Submitted by Andrew M. Mowry on Thursday, 8/29/2013, at 9:30 AM
The Amherst College Rugby Football Club’s first game of the spring 2011 season kicked off on Saturday March 26th.  The opposition, Castleton State, bested the Amherst squad in a heartbreaker last fall by a late scored try, so they boys had a lot to prove going into the match.

Pratt field’s seemingly perpetually windy conditions marked the kickoff, but otherwise the pitch was dry and fair. Amherst received the ball and surged into the opposition 22, where strong forwards  play had forward’s captain Chris “C-payne” Payne (Junior) touch down in the second minute of the match.  Fly half Nicolas Parada added the extras.

The shocked Castleton squad kicked off again, hoping to pin the boys back in their own half. But precise kicking moved the ball back into the Castleton half, where sophomore inside center Garret “G-bang” McCoy battered through the feeble Castleton defense with a head of steam to score. Once again Nicolas  Parada tacked on the 2 points.

Still barely into the first half, Amherst was awarded a penalty just behind the opposition 22 meter line, which Parada was happy to put through for 3 points. Minutes later another infraction gave Parada a tough angled kick, which despite the wind sailed through beautifully.

At 20-0, the Castleton State side was looking discouraged, but the boys in purple didn’t rest on their laurels. The Castleton scrum fell apart under the drive of the Amherst pack, led by props Joe Moffit (Sophomore) and rookie Chris McHale (Junior) who was playing his first match. The strong platform at the scrum gave scrum half and Club President Jon Christian “JC” Evensen (Junior) plenty of time to deliver crisp passes to Parada, who fed centers McCoy and Thomas Burnett (Senior), where hard running kept Castleton moving backwards. Joe Moffit took advantage of the weakening defense and bashed through the opposition forwards for a try, converted by Parada.

McCoy scored again on a beautiful run off of broken play at the Castleton 10 meter line, where he easily touched down beneath the posts, giving Parada the easy conversion.

Then, it was 5- foot-nothing freshman wing Mika’s turn to show his incredible pace. Shaking 3 defenders with now legendary speed, he flew past the defense starting from well behind the 22 meter to score his first try for Amherst, extras added.

The substantial lead at the half gave Amherst enough room to bring in all the new rookies, who showed admirable coolness with the ball in hand.

Castleton looked down and out, giving Amherst more opportunities to score in the Second half. Senior lock Sam Smith scored shortly after the whistle after bringing the ball down from a well thrown line by sophomore hooker Rob Cross and mauling the ball across the line to score in the corner. Conversion missed.

Michael “The Best Ever” Halvorson (senior) moved to fly half, where he put the fear of god in the opposition’s eyes with powerful running and clinical stiff arms, giving Joe Moffit the space to take off on a 35 meter run that would have made any back proud, ending in Moffit’s second try (unconverted).

Rookie wing Emil (senior) got his first try for Amherst in the closing minutes, finishing off a great run twenty meter run by rookie center Sean Monaco (sophomore) showing great awareness and support on a well worked passing move that seemed to go through the hands of all the rookies on the pitch (unconverted).

The day ended with a final score of 56-0, settling the score with Castleton in the best way. The boys from Castleton were gentlemen through the whole match and joined the Amherst club after the match for refreshments, exhibiting the true spirit of the game.