Woodlands Varsity vs St Pius (Feb 8 2019)
A first competitive game of the season saw The Woodlands travel to St Pius for what looked to be a tricky fixture.
St Pius started the game very strongly, confidently passing the ball around in both midfield and out wide. A half break by the St Pius 12 was stopped by a cover tackle from Tom Dixon, St Pius recycled the ball twice, creating a gap out on the left for the winger to sprint in for a try which was expertly converted by the St Pius fly-half.
The host continued on top after the opening try, but were unable to add to the early try allowing The Woodlands to slowly gain momentum and start to put pressure on the hosts and force errors. From one such error deep inside the defensive 22, Luke Rizzo was able to charge down a clearance kick from the St Pius 12, gather the ball and score under the posts, Manu Sanchez added the simple conversion to tie the scores.
As the first half wore on St Pius continued to be slightly on top, but excellent defensive work by The Woodlands midfield of Mattox King, Manu Sanchez and Hyrum Myers supported by the whole pack, managed to keep the hosts out until an infringement just before half time allowed St Pius a relatively straight forward kick at goal to retake the lead.
Half-time score: 10 - 7
It’s not clear what Coach Frank and his coaching team said to The Woodlands forwards at half-time, but they certainly started the second half strongly. The scrum as front row of Austin, Luke Rizzo and Manny Guzman took charge, and then in the loose forcing St Pius into a number of penalties for not releasing the ball after the tackle. As The Woodlands pressed toward the St Pius line , St Pius began to feel the pressure and infringe. After a late tackle well after the ball had gone on Orrin Bizer was spotted by the referee, Orrin had the chance to level the scores but put his penalty kick just wide of the post from on the 22 meter line. However, The Woodlands pressure was forcing errors throughout the St Pius team with wayward kicks and dropped passes becoming a feature, and with the St Pius scrum going backwards, Parker Callegari was ableto disrupt St Pius ball almost at will. The St Pius line-out was still secure but the service to the midfield slowed allowing Tom Dixon to force a loose pass and almost capitalize but his hack ahead was a fraction too strong and he couldn’t ground the ball before the dead ball line.
The Woodlands continued to pressure St Pius inside the hosts half. From a solid scrum Hyrum Myers drew in the St Pius midfield defense allowing Tom Dixon to make 15 meters into the 22. From the recycled ball Orrin Bizer entered the line at pace and wriggled out of two tackles before being caught about 10 meters short. However, rather than go to ground Orrin was able to stay on his feet and was driven over the line by Mattox King and Jack Burgess.With the conversion added, the Woodlands tails were well and truly up. Cam Markle made an incisive break after more weak St Pius handling only for play to be brought back for a high tackle penalty . The Woodlands finally made the pressure tell as Luke Rizzo made immediate amends for a crooked line out throw on the 5 meter line by winning the ensuing scrum against the head, the backs using the ball quickly and once again Orrin Bizer breaking weak tackles to score his second try which Manu Sanchez again converted to extend The Woodlands lead beyond a single try.
St Pius did try to force their way back into the game but when the home number 12 was shown a yellow card for a cynical offside offense The Woodlands closed out a well earned but hard fought win.
Final score: 10 – 21
Tries – Luke Rizzo, Orrin Bizer (2)
Conversions – Manu Sanchez (3)
Man of the match – Orrin Bizer
Woodlands Varsity vs West Houston (Feb 2 2019)
The Woodlands returned to Alden Bridge after two away fixtures in New Orleans for a final pre-season game against West Houston. From the kick off the home side had both territorial and possession advantage. After a number of penalties stretched the West Houston defense Hyrum Myers was able to find space, and feed Landon Smith to touch point near the posts for the opening score, which Manu Sanchez made 7 points with a routine conversion.
West Houston came back strongly and only some strong try line defense from The Woodlands kept them at bay. Slowly the hosts got back on top and after being camped on the visitors 22 meter line for several minutes, good back play saw Jordan Bowers go close in the right hand corner and set up quick ball which saw Landon scored his second try of the game with ManuSanchez adding a trick conversion. The next score again came after concerted Woodlands pressure with Tom Dixon taking a quick penalty 5 meters from goal and driving over. Orrin Bizer added a fourth try almost immediately after Manu Sanchez seized on a loose ball in his own 22 and released Orrin to sprint down the left wing with Manu Sanchez adding the extras. On the stroke of half-time The Woodlands added a fifth try after a lovely inside break by Mattox King off a scrum allowed him to feed Manu Sanchez with a perfect overhead pass for Manu to score under the posts for a further 7 points.
Half-time score: 33 – nil
The Woodlands continued in the ascendency as the second period ended with a half break by Tom Dixon, allowing him to find Manu Sanchez to sprint over in the right hand corner, then after strong running by Tom Dixon and Austin down the center of the pitch, Elijah made ground and from the resulting ruck scrum-half Ben Ure made a darting run down the blindside but was injured in the tackle.
The Woodlands continued to press and after a series of penalties in and around the visitors 22, Manu Sanchez fed Tom Dixon from another penalty and Tom scored under the posts for a converted try. After more Woodlands pressure and more penalties, Parker Callegari fed Cam Markle from a 5 meter penalty to score his first Varsity try to bring up the half century of points. Shortly after clean line out ball from Landon Smith allowed Manu Sanchez to free Orrin Bizer with a long pass in midfield who in turn fed Lane O’Brien who finished well in the left hand corner, soon to be followed by Orrin Bizer racing down the same wing for a try under the posts after quick ball created by Cam Markle midfield burst. Orin added the conversion.
The next score came from left winger Lane O’Brien after Manu Sanchez was stopped short after being fed by Tom Dixon off a 5 meter scrum, and the ball was recycled out to Orrin Bizerwho freed Lane to score in the corner before Orrin nailed the difficult conversion to give The Woodlands a 69 to nil victory.
The Woodlands Varsity vs Dallas Jesuit
Saturday January 19th 2019
The Woodlands kicked off their season on a cold and very windy
January afternoon against a strong looking Dallas Jesuit team at
Alden Bridge. The opening 15 minutes were very even with The
Woodlands having a territorial advantage and Dallas a
possession advantage. There we no scoring chances for either
team until half way through the half when a quickly taken throwin
on the right touchline caught Dallas unprepared, Orrin Bizer
feeding Dyer Mitchell who was well tackled 10 meters short of
the line. However, when The Woodlands reinforcements at the
ruck forced Dallas to infringe Manu Sanchez was the quickest to
react and scampered over for the first score of the game.
From the restart Dallas entered The Woodlands’ half for the first
time with attacking intent but a handling error gave The
Woodlands a scrum on their own 22 meter line. With the scrum
going against the head, the Dallas no.8 was able to sprint down
the blind side to score. Boosted by this breakthrough the Dallas
pack began to exert pressure on the hosts and after a series of
penalties The Woodlands were reduced to 14 men temporarily.
From the subsequent tap penalty, the Dallas forwards added a
second try with the conversion being added.
Half-time: The Woodlands 5 – Dallas Jesuit 12
Dallas extended their lead immediately in the second half before
The Woodlands strongly, and from a tap penalty on the Dallas 10
meter line Tom Dixon was stopped just short of the line. The
Woodlands forwards recycled the ball well and scrum-half Ben
fed Tom Dixon who drove over adjacent to the posts allowing an
easy conversion. A second try for Tom Dixon soon followed as
Landon Smith was quickest to react to a Dallas knock-on and
from the muck Tom Dixon beat the Dallas defense on the
outside, Manu Sanchez adding the conversion to draw level.
This didn’t last long however as concerted pressure by the Dallas
pack led to The Woodlands infringements inside the defensive
22 and another converted try for the Dallas no. 8 to lead by 7.
The ebb and flow of a very even game continued with The
Woodlands forwards exerting pressure inside the Dallas 22 with
strong running from both Manny Guzman and Cam Markle
almost breaching the Dallas defense before another quick tap
penalty by Manu Sanchez restored parity. Dallas soon took the
lead again after several strong forward drives punched holes in
the home defense, and then went further ahead with a successful
penalty kick. The Woodlands hit back immediately with no. 8
Tom Dixon completing his hattrick of tries with a surging run
straight through the Dallas midfield, Manu Sanchez adding the
extras, but there was insufficient time for The Woodlands to
complete the comeback and the game ended 34-33 to Dallas.