Charles River Old Boys vs South Shore Rusty Anchors

Charles River  Old Boys vs South Shore Rusty Anchors

October 12, 2013, 1:30 PM

Joe Moakley Park, Boston, MA

Match Details: After 18 months of inactivity and many doubts of a forming a full side, the Charles River Grey Rats came together to face the South Shore Rusty Anchors to celebrate the Ruby Anniversary of Charles River Rugby.

Charles River  Old Boys vs South Shore Rusty Anchors

October 12, 2013, 1:30 PM

Joe Moakley Park, Boston, MA

Old Boys Match

Position Rats Starter Substitute
#1 Prop Dennis “Dozer” Donovan  
#2 Hooker Dan “Hamburglar” Lewis  
#3 Prop Mike “Unabomber” Polcaro  
#4 Lock Chris “Spaulding” Theile  
#5 Lock Matt Leonard  
#6 Flanker Sergio Buttaro  
#7 Flanker Tommy Hartwell “President” Mike Fair, Corey “A or B” Lang
#8 8-Man Jac Van Loon  
#9 Scrum-Half Jason Lachapelle  
#10 Fly-Half Matt “Brillo” Hoffenberg Phil Adams[1], Mick McCann
#11 Wing Andy Dolan  
#12 Inside Center Scotty “Green Goblin[2]” Wiech  
#13 Outside Center Matt Evans  
#14 Wing “Prince” Phil Balas ©  
#15 Fullback Jay “The Toe” Chebeau  


Match Details[3]: After 18 months of inactivity and many doubts of a forming a full side, the Charles River Grey Rats[4] came together to face the South Shore Rusty Anchors to celebrate the Ruby Anniversary of Charles River Rugby.

The Grey Rats received the kickoff and immediately marched deep into Rusty Anchor territory, thanks to a perfect balance of runs between the forwards and back. The forward pack always managed to run at least two phases when they received the ball, because they used pod formations of four players throughout the entire contest and they rarely dropped passes from Scrum-Half Jason Lachapelle. The forwards phases allowed the Grey Rats’ outstanding backline to organize their lethal offense. Every time that Fly-Half Matt Hoffenberg received a pass, his fellow backs would either find a hole thanks to some outstanding/creative passing (evident by a between the legs pass from Inside Center Scotty Wiech) or though hard/elusive ball carrying, especially by wings Andy Dolan and Phil Balas.

Despite the excellent display of offense, the Rats could not find the try zone due to some untimely knock-ons. Even worse, two Grey Rats were helped off the field because of an injury. Flanker Tommy Hartwell popped out his shoulder less than three minutes into the game, and then his replacement, Mike Fair, severely sprained his ankle two minutes after he entered the game, which forced the Grey Rats to call on some active players to fill the lineup.

For the first eight minutes of the match, the Grey Rats were trying to score using “hero passes,” after the two injuries the Grey Rats used more conventional passing to advance the ball. The Rusty Anchors stopped the Grey Rats’ first push to the try zone, got the ball to their dangerous wing and dashed 50 meters before Fullback Jay Chebeau made the first of many try-saving tackles. In fact, Dolan, Balas and Chebeau played a perfect defense game as they constantly chased down runners that foolishly thought that they were going to score.

The Grey Rats scored their first try twelve minutes into the match thanks to an accurately placed kick by Hoffenberg. The Grey Rats ran three phases while Hoffenberg spotted an open area on the pitch and unleashed a high-arching kick with the perfect amount of back spin that bounced directly to an on-running Corey Lang[5]. After gaining 10 meters, Lang was tackled, while on the ground he popped the ball to a supporting Balas, who raced to the try zone to put the Grey Rats on the board.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Rusty Anchors attempted to catch the Grey Rats off-guard by kicking to the weak side towards the backs, Wiech made South Shore pay for that decision by gaining 35 meters on his return, however he outran his support and the Rusty Anchors managed to regain possession. While South Shore tried to advance the ball, Prop Dan Donovan provided an awe-inspiring tackle, forcing the visitors kick for territory, however the ball landed in the arms of Wiech who dashed to the try zone, extending the lead for Charles River 14-0, after Chebeau nailed the conversion kick.

After learning their lesson from the previous kickoff, the Rusty Anchors kicked to the forwards. Hooker Dan Lewis received the kick and destroyed the spirit of the Rusty Anchors’ pack by running through six different tacklers on a spectacular 15-meter run. Lewis’s play drew in enough backs from the Rusty Anchors to open up space on the wide side, which the Grey Rats exploited thanks to a perfect give-and-go executed by Dolan and Lang. The play turned around field position again in the Grey Rats’ favor, which kept the Rusty Anchors off the scoreboard for the rest of the half.

As the 1st half winded down, the tight five (Donovan, Lewis, Prop Mike Polcaro and Locks Chris Theile and Matt Leonard) for the Grey Rats’ got more comfortable with the new scrum engagement laws and proceeded to push the Rusty Anchors back. Utilizing the drive from the scrums, 8-man Jac Von Loon started to pick-and-go drawing in the flankers from the Rusty Anchors, giving the Grey Rats a better chance to create an overload.

During halftime, Hartwell felt that he could re-enter the game because he thought his shoulder would stay in place because of the amount of swelling around the joint[6]. After one tackle, that theory was disproven and Lang decided to re-enter the game. Instead of regressing due to rust and fatigue, the forward pack for the Grey Rats were playing better and more aggressive as Lachapelle involved them more in the offense. In turn, the backs for the Grey Rats settled down their offense and started to finish their advances into Rusty Anchor territory.

Ten minutes into the 2nd half, Hoffenberg had to exit the game due to an injury; however there was not an Old Boy ready to take his spot, forcing the Grey Rats to play a man down. Many clubs would have been discouraged and fell apart, instead the Grey Rats continued to put pressure on the Rusty Anchors, forcing a penalty while Phil Adams[7] prepared to enter the game. Chebeau nailed the penalty kick, upping the Grey Rats lead to 17-0.

The Grey Rats and Rusty Anchors traded field position and scoring chances for the next ten minutes. The Rusty Anchors had a chance to get on the scoreboard after they were award a penalty ten meters from the try zone. Eschewing an easy penalty kick, the Rusty Anchors attempted to go for the try, but strong tackles from Lewis, Buttaro, Polcaro and Lang made South Shore regret their decision as the Grey Rats preserved their shut-out for the moment.

When the Rats regained possession, Dolan found an opening on the edge of the far side and dashed 80 meters before being chased down. The rest of the Grey Rats managed to catch up to the breakdown to retain possession and inched their way towards the try zone. After some small gains towards to the open side of the field, the Grey Rats flipped their direction as Lachapelle noticed an overload opportunity, a smart decision as Wiech scored his second try of the match, another Chebeau conversion made the score, 24-0.

With a few minutes left in the game, Chebeau scored a try for the Grey Rats, which was the perfect exclamation point to a perfect day for the Grey Rats.

FINAL SCORE: Grey Rats 31, Rusty Anchors 0


Men of the Match

  • Grey Rats pick[8] – Jay Chebeau: With the exception of one missed penalty kick, Chebeau played a perfect game, making a number of try saving tackles, inserting himself in the offensive line to create mismatches, nailing a bunch of tough conversion kicks and kicking the ball in exact areas that the Rusty Anchors could not immediately return.
  • Rusty Anchors pick – Matt Hoffenberg: The UNH alum impressed the Rusty Anchors with his management of the talented Grey Rats backline. The plays he called allowed the Grey Rats the maximum amount of space and the optimal match-ups for his fellow backs to attempt some risky, but fun passes and tricks that entertained the crowd. Also, Hoffenberg placed every one of his kicks perfectly and was a force on defense.

Honorable Mentions: Every Grey Rat who wore the Green and Orange deserves mention. Their participation in this match made the 40th Anniversary weekend even more special and will hopefully be the start of many Old Boys games to come for future seasons. Also, they showed the active players the right amount of determination and intensity needed to achieve victory.

Back in June, when I first suggested the idea of an Old Boys game for the 40th Anniversary to the Executive Board, there were plenty of skeptics who felt that there would not be enough interest, or an opponent willing to play during a holiday weekend.   Without the following people’s help this game either would have been a disaster or non-existent:

  • Wes Page – For Promoting the game and generating interest amongst the Old Boys.
  • Matt Evans, Scott Wiech, “Uncle” Bill MacGillivray and Phil Balas – For pounding the table for this game all season long and forcing the Executive Board to reconsider cancelling the game.
  • Dave McVey – For volunteering to referee the game when the Refs’ Society decided not to give us one.

[1] Adams entered the game as a flanker, while Lang moved to Inside Center and Wiech moved to Fly-Half.

[2] If you don’t understand the nickname, go to the “Charles River Look-Alikes” Facebook page.

[3] It was decided by both clubs to play 30-minute halves.

[4] This is a working nickname. The suggestion forum is open for a better one.

[5] Yes, Corey Lang who is 27 years old and is an active player participated in an Old Boys match. The karmic gods did not like this action, punishing Lang with a hand injury during the match.

[6] Hartwell received this reason from Wes Page, who does not have a medical background.

[7] Since he is 35 years old, the karma gods decided not to bequeath an injury to the North Carolina native.

[8] It was decided at the social to split the “Man of the Match” honors between a player selected by his own team and a player selected by the opposing team.