With the weather report threatening to add to the dour sentiment of our alumni weekend having been switched from our traditional fall slot to a cold and wet February, it seemed as though this year’s installment of our tradition may become less than thrilling. But come kick-off our hopes were raised and as fate would have it, the weekend held new hope both on and off the field.
In-keeping with tradition, returning players had migrated from around the country, with two coming from the far reaches of England, and the Bahamas. For two days prior, alumni greats such as Logan “Oh My Femur” and Mike Honeycutt, Lewis “Sir Lewis” Gilbert, and Mike “O’Banyon” Bannon were in attendance, along with 40 of their fellow alumni. Jon Hansen made it from Washington, DC only to somehow find himself the wrong side of the river in Mount Pleasant. On alumni-eve the gentlemen of the CofC Men’s Rugby Club convened in the Irish watering hole of Tommy Condons, to talk important alumni business, induct Mr. Andy “Wandy” Evans and Jon “Head” Hansen into the hall of fame, and hydrate for the important upcoming game. Everyone presently went to bed as they knew the importance of rest.
The morning came with the alumni feeling refreshed and alert. The skies above Charleston had warmed, the rain abated, and the alumni took to the field with great optimism. A starting side that could put up a match for any men’s team was little troubled by the early optimism of the college, with Mike Bannon playing off some early charges to score a quick try for the alumni 5-0 alumni. Granda closely missed the conversion from a tight angle. The alumni kept up their relentless push quickly regaining control of the ball and some hard charges from Sam “Are we wearing the black jerseys?” Cook and David “I live a charmed life” Bethel helping propel the alumni to within striking distance of a second score. A couple more strong pushes and a quick couple of passes from Rupert “Pip” Munro and Jon “Head” Hansen and Wade “Easter” Berreth scored to put the alumni up 10-0.
With the college side trying to put up a front, they held the their ground for an extended period taking some strong drives and holding the alumni in check with good tackling. After some attacking players of their own, however, the communication broke down and Tyler “T9000” Pitman picked off a pass to their wing and took it to the house. 15-0 alumni. Another conversion missed…
With the restart coming the alumni again took control of the game and put up two further quick scores with dependsable Michael Bannon scoring off a pass from Pip (20-0) and Grandpa collecting his own chip kick after a one-hopper to put the alumni up 27-0 having finally made a conversion.
The second half started much in the same way as the first had, with the college putting up some strong hits from Chris Natoli, Nate Peck, and Joe Rutherford. Jon Sussingham played well at scrum-half getting a good hit on Austin Coon at the back of a scrum. But in the end the alumni again proved a little too much for the team to bear are dropped another score to make it 32-0. Unsurprisingly for the day, the conversion failed after the Tate “Tater” Smith try.
A final heave from both sides led to some good play by “Big” Greg Hayes, and Lawson “Judge” Ballard getting a couple of long runs off before being stopped at the 5m line. The college put up a strong front and put up some great legal tackles. A poorly-timed chip kick from the college led to another late score for the alumni, but in a sustained and determined final drive the college finally broke through the alumni ranks to score with a Ben Tomkins try, hit the conversion, and finish off the day with a 37-7 final score.
While the final tally might not fully show it, the college played some commendable rugby, making tackles, talking well, and building up solid drives to create some good opportunities. It was an early (and tough) game for the inexperienced side but they showed great character and a solid base of rugby ability. A few small slips at key moments led to the experienced alumni side capitalizing and building up a strong lead that the college couldn’t overcome. The future of CofC Rugby is in good hands and will surely lead to success on the field in the coming season. Another alumni game closed with a strong performance an renewed solidarity between the alumni and team, with 501(c)(3) paperwork being filed in the near future, the club is going from strength to strength.
Alumni Man of the Match: “Tall” Mike Honeycutt
Alumni DotD: Andy “Wandy” Evans
Man of the Match: John Sussingham
DotD: Adam White