In an annual tradition carried on for nearly 20 years, the Williams Rugby Football Club (WRFC) hosted the John Donovan Memorial Tournament at Cole Field this past weekend. Visiting teams included the Skidmarks of Brown University, the New Mexican Cowgirls of Central Connecticut and the conglomerate side of WRFC alumni.
Chieftan of Protocol Simon “Red” Maloy ’03 called the event “a time-honored tradition of fraternizing, imbibing of spirits and occasionally a bit of rugby.” In related news, Maloy did not participate in Saturday’s games. But with a rowdy sideline of WRFC supporters and alums, the White Dawgs took the field first against the Brown Skidmarks.
Sloppy passes and hands of butter frustrated Williams throughout the first 15 minutes of play, but chance opportunities created by even sloppier Brown mistakes led to two tries and an early 14-0 lead. Despite the obnoxious placements of Nick “Poki” Brandt ’02 and someone else really obnoxious in the extreme left corner of the try zone, Galen “Diapers” Thorp ’04 was able to convert both times on difficult kicks.
“You know, man, people needn’t question my decisions,” Brandt commented. “I am easily the best player here.” The Dawgs later missed an apparent scoring chance when the eight-man dropped a soft pass eased into his hands by someone right next to him.
Williams controlled the remainder of the match with strong play from newly appointed fly half Devin “Hakeem” Fitzgibbons ’04 and oddly appointed scrum half Zak “The Lego Maniac” Haviland ’04. The likes of Mike “Tall Mike” Ebell ’03 and Michael “$0.01” Recht ’02 played pretty well, too.
After their 28-7 drubbing of Brown, the White Dawgs kicked it to the sideline to watch the Killer B’s take on the Skidmark B-side. The phenomenal play of John “Krosstopher” Arendshorst ’04, Steve “Edward” Rahl ’05 and Adrian “The Frisco Kid” Dowst ’04 led to an absorbing game that was enjoyed, though not observed, by all. Later, the A-side lost to Central Connecticut.
The feature match of the afternoon, however, was the pitting of the current White Dawgs against the Off-White Dawgs of WRFC Olde Fartes. Unfortunately, this year’s squad of alums featured athletes who came ready to play, as opposed to the sides of shankers and drunkards that typified such matches in recent years. Hoping to face off against fierce off-the-field competitors such as Christian “Crash” Rubio ’99 and John “John-O” Olson ’99, the Younge Fartes instead met Ian “Kareem” Lewis ’01, John “Spartacular” Crowley-Delman, Thomas “Tomba” Morgan ’37 and several other gladiators out for blood.
With blazing speed, crazed tackling and rucking and simply unrivaled grit, the Olde Fartes punched home try after try. The play of Forrest Wittenmeir ’02, who somehow managed to graduate minutes before kickoff, was particularly disgusting. Chidozie “Cheeto” Alozie ’01 contributed a pretty try or two, but inexplicably denied loyal fans with his vintage post-try flips. Eric “Homes” Holmes ’99 provided solid sideline cheers. By the ref’s final whistle, the Off-White Dawgs had won, 93-4.
Although they lost the battle, the White Dawgs came far from losing the war. In the most heated sibling rivalry since the Oakland-Yankee series, Gabe “The Smaller” Anello ’03 went head to head with Dan “The Bigger” Anello ’98 in the highly anticipated “Battle of the Anellos.” Fifty minutes of rugby would decide the champion, and heir to their parents’ fortunes.
Dan started fast with a towering kick that found Wittenmeir in the try zone for a score, and with several ridiculous runs that left the Younge Fartes on the ground and John “Captain” Pickard ’99 desperately seeking his students’ essays. Yet, a couple miscues left “The Smaller” leading by a slim, 0-to-negative 2 margin.
The junior Anello responded with crucial plays in one-on-one play. Left as the last man between Danny and the try line, Gabe made two huge tackles, saving what would have put the Olde Fartes over the century mark. By maintaining an ounce of dignity for the Young’ns, and upstaging his brother on the biggest of stages, Gabe defeated Dan in the “Battle of the Anellos,” 10-3.
Thus, all in all, a fantastic weekend was enjoyed on, off and somewhere in between the pitch. Cole Field hosted a fine day of rugby, and the White Dawgs emerged somewhat victorious.
Pickard summarized everyone’s feelings when he said, “I need it back, or else I’m in lots of trouble with my job.” Great seeing you all, Olde Fartes.