Written by Alex Goff    Sunday, 21 October 2012 14:07    PDF Print Write e-mail
Buffalo Shocks Old Blue
Clubs - Men's DI Clubs

Buffalo pulled it off Saturday, defeating the highly-regarded and similarly-undefeated Old Blue club 20-16 in somewhat wintry conditions in Western New York.

JP Sfeir looks for a way around the Old Blue defense Saturday. Bruce Marzahn photo.With the victory, Buffalo takes 1st place in the Empire DI Club league and an expected home playoff against the #2 New England team (to be decided).

Old Blue slips to 6-1 and will finish second.

Buffalo led 13-10 at halftime of a game slammed with rain, wind, and sleet, and added a crucial try in the second half.

"The whole team committed to playing pressure defense for the whole 80 minutes," said Buffalo Head Coach Ron Astridge. "Holding Old Blue to one try; never really letting them get on the front foot. Ball security was our next priority and although scrums and lineouts were probably about even, we more successful limiting turnovers in open play."

Buffalo had to replace both centers and their fullback due to injuries. Wing Matt Brooks ended up playing three positions in the game - wing, outside center, and fullback, and played well at all.

Rookie Mike Lang, 19, came in at flanker and made two key plays, breaking up Old Blue lineout throws, one five meters from the Buffalo tryline. He also chased down an Old Blue player on a breakaway, preventing what could have been the game-winner.

Buffalo took the early lead with a try from Brooks (as wing), converted by flyhalf Nick Kusmierski.

That try came at the end of a long period of Buffalo possession, during which they worked through over 15 phases.

That sequence, said Astridge, "gave us the confidence we could win."

Kusmierski converted that try and added two penalties for a 13-10 halftime lead.

While Old Blue added two penalties in the second half, the Buffalo forwards mauled over a crucial try. Buffalo won a lineout 18 meters from the line midway through the second half. They drove the maul all the way to the line, and with Kusmierski's conversion, put the scoreline at 20-10.

Old Blue kept coming and came close to scoring on several occasions, including the breakaway stopped by Lang, and another chance when Kusmierski slapped the ball out of an Old Blue's hands as he was crossing the line, forcing a knock-on.

Astridge said Brooks and lock Matt Shuster were his players of the game, but added it was a complete team effort.

Also in the Empire league, White Plains completed an outstanding season during which they only lost twice, both by less than a try, by slamming Long Island 60-17. And the Village Lions, which hadn't won a DI league game in 17 years, won their 4th of the season 24-3 over New York, to finish 4th in the league with a 4-3 record.

Old Blue 16 at 20 Buffalo
White Plains 60 at 17 Long Island
Morris 10 at 57 Monmouth
Village Lions 24 at 3 NYRC

Empire Men DI Club W L T Pf Pa Pd BT BL Pts
Buffalo 7 0 0 216 130 86 4 0 32
Old Blue 6 1 0 284 109 175 5 1 30
White Plains 5 2 0 248 104 144 6 2 28
Village Lions 4 3 0 228 209 19 5 0 21
Monmouth 3 4 0 196 168 28 3 1 16
New York 2 5 0 93 192 -99 2 0 10
Long Island 1 6 0 140 252 -112 3 1 8
Morris 0 7 0 90 331 -241 1 1 2


Other Top Club Stories