The past few weeks have were hard fought for the men in blue and orange. Having to battle against the great mauling team that was Albany, to the tremendous rucking ability of Buffalo and St. Bonnies, the Hammerheads have had 4 worthy matches thus far this season. Following the Hammerheads loss to Brockport, the men in orange were out for redemption.In their second week they took on Albany, out for blood the Hammerheads struck hard and often, but with great tackling and some outstanding running by the Albany centers and some good maul work from the forwards Albany was able to put up 36 points on Syracuse.
The following week during a sunny but extremely windy day Syracuse took on the Cortland Red Dragons. The Hammerheads riding the high from their first win of the season held fast on their pitch and held the Dragons scoreless while touching down 14 in a slightly one-sided affair.
By far the Hammerheads toughest test to date was the clash against up and coming St. Bonaventure. This was truly a battle of titans; St. Bonaventure coming into the game with an undefeated 2-0 record and threatening to overtake first place in the NYS Premier Division I standing. And Syracuse coming off a couple of big wins, and hoping to continue its campaign to win out the rest of its season traveled to Olean, New York to match-up. St. Bonaventure drew first blood when inside center Will Atkinson took a great short ball at pace and sliced the Hammerheads to touch down for the first try of the game.
The game had been overcast and just as the Hammerheads kicked off to the Bonnies the clouds broke open and gave the field and the players a more slippery surface to run and pass on. A mixture of wet conditions and defensive pressure came to a head as a St. Bonaventure knock-on lead to a sly pick-up and 40 meter try run by the Hammerheads inside center Kyle Harris. From there, the momentum began to shift. As time ticked away, the Hammerheads stuck their nose to the grindstone and with tries from David Bliss, Rich Gallina and an amazing pack-powered try the Hammerheads held St. Bonnies to their half. Though with all the good offence a last minute attention lapse led to a St Bonaventure try. With that the ref blew the whistle and the Hammerheads had passed a giant test only to look forward to reigning New York State Champs, Buffalo.
On the chilly morning in Buffalo the Hammerheads and Mad Turtles met to decide the fate of both teams, and both teams’ rankings in NYS. The rain had rendered the field sloppy and slippery underfoot which caused many of the players some problems rendering kicking a valuable skill. Buffalo struck first with a goal-line stand try against the men in orange. But on the reliable boot of Joe Jacobi, the Hammerheads slotted a penalty to take the game to 7-3. After a try Dan Corcoran, and a pair by Dave Bliss, the Hammerheads closed out the game with 22, but the Mad Turtles still had fight. Fighting through the late minute penalties Buffalo touched down for 10 more points, ending the game with a final of 22-17.
SU has an upcoming bye week, followed by their regular season finale at home vs Binghamton (1-3). They are sitting in 1st place in NYS, looking to secure a home game in the first round of the Northeast Rugby Union playoffs.