RUGBYMag got something right for once, calling the Mid-Atlantic DI club league as ripe for some reshuffling, and NOVA came through to help make that a possibility, beating Norfolk 34-28 in Week 1.
It wasn’t a blowout, but given the fact that Norfolk was 7-2 last season (and NOVA was 4-5) and beat NOVA 59-7 in the first week a year ago, it’s a marked change.
“It was a big result for us,” said club president Clarence Williams. “We looked at it as a good test of where we are, especially given the drubbing they gave us last time.”
NOVA has added a couple of players for this season, but really just have had some time together. Dan Weku, who has been central to their 7s efforts for years, has stayed on to play 15s, and his presewnce was helpful.
“He gave us a lift,” said Williams. “It’s not really a new team, but Dan’s ability to read the field really help us.”
Adam Henderson, who also played 7s with NOVA, was excellent at flyhalf, while Tom Francisco was player of the match at fullback.
“Overall what we were really pleased with was our defense,” said Williams. “It was a typical first game for both teams – guys were rusty. But our guys stepped up. We had a strong wind and we figured it was maybe a 15-point wind. So they had the wind in the first half and we wanted to keep within 15 points. We did that, and being able to stop them when they had opportunities was big for us.”
This is just the first game of a long season, but NOVA’s players have a jolt of confidence after beating one of the top teams from last season.
“We want to perform well,” said Williams. “We know it won’t be easy, and there are a lot of good teams in the league, but it’s good to have a performance like this, where all 15 guys contributed.”