Another Rainy NERFU in the Books!

This past weekend both Charles River teams headed down to Newport for the annual NERFU Cup.  The weekend capped off a short Spring season that was full of growth for both sides.

Charles River Men

Effort was not lacking from the Charles River men at the 2017 NERFU Cup, but unfortunately, tries were.
The Rats managed just five total points in losses to New London and Burlington on a dreary, windswept Saturday in Newport.
New London, which held a 5-0 advantage at halftime, took the opening match by a final score of 19-0 after dotting down two tries in the final five minutes. Because of the tournament’s format, that loss dropped the Rats to the consolation bracket and out of championship contention.
Charles River’s second match was a tighter contest, but the boys in green and orange still were unable to emerge victorious, falling to Burlington 10-5. Winger Pat Flanagan scored the lone River try in his first appearance for the Rats this spring.
Though the results weren’t what the team had hoped for, especially after a second-place finish in the 2016 tournament, the trip still was a productive one from a team-building perspective, with several Rats getting their first taste of what NERFU weekend is all about.
*entry by Zack Cox

Charles River Women

What a weekend for Charles River Women’s Rugby! The club entered the tournament seeded 5 th in Pool B, but had their eyes set on taking home the Championship Cup. The tournament began for Charles River Women’s with an 11:00 am match on Saturday against Amoskeag. It was a cold, windy, and damp morning, but Charles River knew that with matches being just 20 minute halves on Saturday, they had to come out hard and score early. It became apparent on kickoff, that Charles River would do exactly that. The forward pack set the tone as they dominated the scrums and rucks. That translated quickly and early in the first half scrumhalf Melissa Dunn got the ball out wide, and a beautiful pass in from inside center Hannah Wald sent winger Courtney Leahy dodging through the Amoskeag back line for a decisive corner try. An unsuccessful conversion kick put the Rats in the lead 5-0. Amoskeag mounted a strong response putting pressure on our back line, but massive hits by fullback Lucy Tin and flanker Sarah ‘Bee’ Wetherbee kept them off the scoreboard as the first half came to a close.  Buoyed up by their strong play in the first half, Charles River hit the second half running and clinched the win with a team drive down the field which resulted in a try by outside center Rebecca ‘Rx’ Nashett. A successful conversion by Rat captain and prop Julie ‘Traut’ Trautwein put the ending score at 12-0.

The win sent Charles River to their second Saturday match against Burlington at 4:45pm. Meeting Burlington on the pitch for the first time in over a year, Charles River went into the match knowing they had a hard fight ahead of them to get into the Championship match on Sunday. Facing a big Burlington pack, Charles River came out hard right off the kickoff. Lock Morgan Nealy took control of the lineouts, letting no Burlington throw-in be completed successfully. Strong forward bangers and rucks pushed Charles River down towards the Burlington try line, which was rewarded when a short, weak side pop off a ruck was passed by lock Maria Sedjo to wing Katy ‘Wilks’ Wetherbee who streaked into the corner of Burlington’s try zone. An unsuccessful conversion put the Rats in the lead 5-0. As Charles River continued to test the Burlington back line, flyhalf Dani Marini claimed the Rats’ second try. A successful conversion by Traut put River up 12-0 at the close of the first half. The second half brought with it a new front row in the Burlington scrum, and they were pushed in two tries putting Burlington in the lead 14-12. Coaches Maggie Conley and ‘Soprano’ Perino ran out to refocus the team as they waited behind the uprights as Burlington made their second conversion. That, along with the massive support from the Lady Rats on the sideline, gave new drive to the 15 on the field. Fighting fiercely for the win in the last minutes, Charles River rucked, counter-rucked and banged their way up field until a breakaway by Bee gave River the victory in the last seconds of the match, with a score of 17-14.

Heading into the Championship Match against Worcester on Sunday, inclement weather prompted NERFU to edit the schedule. Matches were condensed to 30 minute halves, and everyone’s matches were bumped to later in the day. Their planning payed off as the rain that was falling all Saturday night had tapered to a persistent but light mist by the time Charles River kicked off at 12pm. If Saturday was cold and windy, Sunday was colder, windier and the fields were more mud and standing water than grass. Nevertheless, Charles River showed up determined to play their best game. An early try by Worcester put the Shamrocks up 0-5, clearly outlining the fight Charles River had in front of them. Determined to meet Worcester’s challenge, Charles River countered, battling slippery conditions and tough rucks against a strong Worcester pack. The fight paid off with a try by Wilks which tied the game 5-5 right before the half. Charles River entered the second half determined to translate their work on the field to points on the board. A Worcester penalty stopped the River drive down the field about 15 meters in front of the Worcester uprights. Traut successfully kicked for points, despite the wind, and put Charles River up 8-5. With 8 minutes left in the match Worcester slipped through the River defensive line and scored again, taking the lead, 8-10. Charles River was unable to answer and Worcester took the Championship.

It was a hard-fought weekend full of great rugby by Charles River as they took 2 nd place in Pool B.

*entry by Maria Sedjo