Williams rugby football club (WRFC) remains undefeated in the regular spring season after a gritty 10-5 victory over Holy Cross and a 17-7 win against Trinity this weekend. The men welcomed Saint Michael’s, Trinity and Holy Cross to the John Donovan Memorial Tournament Saturday. Every team paid dues to participate in the tournament: All the proceeds were donated to the Mental Health Alliance as a tribute to John Donovan ’83, a fallen member of the WRFC.
Williams looked to make an early statement in its first game against Holy Cross. The match, however, started ominously, as a miscue at the kickoff led to a try within the first five minutes of the game. From that point on, though, the Cross was to advance no more. The men regrouped and tightened the defensive lines to stop the Crusaders for the rest of the game. The White Dawgs were soon able to put through a penalty kick by Charles Toomajian ’11 to cut the lead to 5-3 headed into the half. The Dawgs came alive on offense in the second half, sustaining a long drive to the Holy Cross touch line before flyhalf Ben Peskoe ’10 juiced through the pile to put Williams up 10-5.
Williams then took on Trinity in the tournament’s championship match. As the rain subsided in the afternoon, the White Dawgs were able to stretch the ball across the backline and allow the backs to run from depth. Long runs along the touch lines by Geoff McCrossan ’11, Ian Murphy ’11 and Alex Howard ’10 gained significant field position and allowed Carl Whipple ’12 to sizzle through the center to score. Shortly after, good movement among backs gave Howard the space to dazzle Trinity’s cover defense to touch down in the near corner. Trinity continued to struggle to contain the expansive game plan as Chris Liguori ’10 took a quick tap that resulted in try number three. Consistent pressure and good offloading by the forwards kept the pressure on for the rest of the game for a final score of Williams 17, Trinity 7.
The Williams B-side came out to do some damage as well. Their first game against Holy Cross turned more into a mud battle, but in the second half, the B-forwards hunkered down to wheel four successive scrums.. Kevin O’Connell ’13, who was instrumental in the wheel, remarked that he didn’t actually know what was going on: “I thought it was going to be a penalty against us the first three times,” he said. “We should really do this next game.” A deft pass in the tackle from French international Stan Monfront ’13 then released Lane Wang ’11 to dive in from the wing as the Bs held on for the 5-0 win.
The next match was a mixed Williams B-side and alumni team against a combined Trinity and Saint Mike’s squad. The first half was a determined but losing effort. Down 12-0 at the half, the Williams select side was then suddenly boosted by three massive front-rowers. They proceeded to gobble up whatever poor sacrificial 18- to 20-year-olds were thrown at them. Eventually, James Kim ’10 picked from a scrum from 15 meters out and juked five defenders to slide in. At the end of the game, prop Ma’maa George ’93 rumbled through the defense and rolled into the try zone. Honorary kicker Martin Sawyer ’08 had a chance to win but pulled just wide as the point totals settled at 12-12.
WRFC plays Worcester Polytechnic Institute at home this weekend. A-side kicks off at 1 p.m. on Cole Pitch on Saturday afternoon, with the B-side to follow.