New York snatches victory in Connecticut.
New York managed to bring to an end the unbeaten run of the Fairfield Yankees in a hard fought and physical game that went right to the wire.
Fairfield Yankees started the game on the front foot with New York struggling to get a foothold into the game in the opening exchanges and the home side took the lead after 7 minutes. The Yankees built up a number of good drives in the NYRC 22 before Joseph Bonano busted through 2 tackles to score under the posts. Sevuloni Naturudregadrega added the extras.
Both sides exchanged possession for the next 20 minutes with a number of penalties and dropped balls breaking up some good opportunities for both sides. Fairfield looked at their most dangerous when the play was loose and a couple of counter attacks were stopped with some impressive try line defense from New York.
New York managed to start building up some impressive phase play and were rewarded when Mitch Irwin burst through the Yankees gain line to get within 10m of the try line. Some quickly recycled ball and good hands down the line saw Brandon Solomon step his opposite number to cut inside to make the score 7-5. Jonny Chia pulled the conversion attempt just wide.
Shortly before the end of the half, quick thinking from Naturudregadrega at a breakdown penalty saw him tap and kick over the defense. Solomon got in front and slid across to get to the ball first but a cruel bounce of the ball for the New York winger saw Naturudregadrega gather the ball and beat the covering tackle to score. He failed to make the kickable conversion however and the half time score was 12-5 to Fairfield.
New York needed to start the second half well but it was the Yankees who opened the scoring after 3 minutes of the 2nd period. Naturudregadrega collected a long kick and beat several players on a mazy run down the right wing. He managed to pass off to Bonano who was stopped just short. The Yankees would recycle quick ball and prop Michael Vlacci forced his way over to score. The conversion was missed and the Yankees were 17-5 up.
The score seemed to galvanize New York who began to dominate the collision and build up long periods in the Yankees half without managing to get the score their play deserved. Irwin, AARON LUPARI and Robbie Ennis in particular made a lot of ground with some powerful running. With the clock running down and Fairfield’s dogged defense standing resolute it looked like New York may leave the game with nothing to show for their efforts.
However with 7 minutes left New York managed to pull themselves back into the game. The forwards put together a great run of hit ups in the Yankees 22, busting through the tackles and edging closer to the line. Eventually Joe Blomfield crashed over the line to add a try to his impressive defensive performance. Chia added the extras to make it a 17-12.
With 3 minutes left on the clock it looked as if New York had scored from a rolling maul, however the referee deemed the ball was held up. New York set back up from the scrum and kept attacking the line unable to get through. However in their efforts to defend their line the Yankees shot up early and were penalized for offside. A quick tap penalty saw New York get closer to the line. They managed to recycle the ball and with just over a minute left Solomon got over out wide to level the game at 17-17. With the clock ticking down the pressure was on for Chia to slot the points from out wide and he did not disappoint, dissecting the posts with an accurate kick to make it 19-17 and secure the win for New York.