The Philadelphia Fight advanced to their fourth consecutive Northern Conference Final as they took down the Black Foxes by a score of 76 – 6.
It was the hottest day since 2012 where temperatures reached over 100o F. The heat, accompanied by the muggy air, made the conditions for this playoff match very difficult on both sides.
The match started off in the Fight’s favor as the Fight were awarded a penalty on their first set. Two plays later the Fight scored in the left hand corner through a cut-out ball from halfback Joel Weeks to left center Louis Tulio. Tulio would add two more tries, one more in the first half and one in the second half. The conversion from left winger Mike Timpano was unsuccessful; however, this would be the only kick Timpano would miss as he went 11 from 12 on the evening.
On the next set, the Fight went over again as Weeks racked up his first of evening. He was on the receiving end of the outside-inside passing from Left backrower Fraser Stirling and left prop Josh Vaartjes. In the first 7 minutes, the Fight were up 10 – 0.
The Fight were in a good position early on, but the next set proved to be costly. After a Fight knock-on in their own half, the Black Foxes were given a scrum opportunity and did not let it go to waste. The Black Foxes were able to get onto the front foot and were awarded for a penalty on their hard work. After the second play in the set, the Black Foxes went over the whitewash and were able to dot down their only try on the evening. It was converted. That would be the last points for the 2016 Black Foxes Season.
The Fight seemed to gather their composure for the next couple of minutes. After a few penalties, the Fight were put in a prime scoring opportunity on the Foxes try line. Vaartjes was able to capitalize on the Foxes poor marker play, as he took a hitup off the the dummyhalf and scored a try under the sticks. In the 14th minute the Fight lead 16 – 6.
From this point on the Fight displaced their dominance and fine form. In the 22nd minute, Tulio got over for his second try. He was on the receiving end of a nice cut-out ball from replacement Zac Reichenbach. In the 27th minute, right center and captain Rhys Bowdich was able to keep the score board ticking over again as he went over the line untouched from a 30 meter run he took off the base of the scrum. The final points in the first half came from Stirling, from a bustling run where Stirling was able to use his strength to get over the white wash.
At halftime the Fight were leading 34 – 6.
The second half was much like the first. The Fight went on to score seven more tries. Tulio scored his 3rd from a sneaky dart out of dummyhalf in the 48th minute. Lock Casey Clark scored a try from a show and go close to the line in the 55th minute. Bowdich was able to go over on two more occasions in the second half, one from a dart from dummyhalf much like Tulio’s 3rd and one to finish a nice break from Weeks.
In the 62nd minute, Weeks was able to score another try from a nice linebreak from Clark. Fullback Roman Lowery was also able to score a long range try from a set play on the right hand fringe. The final try was scored from right wing Brian Madden, who received a pass from Bowdich 5 meters from the line and had to put his dancing shoes on to beat the defenders and get over the line.
At fulltime, the scoreboard read 76 – 6.
In a rematch of last year’s Northern Conference Final, the Fight will host the Boston 13s. During last year’s match the 13s were able to hand the Fight their first loss at A.A. Garthwaite stadium since 2013. The Fight travelled up to Boston during Round 6 and were able to beat the 13s by a score of 22 to 16; however, that means nothing to each team.
Come on out and support your Fight!
Tries: Bowdich (3), Tulio (3), Weeks (2), Lowery, Stirling, Madden, Vaartjes
Goals: Timpano (11 for 12)
Halftime score: 34 – 6
Fulltime score: 72 – 6
For Photos from the Match, click HERE Photos Courtesy of Gene Thorpe Photography, Official photographer of the Philadelphia Fight
Fight vs Black Foxes Mid Atlantic Playoff
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