4/23/2011, Amherst vs. Wesleyan
This past Saturday’s match was an early 11:00 AM away game at Wesleyan. The team was missing the starting fullback, 8-man, inside center, and open-side flanker, which allowed the depth an opportunity to prove their mettle. Because of awful weather conditions, it was dubious as to whether or not the match could occur at all, but the Amherst boys made the drive anyway, only getting confirmation that the match was a go about halfway to Middleton.
When the vans and cars rolled up to the always too narrow and ill-kempt Wesleyan pitch, the team was greeted by 35 degree weather, a torrential downpour and excessive winds. After warming up in standing water, Amherst was informed that the Wesleyan EMT had not even arrived yet, meaning that Amherst was forced wait in the freezing rain and mud for another 45 minutes before the kickoff.
When the whistle finally blew, the frustrated Amherst side received the kickoff and proceeded to work the ball patiently into the Wesleyan half. Despite the awful conditions, there weren’t too many knock-ons, and the backs were able to move the ball and kick-and-chase into the Wesleyan 22. Soon enough Amherst was awarded a penalty about 15 meters from the line. Flyhalf Nicolas Parada surveyed his options before tapping the ball on the ground the scooping it up for a dash for the line. The surprised Wesleyan winger was unable to stop Parada as he blew through the tackle and touched down in the corner, conversion missed.
Despite great defense from Prop Joseph Moffit (who was captaining the forwards in 8-man Chris Payne’s absence) and Outside Center Julian Scott, the next few minutes saw Wesleyan mount an attack led by the forwards that resulted in a converted try scored under the posts. Amherst now trailed 7-5.
Amherst did well to halt Wesleyan’s momentum and put pressure on the Fullback with deep kicks. Daniel Schulwolf, who usually starts at wing, manned the 15 spot admirably in Senior Michael Halvorson’s absence. Everything that came at Schulwolf was promptly scooped out of the mud and returned into space. Parada had a few chances at goal in the end of first half, but only one dropped, making the score 8-7 at the half.
At the start of the second half the weather had only gotten worse and every player on the pitch was now covered head to toe in mud. The Wesleyan number 12 began the half by cutting a hole through the Amherst defensive backline, but a scrambling covering defense from Sophomore Lock Andrew Maori saved the lead.
The game began to slow down as the pitch’s condition worsened, and Wesleyan seemed to be gaining some momentum. Amherst responded by bombarding the Wesleyan Fullback with high balls from the boot that more often than not resulted in an Amherst put-in to the scrum. On such a scrum at the Wesleyan 22 near the end of the match, Parada took the pass from the scrum and slipped through the Wesleyan backline, easily beating the Fullback and scoring beneath the posts, conversion successful. Amherst now led 15- 7 with little time left.
Wesleyan nearly scored in the final minute after a ball squirted from the scrum, but a pass was thrown forward and the final whistle gurgled in the rain.
Congrats to the boys on a classic rainy day win away from home. This Saturday the 4-0 Amherst squad plays for an undefeated spring season in the Amherst-Williams classic. Do you live in the area? Come down and support the boys at Pratt Field on Saturday the 30th! Kickoff is at 1:00 PM.
Relentlessly thirsty for Williams’ blood,