The Harvard Rugby Club, a group of dedicated and talented athletes, travelled in borrowed, rented, and privately owned cars to play two games against the University of Rhode Island last night.
The "A" team out-butted the Rams for a 13-10 victory, while the "B" team could muster only four points against their URI foes, who scored 10.
Scored a Try?
With URI leading 10-7 late in the second half Mike DeMatteo scored a try, giving the Crimson an 11-10 advantage. Fullback Dave Alballa split the uprights of the goalposts for the two-point conversion and a 13-10 win for the Harvard ruggers.
After a try is scored the ball is placed on a line perpendicular to the goal line and at least 20 yards from the spot where the ball crossed the goal line. "Dave made a heck of a kick from a far corner," a team member said.
DeMatteo initiated the scoring for Harvard with a 30-yard drop kick, putting the Crimson ahead by a 3-0 margin. The Rams then scored a try to make the score 4-3 URI. Harvard regained the lead in the seesaw battle, 7-4, when co-captain Peter Hilton dove over the goal line for a try after picking up the ball which had slithered from a tackled DeMatteo's hands.
Early in the second half URI tallied a try and a two-point conversion for a 10-3 advantage. Then DeMatteo's try and Alballa's conversion put Harvard on top to stay.
"They overpowered us, but we played better rugby," Lou Marczuk said. "Our ball control and kicking game were superior. Their players were mostly football players. They were good athletes but they didn't know the game well. Their backs were the best we've faced so far," Marczuk said.
The "B" team lost to the Rams 10-4. Kevin Riley scored the try for the Crimson and the conversion failed.
"Their forwards won the hooks," "B" team member Steve McCue said. "Their scrum was getting the ball to their backs better than ours did."
Poor officiating marred both games. URI players acted as referees and called biased games against the Crimson, according to one team member.
While rugby wouldn't be rugby without the beer, around the lighted field vast numbers of URI fraternity members drank furiously as the Crimson and the Rams made thirsty war.
Over spring break, the ruggers, without financial backing from Harvard, journeyed by land to Florida to play two games. The Orlando Rugby Club crushed the Crimson in the first half, 24-0. The ruggers fought back in the second, but fell 28-0.
Harvard forfeited the game they were to play in Tampa because not enough players could afford to travel there.