BIG UPSET IN BIG APPLE!
The PA Bulls have dished out the first big upset of the young AMNRL season with a thrilling 36-34 win over the New York Knights Saturday night in Manhattan.
For the second time in seven days, the AMNRL’s Atlantic Conference has produced a breathtaking Rugby League display with another match going right down to the wire.
The Knights got off to a great start taking a 16-6 lead early on before the Bulls rallied to score two tries of their own. The match was a seesawing affair with the lead changing hands on several occasions.
As the teams commenced the fourth quarter the Bulls trailed the Knights 28-24. Having been in a similar position just a week earlier, the Knights were confident they could finish off the stronger of the two teams, but it was not to be as mistakes seemed to hamper the defending champions.
Late in the match the pressure mounted and the Bulls began to gain the upper hand, eventually securing an impressive two-point victory. As Knights president Rob Balachandran told WeAreRugby, “Both teams pressured the opposition and the Bulls made fewer mistakes at the right time.”
Bulls captain Bryan Confer knew the significance of his team’s performance. “The match was a slugfest the whole time and it was good to get the victory.”
For the Bulls Kevin Wiggins and Louis Tulio scored doubles, while Wes Haughton and Luke Collins were among the spoilers. John Grace had an impeccable night with the boot going 6/6 on conversions.
Knights players James Fitzadams and Andrew Moody also scored doubles with Gareth Baxendale and Scott Hagenhofer crossing for individual tries. Todd Fisher had his radar on with the boot making 5 of 5 conversions.
Afterwards Balachandran remained upbeat about his team’s performance. “You can’t win every game but we’ll use this loss to refocus and move forward with the season.”
In the other matches, the Connecticut Wildcats also returned to the winners’ circle, scoring a comprehensive 42-20 win over the Northern Raiders.
Coming off a narrow loss to the New York Knights last week, the Wildcats were adamant on turning the tables. The Raiders, however, had other ideas and opened their account with two quick tries in the opening stanza.
Among the scorers early on was former Iowa Rugby Union representative Adam Wendland. Playing in his first game since making the switch to League, the new recruit shrugged off multiple defenders to notch his first try in the 13-a-side code.
Mick Esdale continued his consistent form for the Raiders notching a four pointer, while Marc Webb also crossed for a double.
Despite the strong start by the Raiders, the Wildcats were able to claw their way back into the match and started the fourth quarter with a 28-16 lead. The Raiders faded in the final quarter as the Cats powered to a 42-20 victory.
The third match between the Northern Virginia Eagles and Bucks County Sharks has been rescheduled to be played on July 21st.
For more information on the AMNRL including schedules, standings, and results, visit their website www.amnrl.com
Atlantic Conference standings:
New York Knights (2-1) 12pts
Connecticut Wildcats (2-1) 12pts
Pennsylvania Bulls (2-1) 11pts
Bucks County Sharks (1-1) 6pts
Northern Raiders (1-2) 6pts
NOVA Eagles (0-2) 0pts