eight minutes later, the Rats managed to drive down the field thanks to the dynamic play of Etherington and Fly-Half Ricky Friberg; this led to a powerful five-meter run by Lock Dave Bloom as he dragged three Stampede defenders into the try zone. With fifteen minutes left in the half, Kenneally provided the play of the game for the Rats as he stole a 15-meter kickoff by a whisker, broke two separate tackles, eluded two other defenders and beat a final defender for a breath-taking try. With three minutes left in the game, flanker Jerry Calixte caught a tipped lineout 25 meters from the try zone, ran away from three defenders, put a quick juke move on Saratoga’s fullback and scored his first career try for the Rats.

Since the Rats scored more than four tries on the day, they will receive one point in the NERFU standings.

Lowlights: The defensive effort from the Rats against Saratoga, a team that nationally finished 3rd in Division III, was hideous. Every single player was guilty of multiple missed tackles and blown defensive assignments throughout the contest. Due to low numbers, the forward pack was severely under-manned, showing alarming signs of fatigue early in the game. Early in the game, the Stampede were awarded a penalty at mid-field, instead of kicking for touch, they opted to run a play, which featured their flanker completely running over a Rats’ defender on the way to gaining 20 meters. It was an early indicator that the Rats were in for a long day.

As the Stampede’s forwards were powering their way down the pitch, the backline were stealthily setting up mismatches on the opposite side. Once the ball was spun to the Stampede’s backs, their outstanding fly-half would either execute a perfect chip kick or a triple option play where he either:

  1. Kept the ball and attempted to beat the Rat matched-up with him
  2. Popped the ball to a flanker running a switch
  3. Passed the ball to an inserting fullback where the Rats only had two players to defend three players.

All three options were successful against the Rats as too many players (forwards in particular) could not arrive to the opposite side of the field to stop the lethal triple option attack due to a lack of fitness.

Head Coach Paul Clemens, who filled in at flanker/prop, was incredibly frustrated by his team’s lack of aggression and rugby intelligence during the first half as his team was trailing 35-7 at halftime. During the break, Friberg called-in a few of the team’s leaders and urged them to lead by example and inspire their teammates to increase their effort levels for the second half. Despite the flashes of offensive brilliance, the Rats could not fix their defensive short-comings as the Stampede reloaded their line-up with fresh legs, while the Rats could not. In total, the Stampede scored 14 tries against the Green and Orange as they picked up their first home victory in Division II.

FINAL SCORE: Rats 35, Stampede 86

Man of the Match: Jerry Kenneally. Despite the score margin, the Stampede was impressed by a few Rats, especially Kenneally, who broke multiple tackles and exploited defensive holes in Saratoga’s line. Kenneally also nailed all five of his conversion attempts.

Honorable Mentions: Jerry Calixte, Dana Etherington, Ricky Friberg, Mike Fair

Position Rats Starter Substitute
#1 Prop Phil Adams  
#2 Hooker Chris Gardner  
#3 Prop Dave McVey  
#4 Lock Wes “Mantooth” Page Dave “Andre” Bloom
#5 Lock Andrew “J-Hole” Jackson  
#6 Flanker “Coach” Paul Clemens  
#7 Flanker “Keyless” Jerry Calixte  
#8 8-Man Alec “Ox” Tolivaisa  
#9 Scrum-Half Dana “D-Train” Etherington  
#10 Fly-Half Ricky Friberg ©  
#11 Wing “President” Michael Fair  
#12 Inside Center Corey “A or B” Lang  
#13 Outside Center Jerry Kenneally[1]  
#14 Wing “Wee” Pat Cavallario  
#15 Fullback Zack “For Sale” Cox


Orange Whips Match


Match Details: Charles River decided to oblige their host by playing a B-side match; however it was a 10s match for a rolling 20-minute period. Already sucking wind from the previous match, the Whips struggled to control the Stampede’s offense. Despite the outcome, there were signs of improvement from Charles River, especially from Pat Cavallario, making his debut at scrum-half.

The following players played every minute for both games: Phil Adams, Alec Tolivaisa, Chris Gardner, Ricky Friberg, Pat Cavallario, Corey Lang, Michael Fair and Zack Cox.

FINAL SCORE: Whips 14, Saratoga 31

Rats Scoring Table







J. Kenneally





M. Fair





C. Lang





D. Bloom





J. Calixte





Season Results

















@New Haven
North Shore

Next Week


The Rats travel to New Haven, CT to play New Haven Old Black RFC as they hope to pick up their first win of the season. After spending a decade in Division I, New Haven has returned to Division II, where they won a national title in 2002. Kickoff time will be announced later in the week. Also, practice will be this Monday and Wednesday on the turf at Moakley Park.




[1] Due to his loss in the Man of the Match boat-race, Jerry has lost his “Drainpipe” nickname for one week.

[2] This was due to the assigned referee not showing up to the pitch. Thankfully, Saratoga found a replacement referee at the last minute, whom ended up being the youngest player on the pitch.