Pygmies Surge to Flagstaff Rugby Fourpeat
The Pygmies defeated pool competitors from host
|Tech Rugby players (from left) Joaquin Roibal, Enrique Koerdell, and James Chavez defend a rucked ball won by Northern Arizona University Landsharks at the 30th Annual Northern Arizona Tens Tournament. Photo by Dave Wheelock/New Mexico Tech
The ball-winning unit of five forward players, led by Socorro native James Chavez, was not as dominant as in previous years but supplied enough possession to occasionally set loose a potent backline featuring veteran players Dustin Webb, Royce Beaudry, Isaiah Sanchez and James Fallt. The Pygmies scrambled successfully to turn away several scoring threats to preserve victory in their second and third matches.
Tech’s first Saturday match against NAU proved to be their easiest. Powerful prop Chavez barged over the line for a short range try in the first minute and second-year center Marshal Spradley touched down a brace of five-pointers for a 21-0 halftime lead. But penalties, which would plague Techs’ efforts throughout the tournament, crept into Tech’s game in the second half and NAU was able to capitalize for an unconverted try. Sanchez’s late intercept try closed scoring at 28-5 as Dustin Webb successfully drop-kicked all four try conversions for Tech.
An hour and a half later Tech tangled with a tough
New Mexico Tech was challenged in the afternoon final by Thunderbird Rugby Club, who had dispatched
With three minutes to play, Beaudry chipped a cross-field punt and Sanchez executed a spectacular tackle on the opposing wing, stripping the ball away and sprinting some 50 meters to score. Webb's conversion was good and Tech led 12-7. Beaudry added a try in the last minute after some deft passing by his teammates to secure Tech's repeat championship by a 19-7 score.
The high-flying Pygmies suffered a letdown of sorts in a Sunday "friendly" against host club
Tech will attempt to stretch their 10-man expertise to the traditional 15-member code this weekend in at the High Desert Classic tournament, hosted by the Albuquerque Aardvarks Rugby Club. In 2009 the Pygmies finished runners-up in the collegiate division.
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By Dave Wheelock/Tech