Victory Comes for Roanoke in Dying Moments
Never say die attitude and powerful scrums lead the day.
An injury and work depleted Roanoke RFC traveled to Lexington to face a VMI squad with numbers and a powerful drive to take a men's club scalp. Bolstered by the Four Hoursemen of Rocktown and old Roanoke Flyhalf John Welsh, Roanoke was ready to face the hard running Pack and kicking backs of the Keydets. Roanoke struck first with a beautifully executed back line move finished off with a perfectly timed pass by Justin Paxton, in his last match for RRFC, to put away James Robinson for a try. Both Clubs were lead from the front with punch and counter punch by the two packs. VMI's pack was led by their version of the Swede from Heartbreak Ridge as Thompson rampaged through the line with his pack mates both in support and charging the ball forward themselves. Roanoke's pack, as per usual, was led by Jason Sawyers, Will Atkinson, and Blair Willard as they relished the open play with the willingness to slash through the VMI line to start many of Roanoke's attacks. In defense Roanoke was led by Kyle Lawrence aka The Smiling Assassin, who never shirked from putting a shoulder into VMI's powerful pack runners - special mention to Ed Lemire who put his body and ultimately his face on the line in defense. With the lead having gone back and forth, VMI took a 15-17 lead into the final ten minutes of the match. The last few minutes of the match consisted of numerous scrums inside the VMI 22 and the Roanoke pack hammering a way at the try line. Victory was in hand as Blair Willard dove over the line only for the win to literally slip through his fingers as he Moe'd the try. After winning the ball back through the scrum several more phases saw Blair dot down what would end up being the winning try. There were several breathless seconds as VMI kicked off with no time left and charged down the attempted kick to touch, but Roanoke held on for the victory. Roanoke wants to thank VMI for the match and the great field to play on. Very special thanks go out to Dalen, Micah, Henry, and Steve of Rocktown RFC who came down to help us out and did much more than just show up and put on jersey, we couldn't have won without their or John Welsh's help. Man of the Match honors could have gone to a number of players, including Blair, but in the end the honors were given to Will Atkinson for his tireless work around the pitch, not to mention his strong work hooking and throwing in on the lineouts. Roanoke has a planned/unplanned weekend off before wrapping up the season under the lights at VA Tech on Friday, April 24th.