The Southern Pines Big Cones traveled south Saturday to take on the Charleston Outlaws in their second matrix match of the season.
On an unexpectedly hot afternoon with temperatures over 90 degrees, the Big Cones came out in white uniforms for the first time in Club history and produced exactly what they needed, an aggressive and dominant team win from start to finish. The match was dominated by Southern Pines as indicated by the final score of 60-19, and for the second year in a row, Southern Pines handed Charleston a loss on their home pitch.
The tone of the match was set early on with big hits and hard running demonstrated by both sides. Southern Pines opened up the scoring in the 12th minute after a 25-meter breakaway by veteran 8 man Greg Bajuk and off load to Zach Miller who was trailing close behind in support.
Miller immediately followed with the conversion kick resulting in a score of 7-0.
The second try would come less than four minutes later, after scrum-half Matt Ryan played off of a quick penalty (alongside some drama worthy of an Oscar) and was able to get behind an unprepared Charleston defense to touch the ball down.
It would be much of the same for the remaining 25 minutes of the first half, with tries by Shawn Riley (23rd minute), Bajuk (29thminute), Miller (32nd minute), and Curtis Fry (34th minute).
After two more completed conversion kicks by Miller, the Big Cones went into halftime with a 36-0 lead.
Momentum from the first half carried over into the second 40 minutes seeing lock Mike Goering put the ball down in the try zone at the 45-minute mark, and Miller once again at 53 minutes. Charleston would finally get on the board in the 59th minute after a solid display of ball control, and after making the conversion kick, the score stood at 46-7.
At this point, the heat of the day was really showing its strength as players from both sides began going down with cramps and the first subs entered the game for Southern Pines.
For the next 20 minutes, it was a test of will and physical conditioning. The Big Cones were able to display their hard work and finish the match with the same aggressive tone that was set in the first five minutes. With two more tries by each side, we see the match end at 60-19.
Overall, it was an impressive display of discipline, aggressive play, and teamwork with tries coming from six different Big Cones on the day. Even playing down a man for the remaining eight minutes due to heat injuries, Southern Pines finished with a resolve that had been lacking in the last two matches.
Leading scorer and Head Coach Zach Miller had this to say on the match, “The boys really decided to put it all on the field. Everyone to a man made the choice to take care of the basics and play for the Pines. We appreciate the support of our fans, sponsors, the Lady Celts, and Olde Boys. We look forward to our next matchup on November 10th against Tobacco Road.”
The Big Cones social side is playing on Saturday, October 13 at 1 p.m. at the National Athletic Village on Hwy 1 versus the Clayton Bootleggers. Men’s and High School practices are Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30-8:30 p.m.. The Women’s team practices Monday and Thursday from 6:30-8:30 p.m..
New players welcome and encouraged to come and see why Rugby is the fastest growing sport in America.
Article written by Robert Bortins, Sandhills Sentinel Contributor
Photo contributed by Southern Pines Rugby Club