Final of the Total Lebanese Club Rugby Championship 24th November 2013
Beirut ‘Total’ Phoenicians v Gray Wolves RFC
The Total Lebanese Club Rugby Championship was played on Sunday, 24th November at 1pm between the Beirut ‘Total’ Phoenicians and the Gray Wolves at the Lebanese University, Hadath before the tournaments major sponsors, representatives of the Total Group and an enthusiastic crowd of rugby supporters.
Winning the toss of the coin, the Beirut side through Captain, Alex Jammal elected to receive the kick off and with that a grueling and often tense match began. It was obvious from the outset that the Gray Wolves were convinced that they would defeat the much more highly fancied Beirut side and this was demonstrated by some early offensive running from Gray Wolves players such as Jean Marie Rizkallah and Joe Zeidan.
This early pressure had an unsettling effect on the normally disciplined Beirut side, which saw first points of the game go to the Gray Wolves through a successful penalty conversion to Gray Wolves fullback, Joe Zeidan in the 7th minute of the match.
The Beirut side were not to be outdone and through some torrid forward play and the skill of the Beirut backs including Lebanese Captain, Karim Jammal, Beirut were able to post the Final’s first try in in the 14 minute through skillfull half back Ronan MacNemara with Karim Jammal missing the conversion to see the scores at 5 – 3.
The Beirut side was not finished and through some excellent forward phase play and continued pressure of the Gray Wolves line, Beirut second rower and perennial jokester, Ray Finan crossed the line to post the Final’s favorites second try in the 25th minute of the game to increase Beirut’s lead to 10 – 3 after a second unsuccessful conversion by Karim Jammal.
In the 30th minute of the match a penalty awarded to the Gray Wolves for a Beirut infraction saw Joe Zeidan convert the kick to make the score 10 – 6, which gave spirit to the Gray Wolves side going into the half-time break yet this spirit was to be tested when in the 34th minute, Beirut’s pocket sized flying winger, Mahmoud Redbawi evaded the Gray Wolves defense to post the Phoenician’s third try of the match(and the 1st of his hat trick), which at the half-time break saw the scores at 15 – 6 after yet a third missed conversion by Karim Jammal.
The second half started much as the first had left off and even with the Gray Wolves aggressively attacking the Beirut defense, Beirut centre Robin Hachache was able to cross for the Phoenicians 4th try of the final in the 63rd minute, which was converted by Karim Jammal to take the score to 22 – 6.
Beirut’s second try of the second half came through some skillful backline work which saw Mahmoud Bedbawi post his second try of the match again unconverted to see the score at 27 – 6
Beirut’s try scoring dominance was to be short lived as the Gray Wolves through some skillful attacking play were able to post their first try through Christopher Dalati. The conversion was unconverted and pushed the score to 27 – 11.
The Gray Wolves resurgence was not completed and through continued attacking pressure, Gray Wolves forward, Bahaa Al Masri crashed over the Beirut try line to post the Gray Wolves second try of the Final with a successful conversion coming from Joe Zeidan to make the score 27 – 18.
The resurgent Gray Wolves attack had given the team hope that they could still post another few tries and perhaps win the Final yet the dominant Beirut attack was not to be outdone with Mahmoud Redbawi scoring another unconverted try and his third of the match in the 78th minute to see the final score 32 – 18 at the final whistle and Beirut crowned as 2013 Total Lebanese Club Champions.
Total representative, Jacques Souplet, major sponsors of the Lebanese Club Rugby Championship presented the championship trophy to the winning Beirut team.
Jamhour Blacklions RFC v Jounieh Spartans RFC
The other match of the day saw the Jamhour Blacklions play the Jounieh Spartans in a hard fought match were the game could have swung either way. Both teams fielded relatively inexperienced sides and yet were able to demonstrate some impressive rugby running a plethora of tries to see the final score line 26 – 21 to the Jamhour Blacklions.
Jamhour try scorers included Tony Younes, Phillipe Salame, Nicholas and Rizk while try scorers for Jounieh included two tries to Steve Pere on debut and a try to Cesar Abou Khalil.