Men’s rugby suffers 19-12 defeat to Amherst

Williams rugby football club (WRFC) traveled to Amherst last weekend to attempt to avenge its fall loss to the team’s archrival. Temperatures rose into the 70s as the White Dawgs and the Black Donkeys laid their game jerseys out in a winner-take-all wager. Unfortunately, the White Dawgs fell, 19-12. Afterward, as Amherst did not have enough players to field a B-side, the Williams second team players joined the alumni curtain raiser match of the A-side clash.

As the clock struck 1 p.m., white shirts and black shirts lined up on the pitch as the most intense rivalry in the land kicked off. The Black Donkeys came off quick with a try down the touchline and a penalty kick to go up 10-0 in the first 10 minutes. The Williams forwards then reorganized behind sparkplug Vince Powell-Newman ’10. Good handling between big men Steve Smith ’12 and Jeff Churchill ’10 powered the Dawgs downfield before Adam Century ’12 stuck in a try from the angle. The Donkeys responded with a ball that flew threw the uprights on a penalty and, despite a number of other chances on both teams, halftime arrived with the score 13-7.

Bloodshed resumed in the second half. Drives on both sides stalled at the 50-meter mark. Williams had trouble at the breakdown, conceding a number of penalties to turn the ball over. The Amherst flyhalf made those penalties especially tough by making two more kicks at goal. The backs had a few good counterattacks from deep, including a chip and chase over the top from Charles Toomajian ’11.

Eventually, Toomajian was able to take a clearance and run it back 50 meters, stepping through four tackles in one of the highlight runs of the season. Off the run, two quick recycles by scrumhalf Tim Marrs ’11 saw that Powell-Newman was rewarded with five points under the posts. Time soon expired, though, with WRFC left disappointed as the team came up a try short at 19-12. The loss marked the first time in a number of years that Williams has lost both fall and spring games of the rivalry. The White Dawgs ended the spring season with a 4-1 record.

Captained by big George Watson ’97, the alumni/B-side combined team went out to inflict pain on the Amherst alums. Amherst’s bigger and more experienced side controlled the gainline but was held by the young Williams defense. Kyle Martin ’12 and James Elish ’13 both scored virgin tries on the game. Elish’s try brought Williams within one score at 14-20 with 10 minutes to go. However, a shanked kick by the flyhalf gifted Amherst with a try. The Killer ‘B’s pressed hard the last six minutes but gave up a last-second try to the Donkey Alums. The Alumni-B-side bravely went down 34-14.

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