A draw, as MIT led lead slip away late at Old Gold.

Teams:MIT vs Old Gold
Played:09/23/2017 @ Joe Moakley Field
Score: 20 - 20

A 10 am Saturday morning start at Joe Moakley Field in South Boston proved to be a challenge for the more nocturnally inclined members of MIT rugby. Nonetheless, the early going saw MIT moving the ball very well on attack, with big carries in midfield from Caleb, Frank and Alex, and a strong performance from the the MIT front row providing a good platform in the scrum. This early pressure drew a penalty which John G dispatched to put MIT on the scoreboard.

Old Gold hit back with a penalty of their own, but MIT responded, threatening the Old Gold line with James, Clay and Eric all going close to scoring the first try of the game, but coming up just short. Eric exemplified some of the early season rustiness MIT had been dealing with in a slow start to the season, touching down on the 5 yard line with no defenders in front of him, having already done all the hard work.

After an Old Gold clearing kick from deep in their own territory, Erik-with-a-k made no such mistake, touching down underneath the posts after a weaving return in which he beat multiple tackles on the way to the try line. John G tapped over the conversion to take MIT to a 10-3 lead at the half.

The second half saw both teams defend courageously, with MIT using strong running from Frank, Caleb, and Ed to break the defensive line, only to see Old Gold outwork the beaver pack to the breakdown and turn the ball over on numerous occasions. Old Gold put pressure on the MIT defense with hard carrying from their tight 5, but staunch defensive work from Sasha and Zach held them out of the try zone.

Another strong MIT scrum inside the Old Gold half provided quick ball to the backs, and with Tim spotting a gap in behind the Old Gold backs and relaying the information in from the sideline, James chipped over for John G to collect and score for MIT’s second try of the game. Shortly thereafter, a long range penalty from John G put MIT up 20-3 with just under 20 minutes to play.

Old Gold, sensing some tiredness from MIT, fought back furiously, winning penalties at the breakdown, and pinning back MIT with long kicks to touch, and strong lineout play. This pressure soon paid off, Old Gold winning an arm wrestle on the MIT goal line to bring the score to 20-10. With 9 minutes to go, and the MIT defense losing its shape after a long period of defending, Old Gold spread the ball wide to score though their backs, bringing the score to 20-17.

With both sides playing cautiously in the final minutes, it looked as if MIT might be able to hang on to the final whistle, but with 3 minutes left, a midfield scrum resulted in a penalty for Old Gold, which their kicker slotted to tie it up at 20-20. A desperate last ditch effort saw MIT piling on the pressure deep in Old Gold territory, but the Old Gold defense stood the test, and a knock-on after a strong counter-ruck brought the final whistle.

A draw, and the first league points of the season for MIT, but the team will feel they let the win slip away from them on this occasion. On the bright side, with new MIT club members Ed, Bret, Paul, Adrian, David and Gone all making an impact on the field, the squad should be set up for more success as the season progresses. Next week sees MIT travel to Burlington, Vermont in search of some fall foliage and that elusive first win.