The forecast leading in to Saturday’s match with Wilmington was looking great in the days ahead of the game. The day turned out to be a sunny 70 degrees. That being said, as is tradition, it was the worst version of that temperature at the pitch. The sun was beating down and it surely didn’t feel like the last weekend in September. Wilmington are in their sophomore season back in Division 2 after a one year stint in the top tier. Its been tough sledding for them so far, having lost by a century to the Dragons last season at home. To say they were out for vengeance would be an understatement. More than league position, this fixture was about pride for Wilmington. On the Dragons end, the presence of club founder, John Tomlinson always lights a fire for Doylestown. The site of new players shaking the hand of the man who made it all possible always helps honor and signify the great tradition that exists with The Doylestown Rugby Football Club.
Play started out with the Dragons firmly on the front foot. Through extensive ball movement and superior work rate the Doylestown forwards were able to spring Matt Frederick and the backline through for the first points of the game. Punctuated, with authority, via a vicious Matt Fredrick fend. Try touched down in the corner, difficult conversion barely missed. 5-0. Doylestown.
Unfortunately the Dragons allowed penalties and sloppy play to dictate the next ten minutes. With the cherry on top for Wilmington being a blocked kick off the back of a Doylestown ruck, deflected into the goal area where they managed to fall on it. An unlucky play but a just reward after the Dragons played with little respect for the ball. That was all it would take for the Dragons to be slapped awake. They would have to work if they wanted to come out with the margin of victory they were used to.
The rest of the first half was dynamically martialed by flyhallf Dylan Hamilton. With 2 trys of his own and three others set up through marvelous team play (one for Steve Kornock, one for Scott Neff, and another for Matt Frederick) The game was comfortably in hand by half time. With 3/5 conversions made, the score sat at 36-5. A dominant final 25 minutes of the half by Doylestown and especially by Dylan Hamilton. The scrummaging and lineouts for Doylestown were comfortably managed and the defense was causing havoc for Wilmington.
The second half was bookended by unconverted Wilmington tries. The first was after a series of penalties led to a push in try from the 5 meter line after a well taken lineout. Poor defensive communication in this moment led to Doylestown quickly shaking themselves back to life. Matt Hartwell capitalized for Doylestown’s next points and bravely touched down between the posts, under pressure to make the kick simple for Hamilton. It was then 3 consecutive unconverted trys for the Dragons. Two for Max Compo and a completed brace for Scott Neff.
Throughout the second half, a full compliment of reinforcements were deployed, allowing every Dragon to sell out for the win. Not once did the level of play drop. This was especially noticeable in the pack’s set pieces where they remained dominant throughout.
The final Doylestown try of the game was well worth noting. Veteran, dynamo center/wing Kevin Hockings made his season debut for the Dragons and took no time in making his expected mark on the game. His electric speed and shiftiness were still fully on display. Try scored. Conversion made by first year senior player, and up and coming backline option, Jeremy Ault.
Final score 65-15. The Doylestown 'Man of the Match’ - Sponsored by Cold Spring Beverage - was Andrew Decolli. The rock of the scrum, he also managed 30 minutes at flanker, and found himself playing 9 in a few instances. Always a dynamic player, his presence has been a massive boon to the Doylestown pack.