Atlantic Cup Challenge: Bermuda National Youth all stars v Pelham U-15

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The Pelham U15 team received the Atlantic Cup after beating Bermuda and Luke Persanis (kneeling second from right) the man-of-the-match award.
The Pelham U15 team received the Atlantic Cup after beating Bermuda and Luke Persanis (kneeling second from right) the man-of-the-match award.
Junoir Blaber

New York, NY: The first Atlantic Cup Challenge match was played last week on Randall’s Island NYC. The Atlantic Cup Challenge is a new annual event having the Bermuda National Youth all stars and a NYC All Star team. Logistical problems meant a NYC All Star team was replaced by the Pelham Rugby Club. Pelham Rugby is 4 years old and their tackle program is only 3 yrs old. Pelham’s u15 team is 2 years old and plays in the Metro NY u15/ u13 league. Their U15 team is currently undefeated in League Play.

Pelham started the game dominating field position and playing good defense but lacking possession. After pinning Bermuda inside their 22 for the first 10 minutes of the game Pelham was awarded a scrum on the Bermuda 5. On the ensuing scrum Pelham’s scrumhalf, Luke Persanis, picked up the ball at the base of the scrum beat two defenders to score, conversion no good. After the ensuing kickoff Pelham regained possession from a hard tackle by Josh Quinn, some phases of quick ball broke down the Bermuda defense, allowing North Westall to run in a 10 yard try, Conversion missed. The score would stay the same until half. Pelham 10- Bermuda 0

Pelham backline in action
Pelham backline in action

After halftime, an apparent try for Pelham was called back as the referee had blown the whistle for a high tackle. On the penalty Luke Persanis caught the Bermuda defense by surprise and darted in for his second try, conversion no good. At this point Bermuda woke up, Bermuda bundled the Pelham fullback in-to-touch on the ensuing kickoff. On the lineout a tapped down ball resulted in Bermuda regathering the ball and diving over for their first try, conversion good, 15-7. The Pelham kickoff was returned by a kick up the middle, Pelham failed to gather the ball allowing the Bermuda center to swoop in gather the ball and go 50yds for the try, conversion no good, 15-12. At this point a game was on! Bermuda was stifling Pelham’s offense and Bermuda’s offense finally looked poised to break through. Bermuda made several half breaks only to be caught by a cover tackle. At this point Bermuda was also dominating rucks, turning over Pelham ball and creating go forward for their own backs. When Pelham did get the ball they made simple mistakes handing the ball back to Bermuda. During a scrum called after another Pelham knock on, Pelham finally came back into the game defensively as good pressure from the inside backs were forcing knock-ons and making life tough for Bermuda. Time was running out for Bermuda to mount a comeback as Pelham were awarded a scrum, 25 yards out. The scrum took place about 2/3 to the right half of the field, leaving the left side empty. This allowed the Pelham scrumhalf, Persanis, to pick and go blind again, beating the weakside defender Persanis touched it down for his third try of the match, conversion good, 22-12. Moments later the final whistle blew and Pelham had defeated Bermuda 22-12.

imageMatch Report:
Pelham: 22
Tries (4)
Luke Persanis (3)
North Westall (1)

Cian Burns

Bermuda: 12
Tries (2)
Conversions (1)

Pelham team:(12 a side)
1- Josh Quinn
2- Morgan Collins
3- Matt Biskup
4- Matt Rabinowitz
5- Joe Nelson
8- North Westall
9- Luke Persanis
10- Whit Johnson
11- Cian Burns
12- Dan Maydwell
13- Kees Huisman

Kevin Ndou
Christian Battaglia
Xavier Worsely
David Monaco
Dan Biskup
Quinn Scanlon
Jean Vigroux
Nick Roll

Player of the game: Luke Persanis

Coaches: Matt Persanis, Jamie McClellen, Spencer Scanlon

The game was sponsored by Saracens and is expected to be a yearly fixture. Bermuda has already laid down the challenge to Pelham to visit Bermuda next summer for a rematch. Pelham’s head coach, Matt Persanis had this to say when asked about heading to Bermuda for a rematch, “Bermuda? Yeah, I think I can go there!” He is currently looking for sponsors!

About Junoir Blaber 868 Articles
Born in Osu, Accra, Ghana, West Africa, Junoir Blaber is a rare commodity; while most Ghanians eat, sleep and dream Soccer (football), Junoir is all about Rugby. A self-proclaimed Rugbyologist, he has been involved in Rugby as a ref, coach, administrator and player since Columbus discovered Ohio. His useful/trivial rugby knowledge qualify Blaber as RWU's Senior Correspondent & known in rugby circles as The Rugby Rain Man. He can also be found moonlighting for our American partners at