Saturday, September 14, 2019
Randall’s Island, Field 75, New York City

A dropped pass. A ball not protected in a ruck. A kick not making a touch. A lapse in focus at a lineout.

There were many missed opportunities for the Lions to take control of an otherwise testy match that included a dust up, a red card in the 79th minute, and a shortfall of points as we dropped to Lansdowne in the second match of the league season, 26-27.

After defending much of the match from our own side of the halfway line, the Lion’s showed grit in a hard fought second half rally that several times brought us within inches of the lead. Better execution in any number of areas would have made the difference in a match that was well within grasp for the Village Lions.

“It got scrappy at the end. We played well. We’ll get there. Next week we’ll get there.”
– Captain Mike Tagliaferro

“A one point loss, the guys are pretty gutted,” stated Coach Nic Clapinson following the match. “To come up that short is rough. It was a much better performance than last week. Things are starting to click.”

There were five changes to the starting lineup, with rookie Milo Hall making his first appearance in the forwards – earning Man of the Match honors in the process – plus Edgar Perez and James Fermin getting the nod in the front row. Felipe Bezares got his first start of the season at center, while Sergio Pulido made a welcome return at fullback.

“We had to play without three starters today” pointed out Coach Clap. “Three solid first teamers. So there’s some players who really stepped it up.”

Landsdowne stuck first with a converted try at 6:15 mark. Captain Mike Tagliaferro struck back at the 12th minute with a try of his own, converted by Rich Parsley, 7-7.

The opposition was quick to respond at 15:03 with an unconverted try, 7-12. The first half closed with both sides toeing off blow for blow: a try from Tagliaferro, converted by Parsley, and a penalty goal for a 14-15 halftime scoreline in favor of Lansdowne.

The second half was just as hard fought. Lansdowne put in a converted try on at the 50th minute mark and an unconverted try at the 68th minute. The Lions big number 1, Edgar Perez rumbled in for two big tries at the 60th and 78th minute, with Fernando Torija converting the second try. Final score, 26 Lions, 27 Lansdowne.

A charge at the line.

The Lions came close to taking the lead many times in the second half.

“If we work on our ball retention and our kicking from hand, make our kicks to touch, a little bit better kicking for points and those games will be ours.”
– Coach Nic Clapinson

“Tough freakin game,” shared Captain Mike Tagliaferro. “Close one, hard fought. Smash mouth forwards game. We had ‘em and had good momentum in the second half. We scored right away. It got scrappy at the end. We played well. We’ll get there. Next week we’ll get there.”

https://youtu.be/UfQ3JYccMJQ

Coach Clap concluded, “If we work on our ball retention and our kicking from hand, make our kicks to touch, a little bit better kicking for points and those games will be ours.”

Overall, it was a much improved performance for the new look Village Lions. There was a certain fire in the belly that has been missing for some time. Yes, there is much work to be done, but we can look at this first phase of the 2019 league season and recognize that we have turned a corner.

The Lions face first place Brooklyn in the third league match of the season next Saturday, September 21 at 8pm under the lights in Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY, USA.

The Leonas return to league action when visiting New Haven next Saturday following a bye-week.

This week’s schedule:
Conditioning with MADE
Monday and Wednesday from 6:30-8:15pm ET
Morningside Dr & West 113th Street, New York, NY, USA

Training
Tuesday and Wednesday 7:30-10:00pm ET
KIPP Academy in Mott Haven
730 Concourse Village W, The Bronx, NY 10451, USA

Matches:
Lions at Brooklyn
Leonas at New Haven
The Lion Kings take a short break, returning for the Village Lions’ Family and Friends day on Randalls Island, Saturday September 28.

Final Score: 26-27
Halftime Score: 14-15
Lions Scorers: Tagliaferro (2T), Perez (2T), Parsley (2C), Torija (1C).
Man of the Match: Milo Hall

Lineup:
1. Edgar Perez
2. James Fermin
3. Eugene Aiken (Herman Marcano) (Seth Brown)
4. Chris Tite (Matt Marcano)
5. James Johnston (Kimani Davis)
6. Ryan Redican (Rob Young)
7. Milo Hall
8. Mike Tagliaferro C
9. Greg Alexander
10. Richard Parsley V-C (Damon Griggs)
11. Fernando Torija
12. Felipe Bezares
13. Julian Watts
14. Rashid Perkins – Red Card
15. Sergio Pulido

16. Matt Marano
17. Herman Marcano
18. Kyoshi Atkins
19. Seth Brown
20. Kimani Davis
21. Rob Young
22. Damon Griggs
23. Jacob Marcia
Injury Reserve: Seth Brown

Head Coach: Nic Clapinson
Asst Coach: Steven Mendoza
Athletic Trainer: Mike Witter
Manager: Eric Han
Asst Manager: Grisha Rudensky

Director of Rugby: John Greally
President: JP Lindsey

Division Results for September 14, 2019:
Village Lions 26, Lansdowne 27
NYRFC 24, Brooklyn 59
Old Blue 12, Gotham 8