Going into this weekend against the Norfolk Blues, the Potomac Athletic Club players remembered that they had been upended by the Virginia club by a last-minute penalty kick in 2010.
That loss pushed them to 2nd in the Mid-Atlantic. This time, they were determined to avoid the same result, and emerged 39-8 victors.
As expected, the game started off in a physical and feverish manner. After driving into Norfolk's territory, PAC drew a penalty and Steve Shapland was able to put the kick between the posts and put PAC up 3-0. After some more back and forth play, Norfolk evened up the score with a penalty.
That deadlock lasted about ten more minutes. Then PAC took a lineout and attacked. After a few phases through the forwards and backs, Dan Kortan found Greg Suellentrop, who was able to put down the unconverted try and put PAC up 8-3. Using the momentum, PAC was able to once again get the ball in a lineout and the forwards drove the ball into Norfolk's in-goal, where Suellentrop touched down his second try of the day. Shapland's conversion put the score at 15-3.
The memory of last year’s loss, not to mention Norfolk’s gaudy scoring statistics, still in their minds, PAC kept up the pressure.
The forwards bashed it up and that created space for the backs. Toshi Palamo found Hunter Naff on the wing and he ran around a few would-be tacklers to touch the ball down for an unconverted try. That made the score 20-3 at halftime.
No letup from PAC in the second half, as a solid platform from the pack put the backs away. Charlie Whipple was the benefactor, going over the line to make it 25-3.
Finally afforded some possession, Norfolk managed their only try of the match, but fresh legs from the subs bench got PAC back on the front foot. After getting some good go-forward from No. 8 Hannibal Vaivao, Suellentrop picked and drover over for his third try of the day.
Shapland hit the conversion to make it 32-8. Towards the end of the match, Suellentrop scored his fourth, with Shapland claiming his third conversion to make it 39-8.
“Even though this was a great win, it is very early in the season with lots of games left,” said PAC prop and Director of Rugby Brian Olmes. “We kept up the intensity and teamwork throughout the game. We need to keep that up.”
Tries: Suellentrop 4, Naff, Whipple
Convs: Shapland 3