Annual Alumni/ae Rugby Match Becomes Muddy BashBy Cara L. Barber and Samuel D. Mertens
Last Saturday, the drenching rain and cold did not stop MIT’s rugby teams from playing their alumni in the mud. The alumni games were part of the events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of MIT’s men’s rugby team.
The rucking beavers grabbed the veterans by the throat at the start of the game, but an iron defense kept the scoreboard empty. David Stracher’s ’89 defensive skills stopped MITRFC’s top scorer James Partridge G from scoring in the first half. The Old Boys were constantly rotating players, so they never had their strongest team on the field. On the other hand, this was compensated by the fact that the rucking beaver’s only advantage, speed, was nullified by the weather and field conditions.
While the alumni’s fitness level forced them to play rougher, the rucking beavers responded by playing better. When Nick Kulkarni ’02 dished off the assist to Partridge, the tie was broken. Near the end of the game, Old Boys’ flyhalf Jaco Pretorius SM ’99 finally missed a tackle, allowing the ball to reach the outside for Partridge to set the final score 10-0. The win was the hardest fought this season and came with a big price as the team lost fullback Daniel Anello G and Paul Shen ’02 to injury, probably for the rest of the season.
Women ruck with alumnae
While deemed the underdogs, MIT’s current team provided surprising opposition to the favored elders. After two grueling 20-minute halves, bloody knees, muddy faces, near-hypothermia, and no score for either side, each team left the field triumphant. Perhaps not over each other, but definitely over the elements. This match is proof of the lasting strength, spirit and unity of MIT Women’s Rugby.
More games on Sunday
On Sunday, there were two more games for the rucking beavers. The A-side successfully defended their perfect record in a shortened game against a team from the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands. Steve Murray Ph.D. ’00 opened the score from a penalty kick for the beavers. But a loss of concentration in the backs gave the Dutch the chance to score the first try against the beavers in four games. But they quickly made up for the error. Off the scrum Thomas Leurent G put the beavers back on top with a nice dive into the corner. A few minutes later Marc Ueberle G added to the score by downing a beautiful grub kick from Johnny Robinson G in the endzone. Samitha Samaranayake ’02 sealed the score by running around Utrecht’s defense to give the beavers their 5th consecutive victory at 18-5.
The B-side played a full game against the MBA/Meds team from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. This week the beaver B’s had to fight against a much more experienced team. The harsh weather made it hard to pass the ball around quickly, causing many fumbles. The Canadians were aggressive from the start and put the beavers immediately in a hole, they could not climb out of as half-time score was 19-0. Jan Heemskerk G deserves MVP honors for showing on the receiving end, how a hospital ball got its name. The final score of 43-0 was very harsh as the B’s did put up a hard fight. Related stories: