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Pygmies Fall To Clovis Rugby Club

CLOVIS, N.M. April 15, 2010 -- The Clovis Nomads Rugby Club defended their turf against the first-ever invasion from a New Mexico Tech team Saturday. The Nomads scored three five-point tries and punished Pygmy indiscipline three times with penalty kicks while Tech could manage just one try in each half with one converted.

New Mexico Tech flanker Jacob Smith grabs Joe Stevens of the Clovis Nomads as flyhalf Royce Beaudry tries to steal the ball. At left is center Marshal Spradley. Clovis won at home 22 – 12.

 

The Nomads, a diverse club comprised largely of experienced expatriates (New Zealand, Ireland and England) and servicemen stationed at Cannon Air Force Base, kicked off in balmy spring weather to their younger, lighter opponents. The inexperience of some Clovis players plus the rustiness of a Tech team two weeks removed from their last match combined for an uneven opening punctuated by referee Tony Nichols's whistle. After seven minutes Sam Calvillo of the Nomads caught the Pygmies napping by running up the short side of the field from the back of a standing maul. Fullback Isaiah Sanchez made a covering tackle for Tech but the Nomad overload was too great and after a brief interchange of passes Calvillo dove over the try line for five points. The two-point conversion kick attempt was unsuccessful.

An inability to find defensive gaps or to sustain ball possession following tackles prevented both teams from getting across their opponents' try line. Tech's lineouts (inbound play) in particular suffered from the absence of regular jumper Graham Payne. During the remainder of the first half Vinny Comerford, a native of Dunhill, Ireland, managed two penalty kicks to add six more points to the Nomads' total, before his team was penalized close to their own line with seconds left in the half. With the offending team backed up to their own try line, Tech captain Royce Beaudry gave the ball to flanker Joe Tyson who banged his way home near the goalposts. Dustin Webb's conversion was good to cut the Clovis lead to 11-7 at the half.

New Mexico Tech hooker Blaine Trujillo looks for support as the Clovis Nomads' defense closes in during Saturday’s loss. Photos by Stephen Hanafin

Tech kicked off the second half and Clovis went to work on the game's brightest attacking move. The Nomads maintained possession through several tackles and then moved the ball wide to speedy wing Joe Stevens who evaded one tackle to score in the corner. The conversion was missed from a steep angle, but Clovis led 16-7.

Midway through the half a Tech player committed a penalty near his own line and Clovis opted to boot-tap the ball and run. Again Sam Calvillo surged through tacklers to put the Nomads clear 21-7. With 10 minutes remaining and few signs of a Pygmy rally, Comerford added his third penalty kick to further dampen Tech spirits at 24-7.

Five minutes from full time the Pygmies were offered a consolation when a Clovis runner dropped the ball in front of Beaudry. Tech's always-competitive flyhalf alertly kicked the ball forward and won the race to collect and touch down in the try zone for a try that went unconverted. The closing whistle soon followed to put Clovis's 24-12 victory into the book.

Tyson was recognized by his teammates as Tech's Man of the Match. Added to a heartbreaking 23-19 disappointment in Santa Fe on March 27, Saturday's loss drops Tech's record to 2-4. The team will take the April 17 weekend off before hosting the annual Socorro Challenge Tens Tournament April 24.

-- NMT --

By Dave Wheelock/Tech Rugby Director