SOCORRO, N.M. September 25, 2012 – New Mexico Tech’s two rugby clubs may have taken the spirit of hospitality a step further than desired Saturday as both the Queens and Pygmies lost their first matches on their new turf to New Mexico State University teams.
Willie Desir of the Queens Rugby Team breaks a tackle against the NMSU Lady Chiles on Saturday.
Team captain Enrique Koerdell passes the ball to his backs during his team's 29-18 loss to New Mexico State University in Socorro Saturday.
|Pygmy flyhalf Brock Romero upends his opposite number Alex Andrews in Saturday's match with the New Mexico State Chiles as Rick Cosentino arrives in hope of collecting the loose ball.|
The Queens stumbled to a 29-5 loss after a promising showing against the Lady Chiles in Las Cruces on September 15. Pygmy penalties allowed an enterprising Chiles side to overcome a halftime deficit and win 29-18.
The Queens achieved a milestone of sorts by outfitting 17 players. Not since the late 1990s have the Queens fielded so many players. In the end the resulting lineup may have been weakened slightly by the addition of so many beginners, but no complaints were heard even as the more numerous and experienced Lady Chiles set about exacting revenge.
Playing 10-minute periods on a hot day, State benefitted from nice teamwork and an intercepted pass to score two unanswered tries before the first break. Both touchdowns were converted with two-point kicks to make it 14-0. In the second of five stanzas the Lady Chiles scored again on a nicely-worked play from a scrum but could not convert; 19-0.
There was no scoring in the third period as the Queens showed signs of life on defense if not attack.
Ironically the Queens gave up two final tries in the fourth period, even as they played their best rugby of the day. Jade Horton made some charging runs for long gains and the home team showed more willingness to pass the ball, leading to longer stretches of needed possession and a more entertaining competition.
NMSU was sharper in taking their chances however, leading to two long-range tries.
First-season player Lindsey Rasmussen drew first blood for the Queens, breaking a tackle and sprinting 40 meters to paydirt in the final minutes. She was later named Woman of the Match by her teammates. The Queens will next see action in the Northern Arizona Tens tournament in Flagstaff, Arizona October 6-7.
The men’s match kicked off with the mercury climbing toward the mid-90s. New Mexico State’s Chile men took an early 3-point lead over the Pygmies on a penalty kick by Alex Andrews. The Pygmies, who opened strongly in new black and blue uniforms, got the lead back after 26 minutes and two kicks from lock forward Jordan “Donkey Leg” Fastle. 30 minutes into the 40-minute first half, scrum half and team captain Enrique Koerdell scored a hustling try after his tactical kick was charged down from open play.
The ball bounced into the arms of Tech fullback Isaiah Sanchez, who shot through a gap and ran 50 meters before being hauled down just short of the try line. Koerdell was there to snag Sanchez’s pass out of the tackle and touch down the try.
Tech’s 11-3 lead was cut to 11-8 just before halftime when the hosts were penalized for going offside and the alert Chiles quickly put the ball into play and ran through a gap in Tech’s defense.
The second half became a nightmare of penalties for Tech as all of State’s scores resulted directly from Pygmy indiscretions. Time and again, play was interrupted by the referee’s whistle, signifying another opportunity for NMSU to quickly foot tap the ball and attack the defense.
On three occasions Tech was unprepared, resulting in three converted tries by the victors. Koerdell bagged a short range try of his own from a rare Chile penalty in the waning moments to account for the final 29-18 score.
Freshman hooker Darien Williams was named Man of the Match for New Mexico Tech. The Pygmies will square off with the New Mexico Brujos of Albuquerque with kickoff at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, on the NMT rugby pitch.
– NMT –
By Dave Wheelock/Tech Rugby Director