On Sunday afternoon, the Williams Women’s Rugby Football Club (WRFC) stormed Goodrich, flooded the stairs and gleefully jerked the bell rope. The peals of the bell rang out across campus, triumphantly declaring the White Dawgs’ victory over the Jeffs, their foes from the east. This euphoric outburst capped the end of a very long week, physically and emotionally, for the team. In the honored tradition, the Williams ruggers wore their jerseys proudly all week, removing them from their bodies if, and only if, they wore no clothes at all. While friends, classmates or professors in close proximity may not have enjoyed the tradition, it is part of a symbolic preparation for the biggest match of the season.
On Friday afternoon, less than 48 hours before kickoff, the Jeffs informed match secretary Maggie Tucker ’09 that they would not be playing this Sunday due to injuries. The White Dawgs felt that the cancellation was not only an insult to the Williams team, but also an example of disappointing sportsmanship. But after Williams made many concessions, Amherst agreed to honor its engagement, on the condition that it would only put up a side of 10 players as opposed to the traditional 15.
Willing to take whatever they could get, the WWRFC showed up Sunday morning ready to play. The White Dawgs had never competed in a 10 player game, but once they found their rhythm, they controlled the pace of the match; the first half was played entirely in Amherst territory. The Williams pack drove over its purple foes continuously and had no trouble securing possession. Amherst committed a flagrant penalty on its own five meter line which led to a beautifully executed penalty play by Williams. Bethany Baker ’10 tapped the ball and faked it to Xiomara Pinto ’12, who was cutting a steep angle towards the center of the field. The Amherst pack followed Pinto, leaving a gaping hole for Baker to take advantage of on the weak side. Sarah Franklin ’10 converted the try with an incredible kick from the far touch to bring the score to 7-0.
The second half went much the same, as Williams continued to control play. The Jeffs managed to drive down to the White Dawgs’ five meter mark, however, and a sloppy play by the Williams scrum resulted in an Amherst try. However, Amherst failed to convert the try and Williams picked up the 7-5 victory. Though Amherst had agreed to give up 15 black jerseys upon a loss, the team reneged on its promise, providing only nine, half of which they had decorated with defamatory phrases. The lack of respect for the game of rugby, complete disregard for the rivalry between the two schools and failure to honor commitments on the Jeffs’ part reflected poorly on Amherst and its future as a club. The WWRFC sincerely hopes Amherst will clean up its act before they meet again in the fall.
The WWRFC will play its next match at MIT on Saturday.