Rugby Alums Exact 24-17 Revenge On Pygmies

SOCORRO, N.M. October 29, 2010 – New Mexico Tech's annual student-vs.-alumni rugby match lived up to its advance billing Friday as the Ancestor graduates scored a thrilling 24-17 victory over the student team. The match went down to the wire but a last-second dive for the line was thwarted when Pygmy substitute forward Joe Tyson was knocked out of bounds on the final play of the match.  

The win by the old boys snapped a three-year winning streak by the students, who prevailed 55-32 last October. This year marked the 25th anniversary of the "Black and Blue Match" for the NMT Rugby Club, which was founded in 1973.

The Ancestors fielded a strong team featuring several former Pygmies who are currently active with senior rugby clubs. With particular talent in the back positions, the Ancestors elected to play the wide open passing and running game usually employed by recent student teams. The narrow final margin reflected the level to which the junior ruggers rose in keeping the match competitive.

Under cloudy yet windless conditions the Ancestors scored at 12 minutes when 2009-2010 Most Valuable Player Jay Herrera, playing wing, touched down a try in the corner after a running break featuring center Pat Simons and fullback Tory Tadano. Rob Harrison's conversion attempt sailed wide and the Pygmies trailed 5-0. The teams battled on equal footing for the next fifteen minutes as the lighter Pygmy forwards held their ground in set scrums and won an equal share of lineout throw ins.

At 26 minutes a graduate player failed to release the ball following a tackle and referee Dr. Clint Richardson, a former Pygmy standout, whistled the penalty. Flyhalf and head Pygmy captain Royce Beaudry slotted a penalty kick from 25 meters and the teams went to the halftime break at 5-3 to the Ancestors.

Five minutes into the second 40-minute half, sophomore wing Enrique Koerdell was the benefactor of a breakout by the Pygmies, and his try was converted by Beaudry to take the students into the lead at 10-5. The Ancestors countered with long passes along their line of backs, but their Pygmy counterparts, led by Beaudry, Marshal Spradley, Brock Romero and Isaiah Sanchez, tackled bravely to slow the tide. At 16 minutes Herrera took a last pass from Pablo Garibay to score his second try for the Ancestors. Harrison's conversion moved the grads back on top 12-10. Five minutes later the big center Simons made a powerful weaving run to score and although the conversion attempt failed the Ancestors led 17-10.

Twelve minutes from full time James Fallt punctuated his Man of the Match performance for the Pygmies. Playing in place of regular scrumhalf Dustin Webb, Fallt picked up the ball behind his forwards and noticed the defender in front of him moving out to cover an anticipated pass to Beaudry. Instead Fallt shot through the gap and ran 35 meters before wrong-footing the last defender to score. Beaudry was good with the conversion and the scores were knotted at 17.

A sizeable throng loudly willed the home team toward victory, but again it was Simons who got across the try line with five minutes remaining. Scrumhalf Seth Daly connected with the conversion and the Pygmies trailed by a converted try, 24-17, with less than five minutes remaining. The students mounted a sustained effort to move the ball within striking range, but Tyson's last-gasp surge for the line came up less than a meter short as he was driven into touch (out of bounds) by a wall of desperate Ancestor defenders.  

Pat Simons was honored with a game ball signed by members of both teams for his Man of the Match performance for the Ancestors, while Pygmy James Fallt received the weekly Rucker Cup, donated in 2009 by former Tech captain Matt Majors. The Pygmies will carry a 6-6 fall record into next Saturday's match against the New Mexico State University Chiles in Las Cruces.

By Dave Wheelock/Tech Rugby Director

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SOCORRO, N.M. October 22, 2010 -- The Pygmies and the Ancestors put on a good show for an ample crowd of rugby fans in the annual Black and Blue Match on Friday afternoon. The Tech graduates came out ahead by one try (seven points) in an entertaining and competitive match. A complete report from rugby director Dave Wheelock will be published here soon.

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The Ancestors introduce themselves during pre-game festivities.
The Pygmies line up for introductions prior to Friday's annual alumni vs. students match.
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Several Pygmies deride the Ancestors during introductions.
The official T-shirt for the 49ers rugby match.
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Play gets underway
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Untitled-2Dozens of students, alumni and community members turned out to watch the match.
The afternoon featured excellent weather for playing and watching rugby.
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