Fox Valley 27 vs Chicago Riot 22
The Maori began their 2019 campaign with a tough home match against the Riot. A morning rain storm had left the grounds soft, but 100% humidity and 80 degree August day would test the wills of both sides. Fox Valley got off to a quick start when Cody Crawford made a nice dummy to open up the Riot defense dotting down under the posts to take a quick 7 nil lead. Cody would then extend the lead with a penalty, accounting for the first 10 points of the match. The Riot would take advantage of a string of Fox Valley Penalties to score a converted try with the first half ending 10-7.
The Riot would enjoy a run of good possession to begin the second half, which would see them first tie the game with their own penalty then take the lead 15-10 with an unconverted try. Undaunted the Maori fought back and would score the next two tries, first from Ron Kiolbasa and then from Doug Kluener. Things seemed well in hand with a late 22-15 lead, however the always tenacious Riot fought hard and tied it up with a converted try 22-22. Things seemed to start falling apart for the Maori and shortly thereafter George Mchattie was sent off with a yellow card for a late tackle. The sideline held their breath for the next 10 minutes, and a Tie seemed to be the most they could ask for.
At 75 minutes George came back onto the pitch, and with a well-placed kick to the corner Fox Valley again seemed in a position to go for the win, but a handling error again stymied the attack and the Riot could clear their lines. Both sides were exhausted and battered by this point, to the point that Fox Valley’s Captain Peter Banks was stalking the field with one good shoulder, but no one was willing to throw in the towel.
With only minutes to go it was the Maori’s turn to gain some advantage from an errant pass from the Riot, who missed an exchange from 9 to 10 and allowed the Maori pressure defense to force a turn over inside the 22. With the clock reading 80, the attack had to be clinical, one missed pass and the game would end in a tie. Fox Valley proved up to the challenge, a series of steady forward crashes saw Fox valley inch closer and closer to the Riot’s line. Finally three minutes into injury time Doug Kluener proved to be the hero of the day once, finding his way over the white wash for the second time putting the Maori ahead 27-22 at the final whistle, with the four try bonus point to boot.
The Walter Daniels Hard Hat Player of the match went to Moritz Glauner whose work rate saw him making devastating tackles all over the pitch.
Man of the Match Honors went two Doug Kluener who had two tries on the day including the winning score during injury time.
Trys – Cody Crawford, Ron Kiolbasa, Doug Kluener (2)
Pens – Cody Crawford
Conversions – Cody Crawford (2)
YC – George Mchattie