RUGBY: Shoremen get physical: Avon Lake Shoremen kick their way past Avon Eagles in rugby

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Avon’s Ryan Steinmetz, left, grabs on and rides down Avon Lake’s Nicholas Kane in the first half of Thursday night’s rugby game at Avon Stadium. Avon Lake won, 25-15.

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Avon’s Andrew Salvagni, left, dives on Avon Lake’s Christopher Chakirelis in the first half of Thursday night’s rugby match.

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Avon’s Zach Gilgenbach has a long run in the first half of Thursday night’s rugby match against Avon Lake.

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Avon Lake's Ted Kilgore, left, gets hit by Avon's Preston Olson in the first half of Thursday's rugby match.

AVON — The Avon Lake Shoremen brought a very physical mindset against their rivals as they made all the physical plays as well as several straight kicks to beat Avon, 25-15 on Thursday in rugby action at Avon Stadium.

The Shoremen won more scrums than the Eagles (7-4) and Avon Lake’s Jacob Busch converted on 4 of 6 kick attempts, including a pair of free kicks, to secure their first win in a rivalry that is finding its way to the rugby pitch.

“The kids really stepped it up and played the full 60 minutes,” Avon Lake assistant coach Steve Maynard said. “It was good to end the half up. I think we stunned Avon a little bit since they had dominated us the last few years. It was good to end the half up and we continued the kicking, especially for position in the second half. We put them on their back heels playing more defense.”

Leading just 13-10 at the half, Avon Lake (3-2-1) outscored Avon (3-4-1) 12-5 in the second half by controlling the stoppages and winning all of its scrums. The Shoremen opened the second half scoring out of a scrum of Ted Kilgore grabbed the ball and sprinted across the try line for a 20-10 lead.

“They’re a really physical team,” Avon assistant coach Colin Murphy said. “They really came in and started putting a lot of extra attention into the rucks, putting extra people in. They maintained possession really well and as a result of that, they kept the ball, had good phases and scored tries because of it.”

Avon cut the lead in half five minutes later after Tom Shmelter muscled his way over the line. But the Eagles struggled in their kicking game as they went 0-for-3 in conversion attempts following tries.

The Shoremen shut the door in the 54th minute after Ezekeil Cratcha emerged from a lineout throw and subsequent maul with the ball, scoring to put the game away.

“That was something that we both conditioned for,” Maynard said. “We talked about this game as not to let up for five or ten minutes, especially after they scored and we scored to come back strong. The kids played a full 60 minutes and they deserve all the credit.”

Avon Lake fell behind 5-0 early after an Andrew Salvagni try, but responded as Garrett Easterly scored after running 20 yards out through the middle of the Eagles’ defense to take a 7-5 lead after Busch’s conversion. Busch converted consecutive free kicks to put his team up 13-5 before the Eagles cut the deficit to three after Ryan Steinmetz converted a lineout throw into a try right before the halftime whistle.

The Shoremen slowly amplified their physical presence, winning most of the scrums and not only making more full tackles, but at times having ballcarries not go down until multiple tacklers sent them to the ground.

“Their set pieces were really good,” Murphy said. “They won all their scrums. They may have won all of their lineouts and won a lot of ours, too. That shows that they’re getting their work done. It shows that that’s what disciplined teams do. They win their own set pieces.”

Though both programs are still relatively new, the players on both sides are familiar with each other and the rivalry continues to blossom on a new platform.

“These kids will play together over the summer just for skills and stuff, and they’ll get to know each other,” Maynard said. “Rugby is a little different culturally where after the game, and after seasons, kids get together and still hang out. There’s a lot of camaraderie.”

Rugby rules

• High school rugby consists of 15 players on each team, with 2 30-minute halves and a 5-minute halftime.

• To score a try, worth 5 points, an offensive player must down the ball in the end zone. The team will then attempt a conversion kick worth 2 points.

• After a foul, the team with advantage may either punt the ball, kick for goal if close enough, scrum or run the penalty.

• Kicking the ball through the goal posts on a free kick or drop kick in live play is good for 3 points.

• Players either move the ball by tossing it laterally, kicking or handing it off to a teammate.

• For more information on rugby, visit

Avon Lake 25, Avon 15

Northeast Ohio Boys League

Avon Lake (3-2-1) 13 12 — 25

Avon (3-4-1) 10 5 — 15

Scoring Summary

A — Andrew Silvagni try (kick failed)

AL — Garrett Easterly try (Jacob Busch kick)

AL — Busch free kick

AL — Busch free kick

A — Ryan Steinmetz try (kick failed)

AL — Ted Kilgore try (Busch kick)

A — Tom Shmelter try (kick failed)

AL — Ezekeil Cratcha try (kick failed)


Scrums Won — Avon Lake 7, Avon 4.

Kicks Made-Attempted — AL 4-6, A 0-3.

NOTED — The win was Avon Lake’s first rugby win over Avon according to Avon Lake assistant coach Steve Maynard.


Last Updated: 5/11/2013 5:09:38 PM EST

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