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Napa Stormers Complete Series of Away Games with Win

Santa Rosa recognized Stormers Luke Kampton as the Ghilotti Bros., Inc. Man of the  Match, along with Nolan Kelnhoffer. Photo credit - Kathi Cook
Santa Rosa recognized Stormers Luke Kampton as the Ghilotti Bros., Inc. Man of the Match, along with Nolan Kelnhoffer. Photo credit - Kathi Cook
The Napa Stormers traveled to Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa March 14 to take on the Santa Rosa Rugby Club.

With the Varsity squad affected by injuries a number of enforced and experimental changes to the teams line-up were made by Stormers Head Coach Phil Hansell.

The Stormers called up Theo Branum, Felipe “Chewy” Leon, and Matthew Hansell from the JV team to replace Abel Rueda, Peter Boe, and Stormers captain, Bernard Venter and the JV players earned valuable game time and all contributed.

The lineup also saw a few position changes, to test out different personnel within the backline and find the right combination, including moving Luke Kampton from flyhalf to fullback.  

Having lost their previous game Stormers backline captain Luke Kampton told his team that, “A good team shows character if they can recover after a loss, and win the next game.” 

Those telling words from Kampton rung deep with his team-mates as they began their warm ups, and prepare for a tough Santa Rosa opponent.  

The Stormers stuck to their style of play keeping the ball close within the forward pack in an effort grind and wear down the Rosa defense.

Some exceptional play from Stormers scrum-half Connor Whitecotten, allowed the ball to be passed out wide and the new backline showed depth, and power as the ball got wide to Kampton who used his speed and agility to find gaps in the Rosa defense.

With the support of Chad Fraiser and Cody Dusky, the Stormers backline eventually scored 3 tries.  

The Stormers forward pack was a force as usual, dominating in the scrums and lineouts, as well as grinding out the hard yards with the ball in hand and the forward division contributed 3 tries of their own from Mason Banducci, Leon, and Saul Romero.

Place-kicker Jared Reich contributed 8 points of his own to the scoreboard, completing 4 of 6 conversion attempts through the uprights.  

As the 70th minute approached and the final whistle was blown, the Stormers Varsity team won the game 38-12, putting the Varsity record at 5-1 with one league game left before playoffs.

Santa Rosa awarded this week’s Ghilotti Bros., Inc. Men of the Match to fullback Luke Kampton, and hooker Nolan Kelnhoffer.  

“This might have been our best game to date,” said Stormers head coach Phil Hansell. “This was the most balanced contribution from our forwards and backs, and I was really pleased with the JV guys who stepped up to fill some big shoes. I was also really happy how our backline handled the lineup changes made the night before, and I am excited to see them move forward and do great things."  

As a result of Santa Rosa not having a full JV team, the Stormers were awarded the victory for league standing purposes. However the Rosa Varsity team recognized Napa’s effort in getting their JV team there, and played an additional 30 minutes against the Stormers JV squad to make sure everyone got to play rugby that night.

The Stormers JV team edged out Santa Rosa 25-10 in the 30-minute period.  

“My hat comes off to Santa Rosa for being a total class act, playing that additional period of rugby for our JV boys” said Stormers coach Trevor Terrill.

“Playing a hard fought 70 minute game is enough to wipe you out for a few days, let alone adding an additional 30 minutes against a fresh opponent. It shows the true character of their team and players, and we really appreciate their dedication to the game."

The next scheduled games for the Stormers are Saturday, April 5 against the Marin Highlander at Raiders Field in Napa.

This will be the last regular season game before the Northern California Youth Rugby playoffs begin in mid-April. 

The Napa Valley Stormers Club wishes to acknowledge the assistance of the following sponsors: Napa Sheriff’s Activities League, Ghilotti Bros. Inc., St. Helena Optometry, Blue Sky Utility, Pilates Napa Valley, Napa Barrel Care, and Silverado Farming Company. 

About the Napa Stormers Rugby Club The Napa Stormers Rugby Club founded in 2012 is the first youth rugby club in the Napa Valley. With members from multiple High Schools in the Napa Valley the Napa Stormers is committed to coaching its youth membership in skills that will assist them both on and off the field of play. 

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