The Iowa City Crash have made a promising start on debut in the American National Rugby League Midwest Conference with a spirited performance before eventually going down 32-14 to the Chicago Stockyarders at Winnemac Park in Chicago Sunday in Round 2 of the Conference schedule.
The Crash raced to an early 8-0 lead behind unconverted tries by Irish import Tom Lenihan, after good work from standout Nick Young, and player/coach Brad Fuhrmann to stun the home side.
The more established Chicago team was soon on the board though with an opportunistic try from hardworking Chris Togni on his Stockyarders debut. Further scores just before the half by Mike Featherstone and Nick Letizia, after a jinking run, gave the Yarders a 14-8 lead at the break.
The home team made a strong start to the second half when Featherstone bagged his second try early on followed by a barnstormer from prop David Kim that put the game beyond the Crash’s reach. There was a glimmer of hope for the Iowa boys, however, when Fuhrmann notched his second score with a powerful effort midway through the half but the visitors couldn't add to their try tally for the bonus point. Young converted one of Iowa’s three tries to round out the Crash scoring.
The Yarders sealed the deal through late scores by substitute Jack Chambers on his return to the Stockyarders with on a long-range kick return and a cheeky effort from Nick Letizia that gave the scoreline a more one-sided look than was deserved for a hardworking Iowa side in which youngster Alex Pacha also stood out.
"Game was a fantastic learning curve,” said Iowa City Crash player/coach Fuhrmann. “Our lack of experience showed around the play the ball, but the guys made up for that with enthusiasm and effort."
Venue: Winnemac Park, Chicago
HT- Stockyarders 14 - Crash 8
Tries: Togni, Featherstone (2), Letizia (2), Kim, Chambers
Goals: Featherstone 2
Tries: Lenihan, Fuhrmann (2)
MVP Joint award: Nick Letizia (Stockyarders), Nick Young (Crash)
Referee: Kellen Smith (AMNRL Midwest)