Montauk and Middlesex will clash Sunday for the Men’s DII club title in the Northeast Sunday in Newport, RI after a wet, windy, sloppy Saturday of rugby.
Middlesex was set on their heels by Burlington early on. With a stiff breeze affecting play in a marshy field, Burlington led 7-0 into the 35th minute. But two tries – one on a cleaned up lineout and one on a nifty move in the backs – gave Middlesex a 14-7 lead going into the break.
In the second half, it was all Middlesex, as they ran in four more tries.
“We decided kicking in that wind wasn’t a good idea so we ran everything,” said Head Coach Josh Smith. “We ran out of our own 22. And it worked well for us.”
Meanwhile Montauk defeated Portland 29-8, and looked in control much of the game. Slowed by the boggy conditions early, they adjusted and, led by loose forward Mike Bunce and lock Nick Finazzo, simply pinned Portland in their own 22 for much of the game.
“I thought we did a good job of controlling possession,” said Rick Brierly.
One key personnel issue looms tonight before the game. With about five minutes to go Bunce was penalized for, what Brierly said was an open-handed shove on another player. A touch judge saw it as a punch, and Bunce was issued a red card. Montauk is working right now to avoid Bunce being suspended from Sunday’s final.