The Game of the Week in the American National Rugby League Atlantic Conference lived up to its billing with the surging Pennsylvania Bulls and Connecticut Wildcats putting on a show Saturday in the Philadelphia area.
In the end, the Bulls powered home to a 60-30 victory to punctuate Round 6 action.
Hard-running forward Kevin Wiggins, who nabbed a hat-trick, was among the Bulls’ best, along with Ben Hopson, who scored a double. Also making an impact for PA were skipper Bryan Confer and veteran John Grace.
In total, the Bulls punched in 10 tries to the Cats’ five.
Other scorers for Pennsylvania included Alejandro Valentin, John Convery, Andrew Kniesly and Louis Tulio. And Grace knocked over 8 conversions.
For the Wildcats, Michael Goward led all scorers with three tries to his name and chiming in with singles were John Walsh and Dennis Schmeiler. Walsh also was 100 per cent accurate with his goal kicking going five from five on conversions.
Best for Connecticut were Walsh, Goward and Mike Schecter.
Elsewhere on Saturday, the Bucks County Sharks rebounded from their Round 5 defeat by hammering the still winless Northern Virginia Eagles 86-12.
In the Friday night game at ‘The Castle’ in New York City, the home town Knights routed their upstate rivals the Northern Raiders 48-16.
Playing a big hand for the Knights was their dual code international Luke Hume, who scored a hat-trick and pulled off a try-saving tackle on the goal line.
The win earned the Knights another valuable bonus point, while the visitors just missed out on their bonus point being restricted to three tries.
The Raiders were able to hang tough through the first three quarters, but that’s when the Knights cut loose to put the game out of reach. Leading the Raiders’ defense were Zach Rodda and big forward Rob Ploth, while coach Peter Assuma made a big contribution on the night.
Getting on the board for the Raiders were Ploth, Australian import Mick Esdale and Jon Walton. Joel Venables landed all three conversions.
“Over the years the Raiders are usually built around speedy defenders first, so even on the Castle’s fast turf we were able to hang with the Knights deep into the third,” captain Matt Reilly told WeAreRugby.
“With our new added power runners surrounding Ploth, we are starting to really come together for the playoffs. Once we get to the playoffs anything can happen as we proved last year.”
Atlantic Conference standings:
New York Knights (5-1) 27pts
Pennsylvania Bulls (5-1) 26pts
Connecticut Wildcats (3-3) 19pts
Bucks County Sharks (3-3) 17pts
Northern Raiders (2-4) 12pts
Northern Virginia Eagles (0-6) 1pt