Late drop goal secures back-to-back NERFU Championships for MIT

Teams:MIT vs Old Gold RFC
Played:04/30/2016 @ MIT
Score: 29 - 25 MIT win

On Saturday, April 30, 2016, MIT traveled to the Irish Cultural Center in Canton, MA to take on Old Gold RFC in the NERFU championship game. MIT and Old Gold split the fall series 1-1 with a combined scoring difference of only 7 points. So MIT knew they were in for a battle. The game turned into quite the spectacle, with multiple lead changes, a yellow card, long tries, crushing tackles, and late heroics.

MIT dominated the first 20 minutes. John G., excited to be playing at the center of his culture, started the scoring with a penalty kick to make it 3-0. Shortly after, MIT won a line-out and fly-half James attacked the defensive line. He dummied a switch and flicked the perfect pass to put outside center Jake through the defense. Jake shook off one tackler and darted for the line. He was tripped up by another defender just short of the line but was able to somersault and extend his mini-chub fingers over for the try. John G. converted to make it 10-0. MIT threatened again after a long run from winger Diego, set up by 1950's football star Hacksaw, but Old Gold’s defense held up. Another penalty kick for MIT made it 13-0. Unfortunately, right before the half Old Gold’s outside center got outside the defense and touched down to make it 13-7. Old Gold showed why the two teams have played such close matches and went into halftime with momentum on their side.

Old Gold continued to control possession and momentum in the second half. James was yellow carded for a “dangerous tackle” leaving MIT to play a man down. Old Gold kicked for points to make it 13-10. Old Gold then took advantage of the yellow card when their outside center broke out for a highlight reel 80 meter try that included jukes, spins, and broken tackles. The amazing individual effort left Old Gold cheering and MIT wondering, “Who is this guy? Where did he come from? Why didn’t our coach warn us about him?” The outside center’s second try put Old Gold in the lead. Old Gold added on another penalty kick further adding to their lead.

MIT climbed back with the help of their forwards. They dominated in the scrums thanks to the help of the size and strength of Caleb, Martin, Mick, Gus, Nick (Everything's bigger in Texas including calf cramps), Alex and John F. Jumpers John F. and Alex, who were solid all day in the line-out, helped secure MIT ball outside Old Gold’s 22. The pack started a successful maul towards the goal line with Toro controlling the ball at the back. Toro spotted some open field on the weak side and took off. Old Gold’s winger tackled Toro shot of the goal line but the MIT forwards rucked over and scrum-half Marc worked quick ball to James, who fed back in to second row Alex, who somehow barreled through several defenders to score for MIT. Old Gold’s outside center again got involved as their fly-half kicked a high ball out of their 22 and the outside center recovered the kick and fed one of their backs in support to make it 25-23 in favor of Old Gold.

Unlike past games, MIT kept their cool when they were down. With less than 5 minutes remaining, MIT pinned Old Gold back in their own 22 and their fly-half attempted to kick the ball out into MIT territory. The kick was short and Diego shouted out some Chilean curse words in delight as he caught the ball and counter attacked. The forwards rucked over and James dropped back into the pocket. Apparently James had strategically taken the 10 minute sin bin to practice drop goals, because he slotted his kick through in Wilkinson-esque fashion to give MIT the late lead. James tacked on another penalty kick before time expired, but for all intents and purposes the game had ended with the drop kick.

Man of the match: Jake

Next match: On May 7, 2016, MIT travels to Albany, NY to take on the Fairfield Yankees in the crossover playoffs.