In our first away game of the 2009 – 2010 season The MCRC beat Norwich University 32 points to 12. With several starters being out sick or injured there were several new faces on the starting side and on the bench. Scoring summary below.Great pressure from Midd to start the game – missed an early opportunity to score within 2 minutes but made up for it after 5 minutes as winger Kennedy Mutothori Mugo ’12 touched down in the corner. After a frustrating year of recurring injuries the Kenyan sophomore finally gets his first cap for the Blue and his first try. For the past decade The MCRC has been blessed with Kenyan talent from the legendary Kevin Immonje ’03 to Ngetha Waithaka ’04 (backs captain) and brothers James & Anthony Manyuru (’07 & ’10 respectively). Conversion missed, Midd 5 – Norwich 0.
A couple minutes later Middlebury won a penalty and Sirkia slotted home. 8 – 0 Midd.
Captain Cahill extends the lead three quarters of the way into the first half and Sirkia converts the try – Middlebury is firmly in command. 15 – 0.
Late in the first half The MCRC is reduced to 14 men when winger Zach Withers receives a yellow but they are able to hold out down a man. Halftime score: 15 – 0.
Early in the second half Sirkia proves sure with the boot again, scoring from a penalty. 18 – 0 Midd.
Middlebury’s dominance continues as full back Geoff Kalan ’12.5 finishes off a brilliant attacking play from a line-out in the Norwich 22. Superb passing from the backline, working the ball through the hands and Kalan provides the finish. This is Kalan’s first game for The MCRC after his cameo appearance in the 2009 National Championship final win back in the spring. Geoff has been sidelined with a hamstring injury but looks to be almost back to 100% and is playing some solid rugby after only a semester of collegiate competition. This young Middlebury team is budding with effervescent promise. Sirkia converts, 25 – 0 Midd.
Complacency must have crept into Middlebury’s play as a costly error in their own try zone allowed Norwich to get some points on the board. A poor pass from a Middlebury scrum just outside the try zone was mishandled and Norwich capitalized as Kalan hesitated. Extra points good: 25 – 7 Midd.
The try breathed new life into the Norwich team as they grew in confidence as Middlebury only made things harder for themselves – remember that Norwich is a former DI team and they are no easy contest – give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.
As the half wore on The MCRC picked up the intensity and began to once again apply great pressure, keeping Norwich in their own half for spells. The highlight play of the game came when Norwich had a scrum oustide of their own 22, a ball that they won. Industrious pressure from flanker Nathaniel Hall Kelner ’12 (twin brother of Rowan Hall Kelner ’12) , in his first start for the A-side, caused the Norwich kicker no end of trouble, forcing him to miss-kick into center field. The ball was cleanly caught at pace by captain Cahill ’09.5 who proceeded to cut up the Norwich defense like a surgeon – his family of doctors would be proud! Great work by Nat Kelner who had come on 10 minutes earlier for Zach Bills ’11. Brian “Try-guy” Sirkia split the uprights one last time to put Middlebury up 32 – 7.
As expected Norwich did not back down and with time running out they scored a well worked try to leave the final score at 32 – 12. Sam Harrison ’11 made a 10 minute appearance as a blood sub for Kalan – Cahill slid to fullback and Harrison picked up left wing and almost scored in his brief appearance.
The Killer B’s faced a big, aggressive Norwich side and held their own for much of the game but eventually succumbed to intense Norwich pressure.
Line-up: Pappa, Mutty, Vandergrift, Daubert, Harasimowicz, Burleigh, Berriman, Bills (Kelner 60), Song, Sirkia, Cahill, Cmejla, Hurley, Mugo, Kalan (Harrison – blood sub)
Points: Trys – Mugo, Kalan, Cahill (2); Conversions – Sirkia (3); Penalty Kicks – Sirkia (2)
1st cap: Kennedy Mutothori Mugo ’12, Graeme Daubert ’12.5, Connor Burleigh ’10.5
1st start: Geoffrey Kalan ’12.5, Kennedy Mutothori Mugo ’12, Graeme Daubert ’12.5, Connor Burleigh ’10.5
1st points: Kalan, Mugo