The RRAA Men’s side competed on March 21, 2015, for the 3rd year in a row in the 12th Annual Four Leaf Fifteens Rugby Tournament hosted by the Village Lions RFC. By far, we had our best showing out of all the tournaments we’ve competed in since our formation three years ago this past weekend. Both Alumni and undergrad ruggers, over 30 in total, spanning over 20 years of RPI Rugby history, came out and booted up. It was also a special day as Dave Gardell made his return to the pitch after a 9-year hiatus. He was awarded the Captaincy for the day along his former playing mate Mike Arthur.
The day began with us squaring off against Old Gold RFC at 9 am on a snow-covered pitch underneath the Tri-Borough Bridge. We were able to shake off the cobwebs and the cold weather and started the tournament with a 14-0 shutout. Our stout defensive play continued into the next match as we faced Hibernian RFC. We really began firing on all cylinders and dominated Hibernian 34-0. After beginning the day 2-0, we faced off against a very tough Brooklyn RFC side. Brooklyn would not go down without a fight, but we dropped them nonetheless in a 29-5 victory, which secured our place in the playoff bracket.
After a long break and some confusion we finally learned that we would be facing a very tough but motley Saratoga RFC side in the quarterfinals. We fought hard, played our game, and were able to dispatch Saratoga RFC in a 22-5 victory that sent us to a semifinal match. Flyhalf Josh Kolman showed mastery with his foot by slotting some tough conversions all the way over by the touchline during that match. We then kicked off against our toughest and last opponent of the day who was a skilled Wilkes-Barre RFC side. It was a defensive battle for the duration of the match and at the end of regular time we found ourselves in a 7-7 tie that sent us to an overtime period. Unfortunately, Wilkes-Barre was able to score the final and a somewhat controversial try to hand us our first and only loss of the day.
After the last match, Man of the Match honors were awarded to Josh Kolman for the backs for his absolutely outstanding play at Flyhalf, and Jordan (JoJo) Robertson for his awesome showing at hooker. Both played essential roles in our success on the pitch that day.
We are entering into a new era of the RRAA. We have been working tirelessly over the past 3 years to break into this new era and realize the potential of this organization. Despite having over 30 ruggers in kit that weekend, all were able to get significant match minutes and contributed greatly to the extremely successful day we had. The day was about us. We played our game and celebrated ourselves in victory as our Captain Dave Gardell wisely kept instructing us to do. It paid off and all in attendance had a great time.
I would like to thank all of those who came out and played and everyone who came out to support and believe in us. The RRAA is a family. We make this organization and ourselves stronger every time we are together. This is something I look forward to continuing for years and generations to come. The next time the RRAA Men’s side will be taking the pitch will be during Spring Alumni Weekend in Troy, NY against RPI Men’s active side. The RRAA Women’s Side will also be joining us in a match against the RRAA Women’s Active side as well.