During Alumni Weekend many of the club’s former members came onto the pitch and played against their younger counterparts last Saturday. In the entirety of this brutal tradition, the undergraduates have only won twice in three decades. Saturday was no exception. The UD Alumni beat the UD Groundhogs, 31-0.
In the first 20 minutes, the alumni scored a single try. After being held largely on the opposing side of the pitch, the alumni managed to score, but the following kick for additional points was missed. For the remainder of the half, the Groundhogs held the alumni in place. The older men were worn down piecemeal as their less experienced, but more youthful counterparts refused to give any ground.
Any advantage the alumni gained through a line-out or break-away run was met with staunch resistance and then reversed as the Hoggies brought the ball back to the center of the field, managing, at one instance, to almost score themselves. Despite this tenacity the alumni came back with new players determined to put an end to the upstarts and break any chance of victory.
Within five minutes of the new half, the alumni caught the team out of position and ran down the field for a quick try. Over the next 10 minutes, they scored three more times, hammering the Groundhogs who were unable to retain possession of the ball. When the third quarter ended, the team showed signs of a beaten team, and it appeared the alumni had total control of the game.
In the fourth quarter, the Groundhogs regrouped. Not another try was gained by the alumni. Twice the Alumni made a drive across the field, and twice the Hoggies dragged the graduates to their own try zone. While the alumni did win, again, this year’s rugby team demonstrated great promise. While the seniors, juniors and sophomores brought their skills and experience, those who proved most surprising, were the freshmen.
Typically freshmen, aside from a few who played in high school, are unskilled and unsure of themselves during their first few games, but this was not the case Saturday. They distinguished themselves frequently during the game, taking on larger and more experienced players and giving back as much as they received. As the year goes on, the freshmen will gain more experience with the game and their team. While I cannot say for certain that the Hoggies will win a cup championship, what I can say is that, despite the weekend’s defeat, this year’s team looks strong and has the ability to earn a win.