Match Reports: St. Paul Jazz Pigs D2 and D4 vs. Eastside Banshees D2 and D4

The St. Paul Jazz Pigs D2 and D4 squads kicked off their season Saturday, August 27, 2016 hosting the Eastside Banshees at the Jazz Pigs’ beautiful pitch in Maplewood.  The grass had been recently cut and the lines freshly painted.  There had been a slight amount of rain; just enough to make the ground slightly softer when landing on it and the ball just more difficult to catch.   The sun came peaking out behind the clouds making the air temperature in the mid 70s.  A perfect day to play rugby.

The Jazz Pigs started the first match against the Banshees D2 squad.  The Piggies sent a message to the Banshees by retrieving their own kick on kick-off.  From there the Pigs marched down the field, smashing the Banshees in the mouth, making them regret not catching the ball.  As the Pigs marched closer to the Banshees try zone, the Banshees became flustered and committed a penalty within their own 10 meters.  The Pigs took advantage of this mistake with a quick tap and smashed the ball into the try zone to take an early lead, 5-0.

Unfortunately, this lead did not last long as the Pigs committed penalty and the Banshees took advantage.  They kicked for touch, caught the ball on their own line-out, and then marched the ball into the try zone with a maul to even the score 5-5.

For the rest of the half, the scoring was one-sided.  The Banshees capitalized on Jazz Pigs mistakes; whereas, the Pigs were unable to capitalize on the Banshees mistakes.  The score at half was 5-22; Banshees lead.

This did not discourage the Pigs as they came out from half scoring a try and conversion to bring the score to 12-22.  The second half was a hotly contested half with the Banshees scoring an additional try; however, they did so through undisciplined play.  They received multiple yellow cards for a dump tackle, repeated high tackles, and repeated off-sides.  As time ran out, the Banshees were able to score one more try to take the final score to 12-33.

The D4 match did not goes as well for the Bombers.  The Banshees came roaring out and took a 33-7 lead into half-time; however, the Bombers made multiple adjustments to make the second half more competitive.  Ultimately, the Banshees took the match with a final score of 45-7.  While the Banshees won the match, the Bombers were able to get many young players into the match to gain more experience.  Furthermore, there were some Pig who played 80 minutes in the D2 match and jumped in the D4 match to help out.

The Jazz Pigs and Bombers may have dropped two matches against the Eastside Banshees on Saturday, but they did not lose the St. Paul spirit.  They fought hard, delivered bone crushing hits, and punished the Banshees for every meter earned.  And as always, the Jazz Pigs and Bombers won the social.

The Jazz Pigs and Bombers will have two weeks to make adjustments before their next matches on Saturday, September 10th against Metropolis’ D2 and D4 squads at the All-MN Rugby Tournament.

Once a Jazz Pig, Always a Jazz Pig. Oink, Oink, Oink!!!

Pigs vs. Metropolis 4/16/16 – Match Report

Close games by both sides on Saturday paired with some beautiful weather made for a great day of rugby. The first match of the day was with the D2 side. The pigs struggled to find their stride early on, ending the first half with a 24 point deficit. However they not only closed that gap in the second half, but were up by 7 points with 10 minutes left in the match thanks to a solid defensive effort, crisp back line play and three tries by man of the match Jole Miller. Metropolis was able to score two times in the second half bringing the score to 38-34. The Pigs made one last offensive push as time ran out and the game unfortunately came to a close as the result of a penalty while within Metro’s 22. Overall a great second half effort by the Pigs.

The D4 team took the field afterwards for another 80 minutes of rugby. Lots of new players got reps in and the Bombers came out on top with a score of 36-29.

We’ll keep this momentum moving forward as the Pigs travel to Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday, April 23rd to take on Des Moines RFC.

Pigs vs Bucks 10/5

The St. Paul Jazz Pigs headed down to Waverly, IA to take on the Bremer County Bucks. The Pigs were looking for some payback after the Bucks forfeited what should have been their first match in MN. However, the day ended in disappointment after flat play from the Pigs (and some questionable calls) allowed the Bucks to score two quick tries with less than 5 minutes remaining in the match. The Pigs tried to rally back, but couldn’t string together enough good ball movement to score again. The Pigs lost with a final score of 18-24.

The Bomber posted another win, due to a forfeit from the Rochester Rogues.

Pigs @ SS Irish, Bombers @ Mayhem 9/28

The St. Paul Jazz Pigs traveled to Chicago, IL for the second time this season to take on the South Side Irish. The Pigs were looking for another big win to push them even higher in the standings, but as usual, luck was not on their side. Continuing on with the theme this year, South Side got off to quick start, scoring quickly and easily off of broken plays. Rather than gathering themselves and attacking back, as we’ve seen them do in every other game this season, the Pigs seemed slow and almost willing to adapt and react. Eventually, the Pigs did change some things around, and put together some truly smart looking rugby. It was a case of too little too late, though, and they suffered a very tough loss. Final score 24-68, SS Irish. The only highlights were that the Pigs did manage to secure a bonus point for scoring 4 tries, and that every other team in their group suffered shut-outs, so there was no real loss in standings.

On a positive note, the Bombers took on the Minneapolis Mayhem at Lexington-Diffley, and absolutely crushed them. From what little I heard of the game, there was excellent rugby played by the Bombers. Which really showed how the team is coming together as a unit, and learning how to play with each other. Final score was something like 110 or 120 – 0, Bombers win.

Pigs vs Metro 9/7

It was another hot, September weekend in Elk River, MN as both the D4 and D2 sides of the Jazz Pigs prepared for a contest against their cross-town rivals of Metropolis Rugby. The D4 side took to the field first, in what was their season opener. Once again, there was plenty of raw talent mixed with some veteran know-how, but it proved to be too little to obtain a win. The D4 Pigs ended up falling 24-0 to Metro’s D4.

The D2 match kicked off immediately after the first game ended. Metro struck hard with two quick trys off of mis-fielded kicks, but the Pigs dug in and hit back hard. For the remainder of the match the Pigs yielded little ground and consistently drove into Metro territory. However, missed penalty kicks, and costly mistakes within try-scoring distance, prevented the Pigs from ever gaining the lead in the match. In the end, they once again fell just short of victory by one point. Final Score 14-13, Metropolis.

Pigs vs Lincoln Park 9/14

The Pigs went on the road to take on Lincoln Park Rugby Football Club on Saturday, September 14th. After suffering two heart-breakingly close losses to both the Banshees and Metropolis, the Piggies were hungry for a win. Lincoln park jumped to an early lead scoring a quick couple of trys, but failing to convert. The Pigs dug in, and fought back hard. A fierce refusal to give up, and some key kicking allowed to Pigs to pull ahead 16-10. However, the Pigs don’t seem to enjoy making things easy for their fans. As the minutes passed away, Lincoln Park found the try zone for a third time, bringing them within one point. Fate was on the Pigs side it seems, as Lincoln Park failed to convert again, and the Pigs ended up victorious, 16-15.

Pigs vs Banshees 8/31/13 Match Report

The St. Paul Jazz Pigs took to the field for the first match of the 2013 Division 2 Fall Season against their crosstown rivals, the Eastside Banshees. Looking to get a big win to start the season, the Pigs played with a level on intensity and cool-headedness that clearly caught their opponents off guard. Heading in to the second half the Pigs were leading 21-19 after a brilliant interception and score by Grant “Bean-Dip” Bassamore. However, the Banshees quickly struck back with two quick trys putting them up 29-21. The Pigs gathered themselves to mount another successful scoring drive to come within one point. For the remainder of the nail-biting match the Pigs flirted with victory; striking deep into Banshee territory, but losing the ball to turnovers and penalties. In the end, the Banshees remained on top with a final score of 29-28.

Man of the match: Stephan “Animal” GrandPre
Big Hitter: Travis “Douche” Spencer

The St. Paul Bombers (D4 side) also took to the field for a couple games in the annual Jesse James Tournament. A good blend of young raw talent and seasoned old boys combined for some exciting rugby. While the Bombers did not win either match, it was still encouraging to see the enthusiasm with which the participants played, and it definitely showed the beginnings of what could be a very promising season.

Man of the matches: Grant “HGSM” Dietrich
Big Hitter: Darryl Sanders

5/11 Pigs vs Sioux Falls Crow

It was a blustery Saturday as the Pigs took the field against the Sioux Falls Crow, looking to score a victory after losing in Sioux Falls approximately one year ago. The harsh gusts played havoc with the kicking game and long passes for both sides, but if there is one area this Pigs team is improving in (however slowly) it is the ability to react, adapt, and overcome. The Pigs grabbed a lead in the first half, and despite a bit of back of forth scoring continued to maintain that lead into the second half where they really let loose and effectively demoralized the opposition. The big boys in the pack were merciless as they continued to pound hard in the scrums and rucks. The back line, lead by none other than the former Sioux Falls player Grant “Bean Dip” Bassamore, capitalized on the opportunities created by their stalwart teammates to move the ball deep into the opponent’s territory to set up more scoring drives. There was great rugby displayed by all the Pigs on the field that truly exhibited the ability to maintain an emotional calm while playing a high level of aggressive rugby. Final score: 33-17, Pigs.
Man of the Match: Grant Bassamore
Big Hitter: Andy Valek

Shortly after the first game, the Pigs took the field again with only a few substitutions against the young North Metro Wolves. This young team proved to have a bit of fire in them, as they came out with hard hits and aggressive running. However, the Pigs pulled themselves together and beat them at their own game while maintaining discipline across the field. Final score: 24-5, Pigs.

5/4 – Pigs @ Metro

The Pigs played 2 matches against Metropolis at Columbia Park, with the D2 side kicking off at noon and D3 immediately following. The Pigs were hungry for a win against their cross-town rivals, but a few early errors proved to be their undoing. Metropolis gained an early lead in the first half, and from there it was all the Pigs could do to catch up. Things turned around in the second half though, as the Pigs refused to lay down. They were merciless in their offensive attacks, but despite their stalwart defense Metropolis still managed to maintain a lead throughout the match. The Pigs’ surge was just too little too late, and time expired with them still trailing. However, there was still another game to be played and the Pigs took the momentum they had been building from the first match and rolled it right on into the next. The second match was just as hard-fought as the first, with great rugby played by all from newcomers to old boys, and ended in a tie. All in all it was another great day of rugby.

4/27 – Pigs @ Cedar Rapids

It was a beautiful day for rugby when your Saint Paul Pigs traveled down to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to take on the Headhunters in a relegation match to determine who would stay in Division II. Both teams played with an intensity that clearly showed just how much was on the line. By the end of the match, it was obvious that both clubs deserved to stay in DII, however, there could be only one victor.

The Pigs got off to a good start when Scott Colby made a little scamper down the sideline, evading several defenders, to set up a try for Jesse “Vick” Engen. Joe “Rubber” Lang converted to put the Pigs up 7-0. Unfortunately, that was the only time the Pigs would see the try-zone, however, they were buoyed by the always excellent kicking of Zach “Padre” Boardman who managed to drill in two phenomenal penalty kicks. It was a real nail-biter though, as the Headhunters scored their second try with 5 minutes left in the match, putting them within 1 point. However, they failed to convert, and the Pigs put on a last surge of intense rugby to hold on to the lead until time expired. Final score, 13-12.

Man of the Match – Bryan “Buttons” Buxton
Big Hitter – Jesse “Vick” Engen