Willsboro Barkeaters' season begins with a win

WILLSBORO On April 6, the Willsboro Barkeaters U19 Rugby Football Club began its 2008 regular season by hosting the North Country RFC from Derbyline, Vt. The venue, originally scheduled to be UVM, was transferred to Willsboro, where, despite up to eight inches of snow-cone-like snow on the pitch, a rugby game was held. The conditions made for a slower, plodding game, but the bright sun provided an occasional mud bath in the northeastern corner and the hitting was intense. The first half had the Barkeaters pinning the North Country Club behind its own 22-meter line for nearly the entire half, but the visitors determination resulted in try-line stand after try-line stand, consistently denying the Barkeaters points. However, just before the half a loose ruck near left touch and the try line allowed Loosehead Prop Kaleb Provost (Willsboro) to dive onto the ball through a crowd just over the try line for a 5-0 Barkeater lead at the half. The second half continued the trend of having most of the game played in the visitorss half of the pitch. The visitors began to tire as midway through the second half one rolling maul after another from inside North Countrys 22-meter line allowed the Barkeaters Captain and Flanker Nathan Henrichs (Willsboro) to peel off the left flank and tuck and roll after being knocked off his feet, but not technically tackled, then spin back toward the try line. Yet another maul was formed and the Barkeaters pushed the mass of people over the try line with Lock Jeff Stay (Peru) falling in the try zone for the score. Another try was added later in the half by Winger Zack Blocker (Peru), playing his first game. The ball was spun out nicely toward left touch where the only grass on the field was available and Blocker used his speed to outflank the competition. Hooker Marko Bekcic (Willsboro) successfully converted points after try for a 17-0 final. The game also provided first rugby experiences for Alex Hall (Wilmington) and Ryan Turgeon (Plattsburgh). The Barkeaters (2-0, 1-0) next match is Saturday, April 26 in Essex Junction, Vt. against the defending state champions, Essex High School RFC. Barkeaters Rugby is open to area teenagers (boys and girls) by calling 963-8555.

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