Kutztown Downs Davenport

D1A Rugby: Kutztown Downs Davenport

Kutztown and Davenport Universities, traveled to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and met at Founders Field, home of the Pittsburgh Harlequins RFC. This was the last scheduled regular season match for both teams. Kutztown had scheduled the match several months ago in hopes of playing in the post season and wanted to keep the competitive level of their matches at the highest possible level. Fortunately that plan had come to pass for Kutztown and the Golden Bears were ready to take on JP Eloff and the Panthers.

The match started with a flurry of offensive thrusts by both sides and a few goal line stands on both ends of the pitch. The action was intense with both back lines attacking at full pace and each forward pack bringing their A game into the trenches. Then at sixteen minutes, Davenport found a gap on the outside that broke the drought. Panther fly-half, J.P. Eloff, slipped through a gap and cut back to score under the post. The conversion was good and Davenport jumped out in front KU 0 DU 7 . A few minutes later, Kutztown drove down to the Davenport goal line, where Kutztown Lock, Mike Lawrenson forced his way across the goal line and the try. The conversion was wide left and the score board read KU 5 DU 7. At the twenty six minute mark, Davenport’s scrum-half, Knute O’Donnell streaked ten yards into the try zone. Eloff converted for the second time and Davenport increased their lead. KU 5 DU 14. Kutztown’s Tim Acker missed a penalty kick attempt but a few minutes later, Kutztown center Robert Stortz ran thirty yards down the sideline to score under the post. Niku Kruger converted and Kutztown closed the gap. KU 12 DU 14. On the last play of the first half, Kutztown’s Niku Kruger slotted a penalty kick and the scoreboard pushed Kutztown into the lead but a few moments later the three points were retracted as the referee over ruled the touch judge who raised his flag.The first stanza ended with the score remaining KU 12 DU 14.

The second half opened with a Davenport pick and go try, on the Kutztown try line, by Angus MacLellan but the conversion was not true and the Panthers jumped to a seven point lead. KU 12 DU 19. Kutztown’s Tim Acker missed another penalty kick attempt but made up for the mishap by scoring a try one minute later. The conversion wasn’t good and the Panthers held on by two points. KU 17 DU 19. Then with five minutes left in the game, JP Eloff slotted a penalty kick to give Davenport the lead by five. KU 17 DU 22. However, the Golden Bears displayed the same tenacity and calm determination that brought them through in their last two matches with Schuylkil River and Penn State. They strung together several phases and due to a penalty in front of the Davenport try line, turned the ball over to Davenport. With the clock reading one minute and thirty seconds, Kutztown scrum-half, Niku Kruger pressured the Davenport number nine at the back of a scrum, which resulted in a loose ball. Kruger pounced on the ball with a superb pick-up and drove his way over the try line to tie the score in the corner. KU 22 DU 22. The ball was brought back for the conversion and placed right in front of the sideline. Kutztown called on sophomore Devon Somma who had recently entered the game as the Golden Bears fly-half reserve. Somma struck the ball perfectly and sent it high into a strong wind. The ball soared into what appeared to be a slipstream that ever so slightly, curved it through the uprights. It was a magnificent kick by any standards and the Golden Bears went home with the victory. KU 24 DU 22.

The Kutztown forwards once again displayed their gritty style and penchants for hard physical play on both sides of the ball. The Golden Bear back line attacked from depth and was calculated within their attacking pattern. The player of the match had to be Kutztown’s Tim Acker, as he scored a try and had four crucial, game saving tackles, at his fullback position.