Williams College RFC
The match originally planned for this Saturday the 25th against MCLA has been canceled. There will be no make-up. The rest of the schedule remains unchanged.
Williams College beat Colby-Sawyer College and the Keene State College B-side to finish first in their pool and play for the championship at the annual, John Donovan Memorial Rugby Tournament for Mental Health, on Saturday, 4/18/15. Unfortunately, Williams lost to the Keene State A-side in the Championship Match and finished in second place out of six teams.
Williams' first game was against Colby-Sawyer. Williams took an early lead and never looked back. Colby-Sawyer did begin to make it a game in the second half, holding Williams to one try and scoring two themselves. However, Williams was able to hold on and the game ended with Williams up, 22-14.
Williams then played Keene State B-side. The game was very one sided with Williams winning 67-0 with several players scoring their first ever try.
Head Coach, Jeremiah Madison, said, “Colby-Sawyer has a fine club and they played very well and very hard. They did not give up and could have beat us if they had more time. Keene State B-side was well coached but our experience overall beat them. But you have to give it to them, despite the score, they did not give up and kept their composure.”
Williams then played Keene State A-side in the championship match. Williams gave up their first try after only 8 minutes of play, when a KSC player crashed through a gap right off the ruck and was able to sprint for a try. KSC, continued hammering at Williams defense close to the ruck, and capitalized on Williams defensive breakdowns, scoring five more trys in similar fashion. Williams, however, was unable to do much on the offensive side of things. Williams continued fighting and got within 10 meters of scoring three different times, but was unable to convert. The game ended with Keene State College over Williams College, 39-0.
“Keene State is coached very well with a very aggressive, physical style. Ultimately, their size, strength, and physicality overpowered us and left us on our backs. We have some things to work on but, our players also grew out there. They are better players because of today and because of that game,” said Madison.
Team President, and 8-man, Henry Bergman said, “In the four years that I have been a part of this club, we have never placed – till this year. I am not ashamed of second place. It would have been nice to win first, but I can be happy with second.”
Keene State A-side place 1st, Williams College placed 2nd, Colby-Sawyer placed 3rd, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts finished in 4th place, Keene State B-side came in 5th place and Lyndon State College finished in 6th. The tournament itself was to bring awareness to the importance of mental health and it tournament raised over $1200 dollars to be donated to The Brien Center of Berkshire County.
In both team’s first game of the season, Williams College Rugby was able to prevail against Bennington Battle Men’s Rugby Football Club, 36-12. Williams coach, Jeremiah Madison, founded, played for, and coached the Bennington Battle team before taking over the men’s rugby program at Williams College.
The first score came only seven minutes into the game when Williams’ senior center, Josh Helmkamp, was able to make a 50 meter break to score five points for Williams. Senior flyhalf, Chris Conder, was good on the kick giving Williams the early 7-0 lead. Then all of a sudden, about 2 minutes later, Williams ran the same play, setting Helmkamp up for another 30 meter break, and advancing Williams’ lead. Conder was again good for the extra points attempt, and Williams lead 14-0. Then, only half way through the first half, Conder punched in his own try and converted the kick making the score 21-0.
Bennington Battle finally began to find their feet and the next 20 minutes of the first half became a slug fest with both teams driving down to the others territory just to turn the ball over. Benington refused to go into half scoreless and finished the half by punching in a try of their own. Prop, Sean Morin thumped his way into the try-zone, dragging four Williams players with him, putting five points in Battle’s column. Their extra point attempt was no good and the half ended 21-5.
The second half was almost identical to the first with Williams taking advantage of their overwhelming endurance and speed, breaking for three more trys. Among the scorers was Helmkamp again, giving him a hat-trick on the day. The other two trys were scored by freshman wing, Spencer Thomas, sophomore wing, Sean Spees. No kicks were converted by Williams in the second half. Bennington’s flanker, Sam Brown also punched in one try with flyhalf, Tim Reisler converting Bennington’s extra point.
“This was a great hard hitting game to prep us for our tournament next weekend,” said Madison. “We won because of our speed, but if we play a college team with similar speed and endurance, it may not go the say way. Bennington gratefully exposed several of our areas of need while bringing ruby season in full force.”
Williams College hosts a Tournament for charity next week called the John Donovan Memorial Tournament for Mental Health. All proceeds from the tournament will go to charity.
Bennington’s next game is April 25th at Black River Rugby Club in Ludlow, VT. For more information about Bennington Battle Rugby go to benningtonrugby.org.
Williams College Men’s Rugby Team will host five other New England area college rugby teams in an effort to raise money and awareness for mental illness. On Saturday, April 18th, the annual John Donovan Memorial Rugby Tournament for Mental Health will take place at Williams College at the rugby fields on Stetson St. Games start at 11am and will continue until around 5pm.
Most rugby tournaments charge an entry fee that is used to raise money for the host club. In this case, the Williams Rugby Team budgeted for most of the tournament expenses and any money made from the tourney will go directly to the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services of the Berkshires. There is still an entry fee, but instead of being required, it is instead a suggested donation of $300-$400 per team which will all be donated to the charity. In addition, any money raised by concessions after the cost of supplies will be donated and there will be a 50/50 raffle the day of the tournament with proceeds being donated. The team is keeping no profit from this event and expects to raise over $1200.
The tournament is named after Williams College Rugby Alum, John Donovan. Donovan was known as a very kind and accepting player, welcoming all who came out. Unfortunately, Donovan suffered from Bi-polar Disease and shortly after graduating Williams College in 1983, committed suicide. All donations will be given in John Donovan’s name.
This is the first time Head Coach, Jeremiah Madison has organized the tournament, just taking over the program this spring. “It is for a great cause that often goes unnoticed. Mental illness is real and is serious and we want to help bring awareness to it as well as support an organization that helps those afflicted with mental illness,” said Madison.
The five teams that will be competing in the tournament along with Williams College are: Keene State College from Keene, NH; Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts from North Adams, MA; Colby-Sawyer College from New London, NH; Champlain College from Burlington, VT; and Lyndon State College from Lyndon, VT.
Williams Rugby attended the National Small College Rugby Organization’s (NSCRO) Northeast Qualifying 7’s Tournament at American International College in Springfield, MA on Sunday, March 15th. This was an opportunity to qualify for the National Championship 7’s Tournament to be held in Philadelphia in May.
This was the first time that Williams Men’s Rugby had competed in any 7’s event in several years. Under the new leadership of their new head coach, Jeremiah “Jerm” Madison, the sevens tournament provided an opportunity for a fresh start and some much needed hitting and tackling before the regular spring season starts in April. “We knew, going into this tournament, that we were probably ill-equipped for 7’s. It’s a speed game and we took mostly forwards,” Madison said. “But the guys were excited to get out and do their best, pushing their bodies, and making tackles - and that is what they did.”
Williams’ first game was against Bates College. Bates got off to a quick 12-0 lead but the Williams College team found their footing and was able to complete a series of eight phases and off-loads before finally dishing the ball to freshman wing, Noah Wright, who broke a tackle and then sprinted forty meters for Williams first try of the day. The conversion attempt was no good and the half ended with Williams down 17-5. Bates dominated the second half through their fitness and speed, scoring two more tries with conversions, ending the game 31-5. Madison said, “It was clear at the start of the game the guys didn’t quite understand what they were doing. They were playing the game as if it was the normal 15’s they are use to and left a lot of gaps. This was primarily my fault in not coaching the strategy of 7’s better. But they persevered and improved as the game went on.”
Williams’ second game was against SUNY Plattsburgh. Plattsburgh scored right off the first kickoff when Williams gave up the sideline making the score 5-0. Plattsburg was able to put in one more quick score before the game got to be a tight battle. Williams was able to get their own try with about a minute, thirty left on the clock when a series of tight crashes pulled in Plattsburgh’s defense, opening up a space for Wright to score his second try of the day. The conversion was missed again and the half finished with Plattsburgh ahead, 10-5. The second half was a hard fight with Williams College driving twice within 15 meters of scoring just to turn the ball over. Plattsburgh was able to make a long break for one try and sneak in two off of scrums, winning the game 25-5. “We played great,” exclaimed Madison. “We played hard, made big hits, stayed spread-out, and made solid passes for the most part. Ultimately, it came down to the fact that we brought a bunch of heavy-duty dump trucks to a NASCAR race – they will crush the little cars, but they have to catch them first. We couldn’t catch them.”
Williams then had to immediately turn around with no break and face the defending NSCRO 7’s National Champions, New England College. When the dust settled, Williams had been defeated 71-0. “Every time we got the ball, we got no more than a phase or two before they somehow stole it and were off to the races. It wasn’t fun to watch or for the guys to play. They tried their best… but a blow like that really knocks down the morale.”
Exhausted, cold, and with spirits low, Williams College took the field for one final game against SUNY Oswego. “There was very little left in the tanks for the guys. But they gave everything they had and I guarantee you the Oswego guys are going to wake up sore tomorrow from the hits we gave them.” But in the end, it wasn’t enough – Williams lost 57-0 in their final game.
William Patterson University was also present at the tournament but Williams College did not face them at all. Senior forward and team president, Henry Bergman, said with a smile, “It was a great learning experience for us. It helped us work on many things we need for 15’s. I think we can take this experience and build on it for the tournament we are hosting and for our big rivalry game against Amherst. We will probably come back to this tournament next year but hopefully we will bring with us a few more backs and more speed.”
Williams next game will be home on April 11th, against Bennington Battle Rugby Football Club from Bennington, VT – a Division IV adult men’s team that Coach Madison founded and played for before coming to coach at Williams.
Spring 2015 Schedule
Saturday, Apr. 11 Bennington Away TBA
Saturday, Apr. 18 John Donovan Tournament Home TBA
Saturday, Apr. 25 MCLA Away TBA
Saturday, May 2 Amherst College Away TBA
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