Written By Christian Randell ’14
This past weekend marked a turning of the page for the Binghamton Devils Rugby Club with a eyes set to the future. After deciding to send all non-returning players to play for the Devils Rugby Alumni side entered in the Social Division, the Devils took the field with a decidedly younger squad in an attempt to forge a chemistry that will benefit the club entering the season next fall. The tournament was held on Randall’s Island, and because of this there was lots of wind all day leading to many missed passes and the team having trouble getting the ball out wide. The Binghamton squad was put into a pool with Wright State, Sacred Heart and University of Rhode Island and played those teams in that order throughout the afternoon. Although not returning with a cup, there were plenty of positives to be said for such a young squad; many of who were seeing A-side time for the first time of their rugby careers.
- Binghamton – 10
- Wright State – 0
- Zach Lenane – 1 try
- Sean Peters – 1 try
The day stared against a wildly inexperienced Wright State side. From an outsiders perspective it would be apparent that these kids had probably not played rugby for more than 3 weeks before entering the ruck; their skill sets included only counter-rucking and the general look of confusion every time the ref blew the whistle may suggest as much. The game was generally sloppy with many of the Devils getting their feet under them for the first 10 minutes with plenty of over/under-thrown passes and knocks as would be expected from the first competition of a season with high winds and low temperatures. The first points were scored off an offload to Zach Lenane, Sophomore Prop, for 5 and stayed at that number with a missed conversion. Pace of play and confidence in simple passing and catching improved in the second half and a second try was put in my Sean Peters, Sophomore End wing, with yet another missed conversion. The game ended as such to the tune of a 10-0 Devils win.
- Binghamton – 5
- Sacred Heart – 7
- Bryan Shankman – 1 try
With a full game behind them, Binghamton Rugby took the pitch against a much more experienced Sacred Heart side, which provided a much cleaner game, as do most games between experienced teams. Aggressive runs were a theme from the Devils as well as an surprisingly well-established line-out featuring jumper John Victor, Sophomore 8-man, and lifting from Ben Stang, Junior Prop, and Christian Randell, Junior Flanker, which resulted in the methodical mauling of the Sacred Heart squad on multiple occasions. With the first half drawing to a close, a beautiful personal effort from Bryan Shankman, sophomore 2nd Row, resulted in 5 points for BURFC with no conversion and a wide penalty kick went awry for kicker and 2nd row Captain Jack Smith, Junior, to bring the first half to a close. A bench-clearing substitution after half saw many of the rookies of last semester and the current one on the field for the first time together. Although the best effort was put forward to acclimate the new ruggers, the Devils defense could not keep the Sacred Heart team from touching the ball down in the try zone about halfway through the period and a conversion from the squad put them up 7-5 and the game ended as such.
- Binghamton – 5
- Rhode Island – 26
- Bryan Shankman – 1 try
The toughest opponent of the tournament was still ahead of our Devils squad in University of Rhode Island; an extremely experienced team with the ability to move the ball across the width of the field at will. The relatively inexperienced Devils wing had much issue in keeping their spacing near the breakdown and not getting sucked into the middle of the field. The URI squad put in 2 quick tries and the Devils saw themselves down 14-0 at the closing of the first half. The ball movement from the Devils was much improved and the team often found themselves one pass away from putting the try away on the end of a long run but to no avail. Bryan Shankman put a second try in for the day in the second half and although there was no shortage of effort, the match finished at 26-5 at the end of the full time.
Granted that the end result was not what any team would want from a full day of rugby, there were many positives to take from the day. Overall the team, while not having a great record on the day, showed flashes of greatness that this program has come to expect from its sides. Starting the day as a team with no experience playing together as a cohesive squad, the Devils finished the day with their work cut out for them for the rest of their spring tournaments and training sessions.