Pair of Hat Tricks Sparks Cal in Thrashing of AggiesBlaine Scully and Tom Rooke Record Three Tries Apiece to Help Cal Top Century Mark
Monday, March 14, 2011
Category: Sports > Spring > Rugby
Blaine Scully considers the captain of the Cal rugby team to be "the first among equals."
On Saturday afternoon, there was only one other player to equal the senior captain's stat line. Along with senior flanker Tom Rooke, Scully notched a hat trick in the Bears' 106-0 blanking of UC Davis. Cal has yet to give up a point in league play; the Bears have 201 points on 31 tries.
Not only was it Scully's first 80-minute game of the season, but it was also his return to coach Jack Clark's lineup after suffering a concussion against British Columbia on Feb. 19. The Sacramento, Calif., native was cleared last Saturday prior to Cal's match against San Diego State, but he did not play.
Scully's three-try performance came on the field of his alma mater, Jesuit High School in Carmichael, Calif. With the Bears (17-0, 2-0 in the CPD) forced to relocate matches from Witter Rugby Field this season and next, Clark opted to play at Jesuit, the high school home of 10 of his players. The match functioned as a fundraiser for high school rugby.
"I think it was special for a lot of us, having the opportunity to play (at Jesuit)," Scully said. "There were quite a few people there, a lot of aspiring young rugby players that came to watch us play, watch what a rugby team can do.
"I was happy to play my role."
Any fellow Jesuit alumni in the crowd had no memory of Scully on the pitch in high school. The All-American did not play rugby for the Marauders, opting for the pool instead. He picked up rugby as an 18-year-old, and played for UCLA prior to transferring to Cal.
Scully bookended Saturday's smackdown of the winless Aggies with scores, while the second of his three came in the 56th minute. Rooke, on the other hand, made all three of his trips across the goal line in the first half. His final try of the day came in the 21st minute, which put the Bears up 33-0 following senior James Bailes' conversion.
Just as Scully deflected attention from himself in his triumphant return to his alma mater, Rooke did not take credit for his success, either.
"I was just finishing the hard work of my teammates," Rooke said.
Rooke has been doing quite a bit of "finishing" of late - he scored the Bears' try in the second half against UBC to bring Cal within one point, setting up Bailes' winning conversion.
Bailes went 8-of-10 on conversions on Saturday and dazzled the crowd with a blocked kick that he returned for a try in the 29th minute. He came off the field after the half, but production did not drop off; his replacement, junior flyhalf Alex Aronson, went 5-of-6.
Aronson wasn't the only reserve to see action against a hapless Davis team. Freshman Paul Bosco started in place of Connor Ring, in what Scully called "his first real test as a scrumhalf." Despite Bosco's inexperience with the systems, Scully was impressed by his ability to organize the team.
Christina Jones covers rugby. Contact her at email@example.com.
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