MIT too green for first match on new grass

Teams:MIT vs Saratoga Rugby Club
Played:09/24/2016 @ MIT
Score: 0 - 48 MIT loss

On Saturday, September 24, 2016, MIT hosted Saratoga for their first match on their newly renovated grass pitch. It was a perfect fall day and the combination of ideal weather and a pristine new field made for great conditions for running rugby. Unfortunately Saratoga took better advantage of the conditions as they had a more dynamic attack on the day.

The first half started much like the week before, with the opposition controlling possession and attacking with MIT’s defense holding strong for the first 10 minutes. Saratoga’s #10, #12, and #13 combination gave MIT problems all day. MIT’s outside center Eric chased one of the Saratoga attackers down on a breakaway to save a would-be try. Flyhalf James held up another attacker in the try zone to save another try. Forward Art put in some massive hits around the breakdown. After some shifty cutback running, Saratoga sliced through some uneven defense lines to get on the board. But MIT still felt like they were very much in the game. MIT chose to put Saratoga under pressure with kicks in the first half, a strategy that paid off as their back 3 knocked-on a few balls giving MIT possession and field position. Right before half time, MIT put together multiple phases and were on the verge of scoring but just could not put it together as a high pass sailed over Hacksaw’s head out of bounds and the ref blew the whistle for half time with Saratoga leading 17-0.

At the half, Coach Sean worked his inner Bill Belichick and urged everyone to, “Do your jobs.” But Saratoga had already been doing their jobs for 40 minutes and had no intention of taking the second half off. They continued to run in tries while MIT struggled to get over the line. MIT were strong in the set pieces anchored by the front row combination of Zach, Toro, and Jarrad. There were times where the backs and forwards linked up well together, led by rookie scrumhalf Chris L. 2.0, who was thrown into the fire after just 3 weeks of rugby training. Chris L. showed great poise and gave good ball to flyhalf James all afternoon. Chris L. also held his own against the Saratoga forwards, most of which were twice his size. Despite the score line, there were a lot of positives to take away from the game, as the new players and veterans continue to work together and build chemistry.

Men of the match: Toro and John V.

Next match: 1:00 PM Saturday, October 1, 2016 Old Gold RFC @ MIT (Briggs Field)