Welcome to the Charles River Women’s Rugby Football club, a Division II competitive Club.
CRWRFC was formed in 2005 when some wily Northeastern University alumnae sought an alternative to the available women’s rugby options in Boston. Our Rat foremothers, driven to display both rugby skill and social prowess, collected like-minded ladies from near and far to assemble the CRWRFC. As the club approaches a decade of play, it celebrates the full arc from scrappy startup to standout success—and we’ll cheers to that. Charles River Rugby is Boston’s only joint club featuring both men’s and women’s sides. We invite all skill levels, but a sense of humor is required. Up River!
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Practice- Spring season 2013
- River Wraps Up with 4th Place Finish in NERFU Division II Bracket
Following its first year in Division II, having ascended from D-III last fall, the women of Charles River took 4th place at the annual NERFU tournament in Newport, Rhode Island, last weekend. The Lady Rats earned a seat at the Sunday Consolation Final after splitting with Burlington (VT) and Seacoast (NH) on Saturday. There, the Orange and Green battled Portland (ME), falling 26-5 in a tough, physical match. River celebrated the end of a successful tournament and a productive spring season, having finished in the middle of the standings in their challenging new division.
The Rats began the tournament early, facing Burlington, the #2 seed, in a scheduled 8:45AM match that was unceremoniously pushed to 8:30AM by tournament officials. Burlington utilized their strengths on the petite, grass-strewn field, tying the ball up in the forwards for almost the entire game. The “Burly Girls” rucked and mauled skillfully, leaving the vastly outsized and outweighed Rat Pack at a significant disadvantage. Though the wily Rats halted Burlington drives on several occasions, the Vermont visitors would manage to power two tries through. Burlington’s first try came after a penalty deep in the River red zone in the first half. Their second came as they mauled directly from a scrum, rolling their team into the River try zone for the score. In an unfortunate draw for the Rats facing the Burlington power forwards, the match had been scheduled on the tournament’s smallest pitch. With little room to run to the outsides, River was forced to contend with the repeated mauls and short forward punches that mark the Burly Girls’ play style. Despite valiant efforts, they fell short in their quest for the first match, closing the game at 12-0.
After just a brief break, Charles River again took the pitch against Seacoast in their second match. This time, the Lady Rats had more than enough to overcome their opponents. On the strength of stellar games from Alicia Scahill (fullback) and Susan Lackey (flanker), River crashes through Seacoast, storming back after ceding the first score. With the opportunity to run, River utilized its speed advantage for several tries. Scahill had two tries in the game, and flanker Susan Lackey impressed with her speed on a long run for a try as well. In the pack, the Rats drive back Seacoast scrums and stole several lineouts. In their trademark “fifteen-as-one” style, River banded together to take a 29-5 win in the second match of the tournament.
With their day 1 schedule completed early, River took the rest of the afternoon to enjoy other rugby matches at beautiful Fort Adams State Park in Newport, RI. Despite rainy conditions, most of the Rats remained ocean-side to cheer on the Charles River men, as well as other clubs that the Orange and Green have befriended. After significant bracketing delays, the Lady Rats learned in the evening that they had earned a bid to the DII Consolation Final, against Portland. After spending a celebratory evening on the town, clad in faux fur, the Rats prepared for the morning Consolation final.
Taking the pitch early once again, a skeleton crew of healthy Rats in a shuffled lineup kicked off against Portland at 10AM. Portland took a very early lead, scoring on a breakaway during their first possession. Despite the early adversity, Charles River battled without pause. They surrendered one more try in the first half, but also managed to punch in a score of their own. The play started on a very strong ruck from Kara McAuliffe, who secured ball possession for River. Moving the ball inside the Portland 22-meter mark, the Rats transitioned the ball through several phases, then from scrumhalf Geni Beninati and out to the backs. Sarah “Bee” Wetherbee punched the ball through the defense, sliding in to the Portland try zone for the score. As time passed, the game became increasingly tense. Fortunately, the Rats managed to stay relatively cool in the face of questionable on-field antics, including taunting, post-whistle shoving and deliberate contact, and one thrown punch. The shortened roster and early starts wore on the Rats, though, as they ceded two additional breakaways for scores in the second half. River threatened on two other occasions, but were unfortunately unable to finish their drives. At the referee’s final whistle, Portland had taken the match 26-5. Overall, the Rats were happy with the win, having played a closer game than was indicated by the score. With the loss, Charles River also took 4th place in Division II. Having risen from Division III the previous fall, the Rats celebrated the middle-of-the-pack finish, in a new bracket in which they could easily have been the bottom seed.
As the season closed, the Lady Rats celebrated another successful year with a well-balanced crew of enthusiastic players. While maintaining a strong on-field presence against some very challenging competitors, the Orange and Green also remain a tight-knit group who take pride in their sense of humor and dynamic social personae. The Lady Rats would like to thank their coaches, Bob Ryman and Brian Lottridge, for their dedication and unwavering enthusiasm during the year. They thank all of the fans, including the Charles River Men’s Club, who supported them during their matches this year. A special Rat salute goes to Captains Jehanne “Juggs” Junguenet and Maegan Hoover, for fearlessly leading the Orange and Green through all adverse situations with poise, grace, and humor. River would also like to acknowledge the executive board, headed by President Whitney McCoy, for their tireless work with all of the fundraising, organizing, scheduling, dotting (i)s, crossing (t)s and recordkeeping required on the business end of running the club. Without these women, there can be no Charles River Women’s Rugby.
The Rats will return to action this summer at Cape Cod 7s, and will co-host the Gate City 7s tournament on August 10th with the men’s side. They wish all fans and friends a healthy and relaxing summer. UP RIVER!
- River on the Rise
A rolling stone gathers no moss. A rolling river, however, can swallow entire banks. Building on momentum from last week’s emotional win over Hartford, Charles River traveled to Albany to face the Knickerbockers. In an explosion of offense unprecedented this season, the Lady Rats unleashed seven tries, ringing a resounding win against the home team, 39-7. River’s back line erupted. Outside Center Sarah “Bee” Wetherbee scored three tries on the afternoon, Wing Katy Wilks earned two tries, and Alex Schmidt and Geni Beninati each touched down once. Despite the final score, it wasn’t until a frightening moment banded River together that the Lady Rats rallied to produce the prolific offense. Forwards’ captain Jehanne Junguenet suffered a neck and back injury midway through the first half, which resulted in a long stoppage and required medical assistance. (Junguenet has since recovered, never having lost her trademark sense of humor for a single second during the incident.) At the time of the stoppage, Albany had scored the match’s only try and converted the kick after. Trailing 7-0, River vowed to continue the match in honor of their injured teammate.
Having reined the ball in to the pack for the beginning of the first half, forwards on both sides battled back and forth early. Props Kate Adams and Whitney McCoy were workhorses for River up front. The ever-versatile Junguenet tried her hand at second row, alongside regular lock Jess Packard. Jehanne stepped up in the absence of several players for River, until she was injured. The equally versatile veteran Linda Morris stepped in to second row in her absence, and River didn’t miss a beat. Morris, an invaluable contributor to the club, and one who has willingly played multiple positions this season, was awarded the Forwards’ Woman of the Match for the day. Jen Garner also played very well, hooking the ball advantageously for River before she too displayed her versatility, moving around in the pack as newcomer Megan Tenca relieved her.
Scrumhalf Geni Beninati got the wheels turning for Charles River, before swapping spots with veteran Rat #9 Erin Gillespie at the half. Gillespie, renowned for her ability to dig a clean ball from traffic, gave the Orange and Green some extra time for configuration and loose play. River’s first score came on a run up the middle by Sarah “Bee” Wetherbee, with the Rats down 7-0. Though Charles River narrowly missed the kick, keeping the score at 7-5, the match’s momentum began to shift.
Captain Maegan Hoover dazzled at flyhalf, making crisp passes and running evasively before unfortunately she too was injured in the second half. Founding Rat Alex Schmidt played a phenomenal game, pinpointing kicks for which Albany had no answer. One of those kicks resulted in a try for River, when a fortuitous vertical bounce placed the ball into the hands of River’s #13, springing her for a breakaway. Schmidt would score a try of her own in the second half, advantageously tucking the ball for a run after replacing Hoover at #10. The versatile veteran also kicked penalties and post-try points, making her instrumental in the victory. The captains recognized Schmidt’s magnificent performance, bestowing the Backs’ Woman of the Match award on her at the postgame social.
Albany’s flyhalf had motioned to run a few times in the first half, but open-side flanker Susan Lackey shut the door, pulling down the #10 in blue before she could spring loose. With the increased ball movement in the second half, Wing Katy Wilks shone. Wilks had countless ferocious runs up the sidelines, two of which resulted in tries. The veteran #11 so impressed Albany that they named her the Player of the Game for the opposing squad, citing that she had “pretty much destroyed” their back line defense. The center combo of Jamie Carrillo and Sarah “Bee” Wetherbee crashed with success all match long; the new combination is becoming increasingly dynamic as they adapt to one another’s play. Speedy back Alicia Scahill impressed both on the wing and then at fullback, when she transitioned there in the second half after several Rat injuries. Despite the plentiful shuffling throughout the Charles River lineup, the Lady Rats achieved cohesion and displayed resilience during the match. They took the game handily, defeating the home team 39-7.At the post-game social in downtown Albany, Schmidt, Wilks, and Morris were recognized for their prodigious efforts during the match.
Charles River owes special and gracious thanks to Albany, for hosting them for the game, the social, and for an evening inter-club celebration. The Rats extend deep gratitude to Knickerbocker Caitlin Casey McGrath, and to her husband Brian, for hosting them at their home. River would also like to thank the fans that traveled to support them during the game.
The Lady Rats will be back in action tomorrow in a cross-city rivalry with Boston Women’s Rugby. Kickoff is scheduled for 11AM at Moakley Park in South Boston.
- For Charles River, Unity and Catharsis in Win
There was no report of last week’s match, though the Lady Rats did play. They played passably. They lost to Worcester. There was no report because, after the weekend, Charles River Rugby, like the rest of beautiful seaside Boston, stood still—silenced by incredulity, confusion and sorrow. For Bostonians, the attacks on the 117th Boston Marathon felt intensely personal. Nearly every Bostonian has ties to this venerable athletic tradition, having run, volunteered, or cheered a friend, family member, or complete stranger. It’s tradition on the Monday Patriot’s Day holiday. For the Boston sporting community, the deliberate injuries to athletes and their fans seemed particularly difficult to stomach, as runners, aspiring runners, and eager supporters suffered devastating leg injuries, or worse. The gentle giant marathon crowd—often a world apart from the enthusiastic gatherings of other sporting events—took the brunt of the blasts. It was cruel. Marathon fans weave an enormous support net. Though the event officially constitutes a race, and still has winners, no Bostonians know the first finishers. Americans have not won the running portion of the Boston Marathon since 1985 (F) and 1983 (M). A Massachusetts resident has not won since the legendary Alberto Salazar took his title in the early 80s. Still, Bostonians cheer. The event has no referee, no opposing team, and no rival fans to heckle. At the marathon, fans cheer for finishes, and they cheer as one. They cheer for success, for charity, for those chasing dreams and those running on behalf of others. Flags of the world flank the finish line, and before Bostonians applaud their own, they hail the Kenyans and the Ethiopians that cross (in recent years long before their fellow countrymen). Amidst this outpouring of camaraderie—devastation.
While the sporting community was wounded, though, the sporting would help heal. At the Boston Bruins game two days later, fans belted the national anthem, taking the lead from Rene Rancourt in a moving roar of solidarity. Profound moments of silence and photo montages debuted at the Garden and Fenway, while supporters left sneakers, signs, flowers, and finisher medals at the bombing sites. After the suspects were killed and apprehended, members of state and local law enforcement and members of the BAA were honored by the Boston Bruins “Shirts Off Our Backs” ceremony, which normally thanks season ticket holders. The Red Sox’s David “Big Papi” Ortiz spoke passionately before a full crowd at Fenway, dropping an expletive that even the FCC could not bear to fine. “This is our f*%$ing city!” he declared during the nationally-televised pregame ceremonies. Visiting professional athletes sported blue and yellow ribbons and “Boston Strong” patches. Even the rival New York Yankees played “Sweet Caroline” at Yankee Stadium, though the Sox were not visiting.
The sporting community has united—as “One Boston”, and even, however temporarily, as one nation. From underneath this shadow, with nearly two-thirds of the club emerging from Greater Boston’s shelter-in-place ordinance only hours before, Charles River Women’s Rugby traveled to Hartford for a cathartic match against the Wild Roses. The Rats had a bit more than usual to start the match, perhaps internalizing the kinetic energy resultant from the week’s emotional rollercoaster. Before the match, veteran Alex Schmidt, one of the club’s founding members, led the Orange and Green in a special pre-game cheer. Prefacing their usual “Up River!” by singing final measures of the national anthem, “…and the home of the brave”, the Lady Rats huddled in solidarity and embraced, grateful that none of their own had been among those catastrophically injured on the 15th.
On the pitch, the match quickly became business as usual. The emotions of competition supplanted those of duress; the joy of athletics displaced the stress of tragedy. The two sides battled back and forth in the first half, each coming to within meters of scoring but neither able to capitalize. River’s forwards were excellent in the match. The Rat Pack scrummed with skill and poise, keeping nearly all of their put-ins and stealing several from Hartford. Anne “Wales” Beaumont and Kara McAuliffe both played tremendous games, leading with aggression and practicing very strong rucking and ball carrying. Flanking the pack, Erin Gillespie and Susan Lackey laid crushing hits on the Roses, consistently pushing rucks and pressuring the Hartford Flyhalf and ball carriers. Jen Garner started at #2, and managed to steal several of Hartford’s put-ins in scrum play. Megan Tenca, who relieved her, maintained the momentum. Ball movement was excellent for Charles River, whose forwards and backs worked seamlessly, perhaps for the first time all season. On the strength of power carries from Lock Jess Packard and timely and skillful offloads of props Jehanne “Juggs” Junguenet and Whitney McCoy, River’s backs were able to spring loose for several sizeable gains. Rookie Jamie Carrillo, inserting comfortably into the Inside Center position, crashed nicely for the Rats. Defensively, River combined to rein in a talented Hartford fullback, collapsing several developing opportunities. In the first half, the Rats held their breath as Hartford elected to kick for points on a penalty inside the 22-meter mark. The kick sailed wide. At the end of the half, River had a penalty opportunity of their own. Electing not to kick, the Orange and Green attempted to drive into the try zone, but were denied by the Roses’ defense.
With the sides deadlocked at halftime, River dug deep. Both camps traded gains and losses, kicks and chases, and several penalty opportunities. The Rat Pack capitalized on nearly every open opportunity, working extremely well with young scrumhalf Geni Beninati. Beninati and commanding veteran Alex Schmidt at Flyhalf built a well-oiled fulcrum between the pack and the backs. In the second half, the Charles River backs shined. The deadlock was finally broken when Flyhalf Alex Schmidt kept the ball after a split play, running through a gap in the defense. As she encountered pressure, she dished to Outside Center Sarah “Bee” Wetherbee, who covered the rest of the ground for the score. Schmidt returned to lace the two-point conversion, and River leapt ahead.
Hartford surged after the River try, making several streaking gains. Fullback Alicia Scahill did an excellent job shutting down her counterpart on the Roses, who was a very strong runner. She countered with runs of her own, including one brief burst that resulted in the second and final try of the contest. Scahill ran in close support of Wing Katy Wilks, who had overmatched her counterpart on Hartford throughout the game. Wilks blew past several defenders, impressively advancing nearly 60 meters before dishing to Scahill to finish it off for the score. River would maintain the 12-0 lead for the duration of the match. Rookie Kate Condon, making her Charles River debut, also made several key advances on the outside. With all players contributing, and all cylinders firing, River maintained the pace of the match for the final fifteen minutes.
When the referee’s final whistle sounded, the Lady Rats cheered an emotional victory, achieved through the cohesion of all sixteen active players united under the colors of Boston’s Charles River. Enjoying their respite from the chaos of the week, the ladies celebrated a successful match with the Hartford Roses. Charles River captains Junguenet and Maegan Hoover, sidelined with an injury this week, honored scrumhalf Geni Beninati and Wing Katy Wilks for their exceptional play during the match. The Roses awarded Sarah “Bee” Wetherbee with their Visitors’ Player of the Game award.
Charles River would like to thank the Hartford Wild Roses for hosting them for a wonderful match this week. “It’s only a game”, posits the familiar phrase, but this particular game provided a welcome outlet, and an opportunity to unite. The legacy of Charles River Women’s Rugby in Boston is one of cohesion, of sorority in sport. With this spirit, the club extends deep sympathies to the families of those lost or injured during the Boston Marathon, and expresses solidarity with those members of the Boston sporting community who were, and continue to be, affected by the events. The Lady Rats look forward to seeing survivors recover, triumph and return to run again. We are One Boston; and we are Boston Strong.
- Rats Keep on Tickin’
The retired Timex watch slogan saw its reincarnation last Saturday, on the backs of a Charles River Lady Rat team that never quit in the face of adversity. Traveling to Sudbury with a severely depleted lineup, the Orange and Green challenged a renowned Beantown squad, clawing their way through the match with poise and heart. Despite being handily outscored, the Rats never let down, halting a Beantown try even in the final seconds.
The Rats fell to 0-2 on the season with the loss, but remain optimistic as they continue to restructure their play under head coach Bob Ryman in 2012-2013. River rallied around its veteran core, relying on the emotional steadfastness of players like Jehanne Junguenet, Kara McAuliffe, Anne “Wales” Beaumont and Alex Schmidt. All four played strong games, the former three leading the Rat Pack with determination, and the latter consistently releasing pressure with well-placed kicks. Prop Julie “Traut” Trautwein played a very strong game, handling her Beantown counterparts in the pack with precision and power. Trautwein would be recognized for her work with a Star of the Game award from Captains Junguenet and Maegan Hoover. Alicia Scahill impressed on the wing for Charles River, shutting down her larger counterpart on Beantown several times, while also creating space to run. Scahill made several breaks on the outside, but unfortunately, River was unable to capitalize on her efforts.
Beantown’s marked size and manpower advantage returned large dividends for the home team. Sadly, Charles River lost another of its already depleted lineup when flanker Karen Smith suffered a season-ending injury in the second half. Having already inserted a forward to its back line, Charles River still exercised stoic determination. The Rats fought bitterly, scrapping in scrums and reining in the middle Beantown’s back line for much of the match. Despite being vastly outweighed in the forwards, the Rat Pack held its own in scrumdowns. The plucky play and quick thinking of Captain Jehanne Junguenet drew Beantown’s attention, as they named the veteran as their Visitor’s Player of the Game. The versatile Junguenet, normally a prop, displayed striking agility at #8, breaking away on several nifty pick-and-gos and coordinating well with scrumhalf Geni Beninati.
Despite the heavy loss to the premier Beantown club, Coach Bob Ryman praised his club’s determination and cohesion. After the match, the captains recognized Scahill and Trautwein, while Beantown praised Junguenet’s play. The Rats cheered their efforts, having scuffled to the very end. Charles River would like to thank Beantown and Sudbury High School for hosting the match. The Lady Rats return to action tomorrow, when they travel to Worcester to face the Shamrocks. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30PM.