After 6 games of warm-up for the biggest game of the season, the Amherst College Rugby Football Club faced its annual bout against the Williams College squad in a match that was supposed to be played a semester earlier. The rivalry game was canceled in the spring ’09 season due to Williams’ suspension from the New England Rugby Football Union for incident involving burning the jersey a member of their team was wearing during a social event. Needless to say, 12 months was too long for the Jeffs to not face the Ephs.
On a perfect rugby weather day, both teams came out even early tied at 3-3 after trading penalty kicks with flyhalf Nick Parada ’13 putting it through for the Jeffs. Amherst’s hard hits began taking its toll though, as William’s backfield started showing more and more weaknesses as the game progressed. Eventually, Amherst’s Outside Center Jim East ’12 proved to be the final spear in a drive that punctured the weak Williams backs for a try. Amherst would lead 8-3 at half.
Williams would respond at the onset of the second, with a fluke play, lucky try of their own, but the 8-8 tie would not last long. As Amherst fans continued to stream down Memorial Hill to see the epic matchup, the sidelines for the Jeffs were completely filled and screamed with noise unlike anyone had heard on the pitch for well over a year. The tie would be snapped by another well placed penalty kick from flyhalf Parada ’13 making the match 11-8. Soon after, the Jeffs again had the momentum and the ball as they drove down the field. The following score would be made following a certainly odd series of events. As scrum-half Tim Burnett ’11 scooped the ball out the back of his forwards, he heard the call for a drop goal. Yes… a drop goal. After a moment of hesitation, he reassured himself that he heard the call correctly and passed the ball to Parada ’13, who further proved his leg by sinking a drop goal and truly the dagger to Williams by enhancing the Jeffs lead to 14-8. The only person out of this equation was fullback Michael Halvorson ’11, who originally made the original drop goal call for himself to kick, not Parada, yet couldn’t help but be pleased that the hours of practicing drop goals in practice proved worthwhile.
The Game was over for Williams at that point. The Ephs were down, wounded, and struggling. Amherst further cemented the victory with a very deserving try from 8-man Caca Wanjala ’11. The end result would come out to be 22-8 with the Jeffs beating the Ephs soundly and stripping them of their jerseys per the usual tradition. Despite a fabricated report on the Williams Rugby website, no B-site match was played. ACRFC ended its fall ’09 season with a 1-6 record, but for all intents and purposes, a winning season, considering Williams ended at 0-5.