April 18, 2009, Pittsburgh PA
The Barbarians traveled to the North Shore of Pittsburgh to play Pittsburgh Rugby Club (“Pitt City”) a Division 2 Allegheny Rugby Union side. Fighting a long drive through traffic headed towards the Pirates game, the lads still traveled well, with over 23 Baba’s making the trip.
Pitt City and the Baba’s have had good rivalry of late with Pitt City as they beat the Baba’s last spring and the Baba’s winning at Pittsburgh in the spring of 2007. Pittsburgh always is a physical team that plays hard rugby with lively sportsmanship. The field was pretty shoddy, an urban park that featured spectators puking on the sidelines (during warm ups) and smoking kronic (or is it chronic) while observing the game. Many Babas’ were enthralled with the sideline observers. Crapplegate made numerous friends and disappeared for several minutes at a time. As for the pitch, the sidelines were narrow and the field was poorly marked.
The baba’s were a bit flat starting out, with Pittsburgh breaking wide about 5 min in, working good phase ball and hard running through some bad tackling by Baba’s to score the first try with their fullback putting down, and the 8 man converting, 7-0. While the Baba’s controlled territory in the following 10 minutes, working good lineout’s and physical phase ball, the Pittsburgh lads again worked some bad ball, worked it wide to their hard running flanker who set it down to go up 12-0. Again the 8 man, making his best Jeff Reed impression, (the on field version, not the one coming home from strip bars) converted to put the Pitt lads up 14-0.
The Baba’s were not playing bad though, we controlled territory and possession. We won our set play, controlled rucks but could not punch through the Pittsburgh defense. Out wide, the narrow field played to Pittsburgh’s play preventing Matt Langston, Deerhunter and Mo to run ragged. Finally after punching in several attempts the lads got a break, with the lock from Pittsburgh playing the ball on the ground in front of the posts, Patrick Kiely converted and the Baba’s were down 14-3.
The 2nd half saw more Baba rugby that controlled the game and the possession. At 22 m drop out Gorgeous George took the kick and rambled 50 m to come close to scoring a try, the Baba’s supported well, ran several phases, worked it out to Deerhunter, who passed into Andy who dodged tacklers ½ his age and set up a clean ruck, with Ethan recycling to Jeremy who put it down for a try. Patrick made the conversion and we were down 14-10.
For the next 15 min, the Baba’s kept possession and territory, but were unable to crack the try line. The game also got testy as a couple of Pittsburgh players jumped Tony, calling him Guido of all things, and a hockey fight ensued. Both Tony and the Pittsburgh player were sent off with yellows. Another penalty was awarded to Pittsburgh shortly thereafter and they converted, now up 17-10. The Baba’s started with some replacements to bring in fresh legs, and worked the ball down the field with a great run by Jeremy, who appeared to score, but the ball was just short of the poorly marked try line. Pittsburgh won the ensuing scrum, and kicked safely away. The Baba’s continued to dominate the possession and territory but a break away by an elusive Pittsburgh winger gave them possession close the posts and after a penalty, converted again to be up 20-10. With minutes to go the Baba’s worked down the field to score, what appeared to be, a try by Ethan Ray, but the referee hesitantly called it held up. Shortly soon after this almost try, the whistle blew and the game ended 20-10, Pittsburgh over Happy Valley.
Again many thought the Baba’s were the better team, but a well schooled and physical Pittsburgh team tackled well and held up ball to prevent recycling and a narrow field played to their strength. An unfortunate loss given the amount of ball and territory we had. Alas…next week is a tourney at Slippery Rock, then a home game on May 2nd vs. Old Gaelic.
Barbarisms- David Bevan still traveled while a very pregnant fiancée stayed home, good luck Brit. Large Pittsburgh women were overjoyed to hear that Patrick was staying overnight in Pittsburgh on Sat. Swales and Crapplegate played for Pitt City and Robert Morris B side good for them. Schweppe had to explain some suspicious cleat marks to his significant other.
Andy H (Brett B 60 m), Hank (Swales 70m), Discount (David B 70m), George, Jack, Schweppe, Sean R (Ricketts 40 m), Jud (Steve T, 60 m), Ethan, Patrick, Tony, Jeremy, Mo, Matt L and Deerhunter.