The PA Bulls have scored back to back victories in consecutive weeks, defeating the Northern Raiders 42-22 in Round 4 of the American National Rugby League’s Atlantic Conference.
Coming off a thrilling victory last week over the New York Knights, the Bulls showed no signs of complacency as they ran in eight tries to four, comfortably sealing the match.
Starting the game with the same intensity they finished on last week, the Bulls took a 22-6 lead heading into halftime. Valentine and Kneisley led the way with doubles, while Lewis, Mayo, Grace, and Houghton also got on the try scorers sheet. The Bulls landed five of their conversions with John Grace converting three from four.
Bulls captain Bryan Confer has been impressed with his team’s performance in recent weeks and Saturday was no different. “I was very proud of the boys today,” he told WeAreRugby. “The win puts us one win closer to reaching our goal which is to make the Grand Final.”
Elsewhere, the New York Knights bounced back from their shock loss a week ago to handle the Bucks County Sharks 30-12.
Playing in difficult weather conditions, both teams struggled to hold on to the ball in the opening stanza and it wasn’t until Knights’ player Andrew Moody crossed for the first of his two tries, did the reigning champs begin to find their rhythm.
Flexing their defensive muscle, the Knights held out the Sharks for the entire first half with fullback Fitzjames Adams crossing for the first of his two tries just before the break. The poor start proved costly for the Sharks as they failed to make any significant inroads in the second stanza.
As well as Moody and Adams, the Knights were also well served by Ben Sadgrove, who also notched a four pointer. Todd Fisher had a perfect day with the boot kicking five from five conversions.
Speaking after the match, Knights head coach Guill Cieutat praised his team’s showing. “I was very happy this week and with the boys’ performance all game," he said. "The Sharks are a great team and I tip my hat to Phil [Shipos] and the entire Sharks organization for giving us such a competitive game in these less than perfect conditions."
For the Sharks, Dan Johnson and Ryan Sodano scored tries, while Steve Thompson booted both conversions. Coach Phil Shipos remained upbeat despite the loss. “It was a great effort from the boys today. There’s been a ton of improvement from last season,” he said.
In the final match of the round, the scoreboard attendant was kept busy as the Connecticut Wildcats defeated the NOVA Eagles 74-34. The Eagles showed they have the ability to score points and earned their first bonus point of the season by scoring four tries in the match.
At the conclusion of Round 4 there’s a log jam at the top of the standings with the Knights, Wildcats and Bulls all locked in a tight race.
And the Midwest Conference matchup between the Iowa City Crash and Western Storm was postponed and rescheduled for July 14.
Atlantic Conference standings:
New York Knights (3-1) 17pts
Connecticut Wildcats (3-1) 17pts
Pennsylvania Bulls (3-1) 16pts
Northern Raiders (1-3) 7pts
Bucks County Sharks (1-2) 6pts
Northern Virginia Eagles (0-3) 1pt