Cat’s put on show in season opener

Vermont sports fans gathered at the rugby pitch on Sept. 15 to watch the mens rugby team dominate the University of New Hampshire Wildcats. This was Vermonts first home game of the season.

I was very happy with our performance; team captain and president Justin Whipple said, following the match. We really came together as a team and played good, high quality rugby.

Right into the game, Vermonts Vincent Garronegot the ball rolling, scoring the first try for the men in green and white, inching them ahead five points. For those who arent quite familiar with rugby, a try is how to score. However, its not similar to American football where all you have to do is run past the other teams line. In rugby, once a player makes a break over the line, he must then touch the ball down to the ground to be awarded the five points for the try.

Ten minutes in, a penalty was called against Vermonts KC Charles, for an overly aggressive tackle. This sent Charles to the sin bin where he was forced to wait 10 minutes before reentering the match. The penalty left Vermont down to 14 players on the field compared to New Hampshires 15, giving the Catamounts a slight disadvantage.

Following the penalty, possession was back with UVM. In attempts to run the field, however, the ball was taken by New Hampshire. The Wildcats made a clean break down the field toward Vermonts tryline, coming close to scoring. Vermonts Ben Kaufman made a clutch tackle, saving UVM from a tie.

Twenty minutes into play the teams entered their first scrum of the match. For those who dont know what the scrum is, its when both sets of forwards bind together in circular formation. From there, one of the teams scrumhalves will roll the ball behind him, all of this going on while the pack is attempting to push the other teams backward and themselves over the ball to gain possession.

UVM won possession out of the scrum and from there managed to score yet another try, bringing the score to 10-0 in favor of the Catamounts. Vermont attempted an extra two-point conversion, however, it was no good.

Six minutes into the second half, the ball was kicked out of bounds, which lead to a lineout. A lineout is the other common set piece in rugby where the forwards of each team line up. Someone on the team will then throw the ball into play while fliers from each team are lifted into the air in attempt to catch it, earning possession.

From the lineout, possession was awarded to Vermont. The ball was passed to Catamount Troy Norman who sprinted down the left side, drawing the defense back and leaving teammate Jon Gamble open to score. This brought the score to a controlling 15-0.

Over the next few minutes neither team managed to increase the score, despite Vermont having made multiple close attempts.

Twenty-eight minutes into the half, the teams entered into yet another lineout, with UNH earning possession. The Wildcats attempted to run the ball towards the; Vermont tryline, however it was intercepted and then kicked out of bounds, leading to a scrum.

Out of the scrum, Gamble carried the ball and dashed up the field. Mid-run he dropped the ball, but was able to kick it back up and catch it, seconds before passing the tryline and scoring again for Vermont, creating what would be the final score of 20-0.

Im excited about this year; we have more dedicated guys than Ive ever seen and were setting our sights high, stated Whipple. Thank you to all the fans and support weve had.

The men of the rugby team return to action this Saturday when they take on Norwich at 1 p.m.