KNIGHTS vs PHILLY
12 man Knights fall just short in the Fight
The New York Knights unbeaten run came to an end following a tough and enthralling encounter in Conshohocken against the Philadelphia Fight. Both sides had come into the game on the back of unbeaten runs in what was billed as the biggest game of the season so far and it duly delivered a hard hitting encounter.
Although a fiercely contested game the day was not just about the rugby. Philadelphia were hosting their 1st Annual Clash with Cancer to benefit The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation. Young Sebastian was their honorary captain for the day and the Fight put on a great day off and on the field for him. This included a 9’s game which saw Julio Giraldo score two tries for the Knights 9’s in a 22-8 loss to Philadelphia, a half time tag game featuring local schoolchildren, a silent auction and raffle to raise funds.
The first quarter of the encounter was a war of attrition with both sides trying to break down the other with little success. The only score in that period came after 3 minutes when the referee penalized the Knights for holding in the tackle 20 metres out. The Fight worked 3 hit up sets, before Jared Frymower spotted a gap and managed to scoot over from 5 metres out. Mike Timpano converted to make it 6-0
It would another 18 minutes before the scoreboards were troubled again. Once again the referee punished the Knights for holding on in the tackle 30 metres out. With points at a premium Philadelphia took the option for the shot at goal and Timpano made it 8-0.
Following the kick off the game’s main turning point took place. Curtis Cunz was looking to make an impact with his first tackle but he mistimed his run and swing catching his opposing player high. Although there was no intent the tackle was reckless and the referee saw fit to send Cunz off leaving the Knights to play out the remaining hour or so with 12 men
A few minutes later the Fight would extend their lead with a return set from a Knights kick. Four hit ups got them to the 35 before they found Joel Weeks who attacked a gap in the Knights defensive and used his pace to sprint past two failed tackle attempts to dot down under the posts. Timpano added the easy 2 points for a half time lead of 14-0
A man down and scoreless on the board, the Knights couldn’t afford a slow start to the half and pulled a score back early. The Fight had blown a great opportunity to score and from a scrum on their own 15, the Knights ran four hit ups before the ball was spread to Chad Sharp. He found Kyle DePew on his inside who tore through the gain line and fed the ball to Matt Sharp who was too quick for the chasing defenders and scored under the posts from 25 metres out. Chad Sharp added the conversion to make it 14-6
Five minutes later the fight extended their lead to 12 points. Following a penalty for offside the Fight cleared to halfway. They made a break off of sloppy tackling on the 3rd tackle and broke through to be stopped short of the line. Weeks spread a lofted pass wide for Timpano to score in the corner for an unconverted try and a 18-6 lead.
That lead would be added to straight from the kick off after a missed tackle on the 3rd. The ball was offloaded to Weeks who put on the afterburners and ran in from 50m out to dot it down in the middle despite a valiant chase from Chad Sharp. Timpano added the conversion to make it 24-6.
With just over an hour gone the Knights put together two good repeat sets from penalties for holding to get into the Fight red zone. Eventually the ball was moved out Chad Sharp who gave two defenders the show and go and ran in under the posts to give himself an easy conversion to make it 24-12.
Shortly following the restart the Fight managed to score again. The Knights had got a penalty and had moved into the Philly half. They spread wide on the 4th tackle but Brian Madden managed an interception from a loose ball and ran in from 75m for an unconverted try to put the Fight up 28-12.
From the next kick off though it was Philadelphia who were punished from a dropped catch on their own 10. Three good hit ups saw them to within a yard of the line before they spread wide, Chad Sharp hit a flat pass to Alex Foster who gathered the ball at speed to crash over. Sharp added the extras to cut the score to 28-18
Despite playing with a man less it was the Fight who seemed to be tiring and with 8 minutes on the clock the lead was cut to a single try. Again the referee gave another penalty for holding and the Knights made their way into the Fight 20. A strong set of runs saw New York get within 5 metres before Matt Sharp’s beautifully weighted chip kick found Randy Porter free on the wing to score an unconverted try in the corner.
The Knights kept trying to find a try that could pull them level but strong defense from the fight saw them repelled. Eventually the hosts would see out the game when a final penalty for holding was given 5 metres out which was duly converted by Timpano to make the final score 30-22
Tries: Matt Sharp, Chad Sharp, Alex Foster, Randy Porter
Conversions: Chad Sharp (3/4)