They say that every boxer has a plan until they get hit. Well last weekend the Brooklyn Barons, a local rugby team, were not only punched hard, they were knocked down. The Barons A side team lost 32-0 and B side lost 24-0, both teams being shutout for the first time. The Barons seemed to have failed a very tough test, to beat the defending division champs on the road on a bad weather day.
The A side game started out positively as Brooklyn turned over a ruck immediately from kickoff, made a quick pass and broke the defensive line, but the final pass after a couple were knocked-on (dropped forward). This one instance encapsulated the whole game offensively for Brooklyn. The lack of finishing edge that Brooklyn displayed in the first ten minutes was on display for the entire game. Unfortunately for the Barons their uncharacteristic lack of finishing was to be combined with uncharacteristically poor team defense and tackling. In rapid fire fashion over the second 10 minutes of the game, Danbury followed up go ball control play by the pack by spinning the ball outside to its backline and scoring 2 great run-in tries both converted. The rest of the half was played to a stalemate and the Brooklyn went into the half only down 14-0.
In the second half, the lack of mental discipline individually and team-wise proved to become too much for Brooklyn. Captain Justin Knight was part of a dual sin-binning (10 min penalty box) and the defensive lapses increased as the game went on. Danbury were able to score a 2 penalty field goals during the 14 on 14 patch of play and continued with an unconverted try when it went back to 15 on 15. In the final 10 minutes of the game as Brooklyn attempted to make impact substitutes and deal with the fatigue and injuries that come with every game, the Barons couldn’t stop Danbury from running in 2 more tries (only 1 converted).
The B-side game was a more competitive game as the majority of the Danbury A-side played in the B game. However, their fatigue was countered by their experience of playing together something that the fresher Brooklyn B-side didn’t have in its favor. The same lack of finishing edge that undid the A-side, undid the B-side. The B-side although provided a tougher fight however, the consistent pressure provided by Danbury allowed them to breakaway towards the edge of the match. The effort by the B-side is displayed in the fact that the man of the match for both the Backs and Pack came from the B-side match.
For their next games, the Barons have a lot of soul-searching to do. It remains to be seen whether the Barons will get-up and fight again or stumble around searching for their feet? An average first year team would likely stumble around, but nothing has been average about Brooklyn’s season, so only time will tell.