Here, on Friday, May 3, the eve of the MAC Championship, the Doylestown Men's Rugby Football Club sit 2-0 in playoff games, 10-0 on the season, a 2018 MAC Championship sits on their mantle to defend, and they still have a point to prove. This season has played out much like last season did. Yet, that isn’t to say the Dragons haven’t made massive changes and developments.
The addition of big time players this season like Bruce Dolan, Mike Powell, Matt Hartwell, Colin Parker, Trent “Boban” Petro, and Kevin Mirales, provided Doylestown with the ability to rotate players into more natural positions, utilize a much deeper bench, and inject different aspects of dynamic rugby at different parts of the game to gain tactical advantages.
The road to get here came through two playoff wins against regular league foes, Old Gaelic and the Lancaster Roses, and one EPRU Championship. The Lancaster Roses were downed 55-7 in Doylestown’s final home game of the season. It was a beautiful day to play and scoring was well spread out amongst the team. As has become customary, two tries for Bruce Dolan and another for Eric French. Two incredibly hard working players who don’t always find the scoresheet finally saw their hard work pay off, Steve Kornock and Pat McDonald. The final tries were scored by Dylan Hamilton, Kyle Markovitch, and Kevin Hockings. Dylan Hamilton had 20 points on the day. Bruce Dolan was Doylestown’s man of the match.
This victory set up a EPRU/MAC North Championship Final against Old Gaelic. Gaelic and Doylestown played each other in their first game of the season. That game was Old Gaelic’s only loss of the season and Doylestown’s narrowest margin of victory in two years at that point. The league was set up for a well matched final battle in terms of record. The weather agreed and the stage was set. By day’s end, one team would hold the crown.
Scoring against Old Gaelic was started off within the first two minutes by none other than outside center Bruce Dolan. The points came off a delicious offload from Hamilton after a deep Doylestown kick followed by a quick turnover. Hamilton, conversion made. The scoring hardly slowed from there. The move from fullback to wing didn’t hamper Max Compo or the backline one bit. Next offload: Steve Kornock. Next try: Max Compo. It was his first of two in the first half. Finally it was time for S. Kornock to dot down one of his own. Two in two weeks for the gritty center. Bruce Dolan ended the first half just the way he started it. Altogether, captain and fly-half Dave Kornock led the team to 31 first half points, all scored by the backline. To see anyone other than Dylan Hamilton at 10 for Doylestown is a rare sight in recent years.
Doylestown showed how truly special a collection of talent they have by shuffling a handful of backs around for this game. Hamilton performed with poise at fullback. It will be hard for teams to match the sheer amount of high IQ playmakers that coaches Chris Amoratis and Mike McCandless have the tough job of picking between each week.
The forwards came alive in the second half two tries for Matt Frederick, one for Matt Frederick, and another for fan favorite Pat McDonald. Two in two weeks and at just the right time with each game coming with increased importance. There is no weak spot on this team. The ability to run the offense through either the forwards or the backs is a true strength. Good luck.
Final score 57-14.
The road ahead goes right through the Raleigh Vipers, by way of Founder’s Field in Pittsburgh, PA. Here, tomorrow at 4PM, the Dragons will have the chance to repeat as MAC Champions. The National Round of 16. The foe that lies in front of them is their MAC semi-final opponent from 2018, Raleigh. Last year Raleigh brought to the table great size, tenacity, and mobility. It was, up to the that point, the first test of the Dragon’s quest. Doylestown answered the call, and did again the next day against now promoted NOVA in the MAC Final.
This year, however, is an entirely different animal. No more two games in two days. Both teams will come in rested, healthy as they can hope to be at this point in the season, and strategically prepared. It will be a great test and a great example of the different styles of successful Division 2 men’s rugby in the USA. Both teams have their eyes set on a National Championship. Tomorrow, at approximately quarter to six in the evening, one of those dreams will be over.
Keep your eyes on the DRFC social media pages for info about a potential live stream.
Up the Dragons!