UR club rugby kept their winning streak going on Saturday in postseason action against St. Bonaventure University. In preserving their perfect record of 6-0, the Uglies have asserted themselves as the top dogs in the extremely competitive Division II club sports arena.

Unlike most of their regular season wins, the Uglies triumphantly handed the Bonnies a loss without faltering once throughout the course of the match. After an early lead in the first half, the Uglies never let go.

“This was the hardest game yet this year and it was the first one we didn’t decide to cut close,” junior and prop Vikram Vijay said.

Once again the Uglies’ forwards were in great form, winning the large majority of the rucks.

The scrums were also lop-sided with the Uglies wreaking havoc on the Bonnies.

“Our scrum was quite effective in stopping the opposing scrums while lineouts were consistently won by both sides,” junior and locke William Conwell said.

By halftime, the ruggers soon found themselves playing in mud due to the steady rain throughout the day. These poor ball-handling conditions forced both teams to abandon any kind of flashy running and passing, allowing only for a straightforward smash-brothers kind of play.

Standout sophomore and hooker, Steve Goff, flourished in the difficult muddy conditions using his classic bruising style of running.

“I did alright considering it was tough conditions to tackle,” Goff said. “It was easy for someone who runs straight ahead.”

The Bonnies, who usually play an aerial pass-intensive style of rugby, had some success despite the rain.

However, their efforts fell short in the end.

“They did pass the ball out pretty well in the rain, but we were able to stop them,” sophomore and locke Colin O’Banion said.

The UR backs were also able to adapt to the wet and rainy conditions – led in large part by sophomore and wing Kenneth Gayles.

“The backs have done very well considering the loss of key players from last year,” Gayles said. “Our biggest strength is our aggressiveness and stamina.”

Tries were scored by sophomore and scrumhalf Nathan Ross, senior and flanker Barry Gomoll and sophomore outside center Mike Pavlak, racking up 28 points. Senior and captain Matt Venzin was three for three in penalty kicks and two for two in conversion kicks, solidifying the Uglies dominance over the Bonnies with only 15 points.

The Uglies travel to Batavia to face SUNY Cortland in the Empire Division II Championship at 11 a.m. on Saturday. With a win against Cortland, the Uglies would clinch a bid to the Northeastern Division II playoffs and face the No. 4 team out of the New England Division. Although the potential of this young team is great, they are staying focused with a one-game-at-a-time kind of attitude.

“I’m expecting a hard but winnable game against Cortland,” O’Banion said. “We beat them last spring to win the upstate tournament.”

The Uglies have, without a doubt, done big things this year – and there’s no reason to think that they will stop shaking things up anytime soon.

“The main reason we keep winning is because of our drive – no matter the odds we never give up, thanks to our fitness, great leadership in our captains and our coach,” Gayles said.

Edwards can be reached at cedwards@campustimes.org.



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