PITS – Piedmont International Touring Side
Founded in 1978 in Piedmont, California, PITS has been playing rugby, “a hooligan’s game played by gentlemen” on the West Coast and internationally for more than 30 years. From a high school of 800 students over the years, PITS has produced USA Rugby Eagles, Collegiate All-Americans, High School All-Americans, Collegiate National Champions, and hundreds of collegiate players.
See below for information on PITS 2013 Season. Or click HERE to e-mail the PITS Team Manager for further information.
By Ned Schroeder
Vallejo- Heading into the homestretch of their season, two undefeated teams, Alameda Islanders and Piedmont’s PITS Rugby, traveled to Morton Field (Mare Island/Vallejo) to decide who should be at the top of the division. Going into the last week of the season, both teams had gone through their schedules without any challenges so far. Like two prize fighters, both teams spent the first half just testing the resolve of the other team and trying to find weaknesses. The PITS boys held their own with some excellent rucking and tackling. The Islanders scored the only points of the first half when they found a crack in the Piedmont defense for five points. Unfortunately for Piedmont, the Alameda kicker rarely missed conversions, and the score at the half was 0-7.
But by this time, the Alameda team was feeling very confident and was able to get another try. The score was now 0–28. With their backs to the wall, the Piedmont forwards came together and moved the ball as one. Hunter Stern took the ball in the maul with his teammates pushing the pack towards the try line. Ryan Castle then took the ball with both forward packs pushing against each other. The Piedmont forwards were stronger on this play and Ryan scored as the giant maul was pushed over the try line and over so that Ryan could touch the ball down for five points. The Piedmonters could not convert, and the score was now 5-28 with time running out.
On the ensuing kick-off, the Islanders bowled over the PITS team and scored to get the five points back. They did not convert, but at this point, they didn’t need the points. The man-of-the-match from the forwards was Leland Howard, the No. 8 for Piedmont. He had an excellent game, and Captain William Meredith was the man-of-the-match for the backs. Heading into the playoffs, the PITS team has a make-up game and then tournament action. The play-offs for the rugby club will take place in May in Sacramento. After enduring this loss, the consensus from the team was that they look forward to see the Islanders in the play-offs.
Witter Field– The PITS finally came home for a match at Witter Field on St. Patrick’s Day. They lined up to face Rosa Rugby, a high school club team from Santa Rosa.
Sophomore Connor Garrett scored first off of a nifty pass from Captain William Meredith. William opened up the defense by driving hard then when the defense finally caught up to William, he dished off to Connor for five points. Before Santa Rosa could recover and off the ensuing kick, Aaron Fahey broke through Santa Rosa’s defense. Once through the single line of defense, there was nothing but open field as the Rosa fullback was out of place. Before all the fans had even found their seats, PITS was up 12-0.
Taking advantage of another Rosa miscue, William intercepted an errant pass for a quick try, and then he made the conversion kick to add another 2 points to the score, 19-0.
From the kick-off after the PITS score, Ryan Castle had a nice catch and run to set up Aaron for another try. Aaron had switched from his usual No. 8 spot at the back of the scrum to Outside Center. This gives him more opportunities for open field running, and it certainly was on display at Witter Field. After Aaron’s score, Captain Gavin Moscone took a shot at the posts and made the two point conversion. The score was 26-0 and there was still lots of time in the half, but the Piedmonters decided to settle and let the forwards have a go. This time, Fahey was in the middle of a maul as the PITS forwards pushed and shoved the maul towards the goal. When the maul finally calmed down and the ball presented itself at the back, Senior Leland Howard delivered. He picked the ball out of the maul and ran in for another five point try. At the half, the score was 26-0 and it was all PITS.
The second half opened with a score by scrumhalf Cole Gruendl. With the advantage in play, Cole eluded the Rosa defense scoring in the corner for another five points. The forwards followed with the next score. Aaron offloaded to Liam Schindler for a nice run for a try.
Midway through the second half, the PITS ruggers’ defense failed them and Rosa scored. There was a missed tackle which led to a score, but Connor responded to this score with another interception. It was getting sloppy, and Connor took advantage of a bad Santa Rosa pass for the score. But Santa Rosa responded, and now the score was 44-12. By this point, the game was out of reach for the visitors, but there was still more excitement. Rugby rookie, Paul Kim poached the ball from the napping Rosa ruggers for a score. William converted. The final score was 51-12.
As the season winds down, there is a jam at the top with Berkeley, Alameda and your PITS rugby club all undefeated. PITS stands on top of the pileup due to the number of points it has played. Surprisingly, the schedule makers did not match up these three teams during the regular season, so it is anyone’s guess as to who will prevail in the championships. Piedmont faces Alameda, Saturday, March 30 at 1 p.m. at Cal Maritime Academy in Vallejo.