Thursday, May 23, 2019

A Rare Mid-Week Scouting Assignment in Desio

Wednesday, 22 May, 2019

The big event of the day was scouting a Week #9 make up game that involved our final regular season opponent, the Canavese Mastifs.

The game would be played in Desio outside of Milano, a home game for the Hammers.

 A severe, long lasting lightning storm
combined with a 9:00 p.m. kickoff time
postponed the original game

Tonight's 9:00 p.m. game would be the second contest of three in an eight day span for both clubs. Both clubs lost last Saturday with the Milano Rhinos (7-0) defeating the ground oriented Mastifs (2-4) 38-12 while the pass happy Hammers (2-4) were bested by the Brescia Bengals (4-4) 35-14.

Tonight would be a real test of both team's physical stamina. How they perform this coming Saturday will be of interest, I guess that the Italian Federation is not quite up to speed yet on the American trend towards increased player safety in our demanding sport.

The city of Desio is near Monza which we have not visited but we have read good things about this suburb of Milano.

Thus we headed to the game a little early to scout the city of Monza as well as the Mastifs.

Monza's HUGE monument
to the city's fallen in WWI

The façade of the Monza Duomo
is purported to be magnificent

I guess we'll never know.

The Monza Duomo was
beautiful inside

 Guarding the no longer used pulpit

 Musicians at the Main Altar?

There is good, old St. Peter of Verona

I see the ever present machete in his head but where is the dagger to his heart?

The musicians warming up

Many churches in Europe welcome classical musicians to play concerts in their typically awesome acoustic structures.

Our guess was a concert would be held here later tonight.

We would have loved to hear it but duty called.

 This side altar was impressive

 Head on a platter

This has to be a representation of the demise of St. John the Baptist.

Solid Duomo bell tower

 How old are those
supporting timbers?

The backside of the Duomo

 Just a random watch tower
in old town Monza

Wine, beer and food of
excellence with passion

It sounded good but, I mean really, you've only been in business since 2016? Give it another 80 years and then we'll see.

We did stop for a glass of white wine
and a macchiato at a cafè where I
got my daily Il Giro d'Italia food update

Today's stage of Italy's grand bicycle race traveled from Capri to Novi Ligure, some Parmigiano Reggiano cheese atop a plate of Agnolotti would work for me.

 A three-tiered aperitivo plate
came with our two beverages

Just another old building in Monza

Now a bank, this edifice had the
look of an old music hall about it

An angel in our midst

 A former church that
is now a public building

An government building next
to our parking lot

Our visit to underrated Monza was way too short, we will return as there was a lot more to see.

We drove to Desio and had a good dinner at La Taverna where we ate last year on a similar scouting excursion, good food!

Mural outside of the Hammers home field

Unless he is about to celebrate, we need to talk about the proper pass grip.

Warming up under threatening skies

Extremely dark clouds were rolling in and, while we could see lightning all around us, there was no loud thunder claps so the threat was not close enough to cause another delay in finally playing this game.
 The Mastifs taking the field

The Hammers rolling out with
lots of flags

Seven flags and one Thor's Hammer
added to the hoopla

Mastifs about to run the ball

 Hammers about to pass the ball

The Mastifs were in control at the half

The Canavese squad scored again early in the Third Quarter to take a commanding 18-0 lead and then did a wise thing given their torturous eight day stretch, they sat down many of their starters the rest of the game.

A solid win for one of the hottest
teams in DII

After starting the season 0-3, the Mastifs have now won three of their last four games, losing only to DII's #1 ranked and sole undefeated team, the Milano Rhinos (7-0), last Saturday.

Their stout running game is a huge cause for concern for us to be sure. A win by the Mastifs Saturday against our Skorpions would propel them into the playoffs with a 4-4 record. Even at 3-5 should we beat them, they may still make it into the post-season.

The DII Group A standings with one game left in the regular season now look like this:

1. Milano Rhinos 7-0
2. Cernusco Daemons 6-1
3. Varese Skorpions 5-2
4. Brescia Bengals 4-4
5T. Canavese Mastifs 3-4
5T. Palermo Sharks 3-4
7T. Desio Hammers 2-5
7T. Varese Gorillas 2-5
9. Busto Arsizio Blue Storms 0-7

This is the Group A schedule for this coming Saturday's final round of regular season games:

Canavese Mastifs (3-4) at
Varese Skorpions (5-2)

Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (0-7) at
Milano Rhinos (7-0)

Palermo Sharks (3-4) at
Desio Hammers (2-5)

Varese Gorillas (2-5) at
Cernusco Daemons (6-1)

BYE: Brescia Bengals (4-4)

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