“I feel as though the transition suited me,” reflected rugby captain Ian Lewis ’01. “From the raw power and brute force of the scrum, I found a new home in the delicate ebb and flow of the line. I see it as a sort of growing up, a metamorphosis, if you will.”
Lewis’ displacement from the scrum (where he presides as captain) to the White Dawg line, was one of a number of changes the WRFC had to make last weekend against Keene State to account for a host of injuries and absences.
From the opening whistle, the Williams men looked ready to play rugby, while their New Hampshire opponents had apparently prepared for a day of aimlessly frolicking. The opening strike came in the form of a penalty kick from junior Ryan Kurlinski.
Kurlinski would be on the mark all day, putting the ball through the uprights with the style and grace that has come to define his participation in the WRFC.
In the game’s first try, Chidozie Alozie ’01 found space around the outside and pounded the ball in for five. Passing the time between tries by watching Kurlinski boot it through the uprights, the White Dawgs felt ready to put the ball in the try zone again.
This time, sophomore fullback Forrest Wittenmeir ran in a pass from out wide after Ian Lewis performed one of the most brilliant fake passes ever in a Williams-Keene State rugby game.
Said Lewis, “I saw my opponent’s eyes fixed like laser beams on the ball as I carried it firmly in my hands.
“It soon became obvious that he would commit the greatest of mistakes, and mark the ball rather than his man. Call it justice, call it what you will, but Keene State College was made to pay for that man’s transgression.”
With the score rapidly rising, Keene State simply fell apart in the face of the dominant Dawgs. Ben McAnaney ’01 stole hooks with unprecedented regularity, and Nat Davis ’01 rendered all Keene line-out strategies futile.
Alozie, Wittenmeir and Kurlinski began to score at will, and their opponents had no answer. A minor disaster struck when line captain Paul Bethe ’00 suffered a game ending knee injury.
Fit, fair and fun, the Williams A-side walked off the pitch with an impressive 39-0 win. The B’s found that first win ever elusive, but they have high hopes for next weekend.
The White Dawgs return to the pitch Saturday, when both the A-side and the Killer B’s will have matches with Johnson State.