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UMW Men’s Rugby Wins 5 -2 Over Maryland

By Tim Brown, director of rugby at the University of Mary Washington.

University of Mary Washington (UMW) Men’s Rugby moved to 5-2 in the Chesapeake Collegiate Rugby Conference with a rollercoaster win over the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland, on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016.

UMW started quickly but failed to score, and Maryland jumped out to quick 7-0 lead, with some slick passing and a full field march after of a UMW miscue on their goal-line.  

UMW sophomore Andrew LaMarca (Fredericksburg, Va. and James Monroe High School) scored a nice try in the corner of multiple UMW phases, but this score was quickly countered by another University of Maryland try.

A penalty kick from junior Justin Ford (Virginia Beach, Va.) brought the game to 14-8 in favor of Maryland.  Despite some excellent work from UMW’s forwards, Maryland kicked a penalty, than scored a nice open field try that was unconverted to lead 22-8.  

UMW finally got some real momentum behind a 30-meter rumbling run by junior Ryan Iskowitz (Chesterfield, Va.), which was finalized in the corner by junior Mattson Bueche (Chesterfield, Va.). The half ended with University of Maryland leading 22-13.  

UMW has relied on a lot of young players this season, and this may account for some of the slow starts to games. There are no easy weekends in this league, and the games start fast.  

UMW for the second week in a row came out a different team in the second half.  The backline started to find a rhythm on offense and defense, and meet Maryland’s very shifty backline before they could gain speed or hit gaps in the defense.  The offense started with UMW’s only senior on the field, and student body president Alex Clegg (Arlington. Va.) working the ball wide, which led to a long run by freshman George Northwood (Farnham, England).

The University of Maryland was not able to scramble to cover, and Andrew LaMarca scored again, closer to the posts this time – which Justin Ford converted. The score was now 22-20. This was the start of 24 answered UMW points, generated by quick ball through the backs and intense work in the trenches by the UMW forwards.

About seven minutes later, UMW stole a University of Maryland scrum by simply driving them back. Freshman scrum half Ewan Corley (Leicester, England) slipped in to score near the posts, and this was converted by Justin Ford to make it 27-22 UMW.  

A few minutes later Mattson Bueche pushed forward and broke free, almost scoring. On the ensuing phase, George Northwood touched down about five meters – Justin Ford missed the conversion, 32-22 UMW.  

UMW closed out their scoring with about 10 minutes left in the game, when Corley popped a nice kick over University of Maryland and Justin Ford rushed forward and pounced on miscue – this try was scored exactly as called by coach Min Chae, and really was a nice finish to the day for UMW.  

On the ensuing kickoff, Maryland did march down, and scored an unconverted try that was too little too late, but certainly showed why Maryland are a team that could not be ignored.

UMW (5-2) hosts Virginia Tech (5-2) at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at the Battlefield. It’s a game that could have national playoff implications, and will decide third place in the nine team conference. This will be the first time these traditional rivals have met in 10 years, and it’s sure to be a physical and fast game. 

The Battlefield is UMW’s athletic facility, located in the 1300 block of Hanover Street. The rugby field is on Hanover St, the only field that runs parallel to the street. There is seating in the grandstand, but it is limited so it is best to bring a blanket or your own chair and you can sit on either side.

The University of Mary Washington is a founding member of the Chesapeake Collegiate Rugby Conference, which plays at the highest level of American Rugby regionally – D1. Just like other college sports where there are 4 levels (akin to D1, D2, D3 and NAIA), in rugby there are D1, D2, D3 and D3/small. UMW men actually would be classified as “D3 small school” based on enrollment, but have ​chosen to play at the highest level available – D1. This matches us with programs that sometimes have 10 times the enrollment of UMW.

The team knew this would be a challenge, and have beaten UVA, Towson State, Georgetown, Salisbury, and the University of Maryland. We are currently 5 wins and 2 losses in league play, and in third place in what is one of the most competitive conferences in America.

Editor’s Note The Chesapeake Collegiate Rugby Conference was founded in February 2016 by these schools:
• Mount St Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland
• Towson University in Towson, Maryland
• University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland
• Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
• Salisbury University in Salisbury, Maryland
• James Madison University in Harrisburg, Virginia
• University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia
• University of VA in Charlottesville, Virginia
• Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia

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