Old Glory Dominant in Season Opening Win - Week 1 Recap
By: Alistair Kirsch-Poole
Feb 18, 2023 - 10:00pm
Old Glory put on a very different display tonight, winning in dominant fashion against the Chicago Hounds. At one point up by 24 points, the team has clearly shed the weight of last year's struggles and come to play in 2023. It was as good a season opener as you could as for.
The match started beautifully for Old Glory. Chicago missed the kickoff, which Old Glory recovered. A couple phases later, Tusitala broke down the weak side and tossed a no-look pass to Grosse, who held his feet long enough to go in for the team's first try. It was also his first ever professional try, just thirty seconds into his debut.
Under some presure after the kickoff, Old Glory cleared their lines and then stole the lineout. However, Bonilla's kick went straight into touch to give Chicago another opportunity. The lineout was sloppy again, but OGDC knocked it on leading to a Hounds scrum. An infringement gave Chicago the option of three points, which they took, with Carty nailing the kick.
There were moments of excitment in the following minutes, with the possession trading back and forth through brilliant play by both teams. In the end, though, it was a South who set up the next scoring opportunity with a blocked kick. OGDC won possession and won a penalty, which Diaz Bonilla ably converted for three points.
The Hounds had an opportunity after the kickoff, with a clearance kick giving them space to run in the OGDC half. However, despite many phases they failed to make any ground. Eventually, a penalty gave Chicago another shot at three, which they took successfully.
Chicago took the kickoff well, but immediately suffered a turnover as Souchon stole the ball at the breakdown. It quickly found its way to Bavaro, who fought off a tackle and scored. Diaz Bonilla missed the kick, however, to leave it at five points.
Any momentum was short lived, with Chicago winning a penalty on the kickoff to set up a five meter scrum. It only took a couple of phases before one of the Hounds pushed his way over for the try. With the conversion successful, Old Glory's lead was cut to just two.
In the next stretch, it was Old Glory on the front foot. After flubbing a first scoring chance, the team got back into the Chicago half. A penalty in front of the sticks was too good to pass up, with Diaz Bonilla giving OGDC a bit of extra breathing room.
Chicago gained a long stretch of possession, but failed to make noticeable forward progresss. In the end, they opted to kick it, with Baker then cutting straight through the Hounds' line to get into the Chicago half. A high shot on Sa'u saw a Chicago player sent off with a yellow card, and OGDC immediately capitalized, pushing a maul over for a try. Diaz Bonilla's kick from the sideline was wide, leaving the gap at ten points.
Old Glory visited the try zone again shortly after. A kicking exchange ended favorably for OGDC, with Chicago conceding a penalty. Diaz Bonilla took it quickly and passed to Baker, who made an incisive run. The ball then made it's way to Sa'u on the wing, who fought through a couple tackles for a score in the corner.
Halftime: Old Glory DC 30 - 13 Chicago Hounds
Old Glory came blazing out of the gates in the second half, too, with a kick from Diaz Bonilla chased down by Fermin Martinez to get Old Glory in Chicago territory. After several phases of pushing closer to the line, an inside pass from Diaz Bonilla set Baker up with a try. The kick after was easy for Diaz Bonilla.
With a yawning 24-point deficet to overcome, Chicago needed to find some answers. A cutting run, one of the few they'd had so far, put them in the OGDC 22. They lost ground on every phase, though, with only a penalty giving them another opportunity. A Chicago player was able to crash forward and stretch for the line, getting an automatic seven points from the try under the posts.
Chicago made a couple of other pushes, but any progress made was undone by knock-ons. OGDC got the ball back and Baker put in a great 50-22 to set up a lineout. While the maul stalled, Old Glory maintained possession and earned a penalty. Tusitala got the ball off the lineout and dodged his way straight through the line for try. Even with the missed kick, Old Glory had broken forty on the afternoon.
The Hounds had significant possession and began to look more treatening on attack. However, mistakes still plauged their performance, with knock-ons especially stilfing their progress. In the end, though, Chicago would get their try bonus point. A couple penalties got them in position before a hard-charging prop gave them try number four. With the conversion good, they had narrowed the gap to fifteen.
Neither team would score again, with both playing aggressively but making mistakes before they could finish. A final Chicago push to the tryline was dropped, with Old Glory breaking out to the half. Despite some great runs, they weren't able to grab a seventh try, with the ball being kicked out to end the half.
Fulltime: Old Glory DC 42 - 27 Chicago Hounds