In their second spring warm up game and first game on grass (not turf) Middlebury narrowly loses to Ivy league side Yale by 4 points. Captain Brian Sirkia ’09 hits 3 of 5 penalty kicks; fullback Dylan Whitaker ’13 scores Middlebury’s only try which Sirkia converts. Yale scores 4 unconverted trys, the fourth one securing their win. Notably missing from the Middlebury line-up is 8th man Chris Marshall ’11 but the side is looking forward to have Chris back in action against Harvard next weekend. The Middlebury Killer B’s were at their best and beat Yale B side 42 – 5 with tries from all over, the most memorable team effort being finished off by Tommy Campanella ’12 – The MCRC 2nd side truly knows how to work the ball from one side of the field to the other and capitalize on the overlap. A side game report below:
Middlebury starts the game flat, lacking the attacking spark that saw the team put away BU last weekend and they will regret this slow start as Yale scores 3 first half tries. Sirkia is mostly accurate with the boot keeping Middlebury in the game with 9 first half points; one of the two penalty kicks he missed was well within his range and he will be slightly disappointed to not have hit 4 of 5.
Middlebury’s slow start is exacerbated by the official’s calls against them – this young side will need to learn to play to the whistle. After the third Yale try Middlebury finally wakes up and starts playing the attacking rugby they are known for pinning Yale in their 22 for the final minutes of the first half.
HALFTIME score: 9 – 15.
The second half starts off as the first half ended: Middlebury on the attack. Though the scrum is not as dominant as the previous week the Midd pack will be satisfied with their work there but will need to revisit their lineouts. That said, when their lineouts work it’s a thing of beauty and the Blue can be highly dangerous off of the 1st phase. Middlebury’s only try of the game starts from a line-out midfield, followed by a well executed backline play that puts Whitaker through – horses for courses, off to the races: TRY TIME! Sirkia converts to put Middlebury up by 1 point: 16 – 15.
Hooker, Sam Harrison ’11 is replaced by Danny J. Powers ’11.5. Yale gets back on the offensive and is threatening to score – they win a penalty 10 meters out when a Middlebury player is adjudged to be offside at a maul – touch and go on that call. Yale opts for the posts but misses the penalty kick that could have put them ahead. That danger averted Middlebury is slightly hurried in trying to clear and a blocked 22 drop-out keeps Yale in Middlebury’s half.
As the half progresses the play evens out with neither side dominating – a 1 point victory for Middlebury is in sight. Whitaker makes way for speedster Allan Stafford ’13.5 – Brendan Leanos ’10 slides over to fullback from wing. Soon after the change Middlebury is on attack with a lineout that Yale steals and immediately counters; within one play the Bulldogs are just outside the Middlebury 22 and the next play is a box-kick over the top that catches the Middlebury back 3 out of position – a Yale player runs through to touchdown in the corner. Conversion missed: 16 – 20 Yale.
With timing running out Middlebury throws everything they have at Yale and nearly score through flank substitute Ben Stasiuk ’13.5 who crashes the ball up on a pick from a few meters out. Good defense by Yale keeps Stasiuk from grabbing a debut try. Despite the loss Middlebury will be excited about getting some new talent playing time and will be happy with the work done by senior duo: winger/fullback Brendan Leanos ’10 and second row player Blake Hinckley ’10. Nod to Mike “I Love It When You Call Me Big” Pappa ’11 for his performance. Good game for some individual players – just couldn’t it put it together as a team.
After a hard week of two-a-day training sessions over spring break Middlebury still need to gel and be ready for the National Championship defense – lots of lessons learned from this game and one more game, against Harvard, to apply them.
The Blue Killer B’s only improve from their impressive performance last week. Charles Wemyss-Dunn ’12 at fly-half runs the backline well and opens the scoring, selling a beautiful dummy like it is a 2 for 1 special. Several B side players have the best games of their careers including Ben Winter ’10 at prop and Brendan Mahoney ’11 at 9 (clearly Mahoney is studying Sirkia’s play and the B side is benefiting). Standout player has to be fullback Jebb “The Febb with a Bbeard” Norton ’13.5 who has an absolute stormer. Even after numerous subs the B side still holds their own, running up the scoreboard and keeping Yale B to one try. Play of the day: winger “Brother” Bobin Lee taking down the Yale prop one on one (the Yale player was easily four times Bobin’s size) – clear image of the courage these boys play with.
MCRC A-side line-up: Pappa, Harrison (Powers 50), Vandergrift, Hinckley, AC Jones, Dauner (Stasiuk 70), N. Kelner, R. Kelner (c), Sirkia (c), Kalan, Withers (Campanella 80), Durfee, Berriman, Leanos, Whitaker (Stafford 60)
- Tries – D. Whitaker ’13
- Conversions – B. Sirkia ’12.5: 1 for 1
- Penalty Kicks – B. Sirkia ’12.5: 3 for 5
- 1st non-competitive cap: B. Stasiuk ’13.5
Spotted At The Game: Daniel Raymond Chow ’09 (former loosie turned second row, two time national champion); Jeffrey Stern ’09 (former team medic – could not have ever had that unbeaten 2009 year without his incredible commitment to the team)