Based in London; Formerly of New York, Buenos Aires, Fife, and the Western Cape. Saoránach d'Éirinn.
A writer, blogger, historian, and web designer born in New York, educated in Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa, and now based in London. read more

Brown 26, Yale 14

B.U.R.F.C. 1st XV v. Y.U.R.F.C. 1st XV

I never paid much attention to rugby before I lived in South Africa, where it is inescapable, especially since I was studying at Stellenbosch, which the rugby-est of rugby universities. After becoming a rugby spectator you cannot go back to watching American football, which, with its stopping and starting, suddenly has the feeling of being a demented child’s game. And so, across the Connecticut border to trusty old New Haven, to join some friends and fellow club-members for some Saturday afternoon rugby and revelry, with champagne, whiskey, and home-brewed porter on offer.

Alex tended the burgers while others looked on in dismissive anticipation.

My own car doubled as an impromptu grand-stand. Don’t think all those other vehicles were there for the rugby, though; there was a Yale-Penn football game at the adjacent Yale Bowl.

To the consternation of players and referees, the ball remained suspended in mid-air for several minutes thanks to a rogue electro-gravitational experiment by the boffins at Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School. The massive amount of energy required for this useless stunt, however, caused a power surge that blacked out half of Connecticut, and, once the electricity failed, the ball returned to earth and play resumed in earnest.

The game was actually a good one, despite the disappointing result. It started off pretty badly for the Blue, with a penalty try awarded to Brown, converted, leading to a 7-0 Brown lead. Right after that their number 8 scored another try after a sixty-meter dash down the pitch. Before the game was even twenty minutes old they scored their third try. That probably makes it sound like a rout, but the playing was pretty good all the same, and Yale managed to score from a penalty, making it 19-7 at the half.

Memory of the second half was a bit hazier, as the conversation on the sidelines improved, but the Yalies notched it up to 19-14, and kept frustrating Brown attempts at a try fairly close to the line. Just a few minutes shy of the end, Brown sealed the deal with another try and conversion, finishing the match at 26-14.

While the Ivy League is known for its sporting rivalries, one could have interpolated another traditional conflict into the match. Charlton Field, number 8 for Yale, is an Old Etonian, while Dow Travers, the Brown left-wing whose forty-meter run helped secure his team’s early domination in the match, is an Old Harrovian.

Our Edinburgh circles are sometimes dominated by OHs (who will launch into a drunken chorus of “the tramp of the twenty-two men” at the drop of the hat, despite our pleas for them to cease), so our prejudice tends to favour Harrow in their rivalry with Eton. Still, having been a member or guest of various clubs & societies at Yale and enjoyed the raucous hospitality in New Haven, I’d have to back the Bulldogs even if (perhaps particularly if) Brown fielded a whole team of Old Harrovians.

The Yale 1st XV played a good game, but if its more despondent members are looking for a scapegoat they might want to look to their own university’s admissions office. I suggested to Mr. Travers that he transfer to Yale and bring his running prowess to the Bulldogs, and he revealed that he had actually applied to the university: they waitlisted him.

This post was published on Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 1:11 pm. It has been categorised under Featured Journal Photos.
Steve M
27 Oct 2010 9:53 pm

Has Wednesday been basnished from’s much anticipated Mexico Week? Was it something he said?

Andrew Cusack
27 Oct 2010 9:57 pm

Wednesday is on the way!

L Gaylord Clark
28 Oct 2010 4:24 am

Mr. Cusack: you’re flight of fancy about the ball and its treatment at the hands of the SSS boffins is worthy of Peter Simple at his most inspired.
Keep it up.

Chris B
28 Oct 2010 3:37 pm

Coors Light in the picture at top?! For shame.

K. Dontoh
28 Oct 2010 4:01 pm

Arrgh no.

Andrew Cusack
28 Oct 2010 5:51 pm

Coors Light in the picture at top?! For shame.

Wasn’t mine!

Andrew Heath
30 Oct 2010 10:15 pm

I sympathise with your opinion of American football, where a single pass leads to stoppage. In rugby the ball moves and moves. Ex-Wasp RFC.

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