Saturday’s Halloween matchup between UMW’s Mother’s Rugby and Radford University at the Battlegrounds brought treats for the home fans and left Radford searching for the exits after what must have seemed like a house of horrors as the Mothers won by a score of 15-5. Going into Saturday’s game, Radford was the fourth-ranked team in the nation. The Mothers improved to 6-0, while Radford fell to 5-1 on the season.
Both players and fans alike were well aware of the implications of the Oct. 31 matchup, with a Facebook event consisting of more than 250 confirmed attendees and at least 200 more who listed the event as a maybe on their calendars.
A message sent by coach Tim Brown to members of the Facebook event stated that “As the coach, a former club president/player and an alum I want to thank everyone that attended…our awesome fans made it seem like we had an extra guy on the field and we could not have done it without all of you there. That is probably the first game Radford has lost in Virginia in five or six years. Many thanks!”
Many of the fans got into the spirit on the sideline as well, with cheers and applause ringing loud and pervasive, with a few attendees even festive enough to attend in costume.
Junior flanker Harrison Lyman was awarded the “Man of the Match” jersey after exhibiting stellar play on the rugby pitch, helping upset Radford in the close matchup and had plenty to say about his team’s victory.
“We played great out there,” Lyman said. “We had great rucking, we kept our possessions and made good contact all day.”
The match had minimal scoring in the first half, with UMW scoring a try but missing the point after, and Radford only achieving a field goal. The score at the half stood at 5-3. Offense came to life in the second half for the Mothers however, with Lyman scoring the decisive try to finally put the match out of reach for the Radford squad.
The coach, in his match report to the team, stated how impressed he was in his team’s victory.
“Today was old school rugby at its finest,” Brown said, “and we won with our ‘new school’ game. It was muddy, there was a bigger school and highly-regarded team coming to town, and we knew we were going to win.
“Radford came in a legit team,” Brown continued, “they have been national champs twice in the last six years…and had not lost in Virginia since 2006, including teams from VA Tech and U.Va.
Radford looked stunned as did many of their fans and parents. Mothers 15, Radford 5.”
Despite the hard-fought win, Lyman was cognizant of areas that could use improvement.
“We [UMW and Radford] made equal mistakes, and that kept us evenly matched,” Lyman said. “We made some sloppy passes early on.”
Brown also noted that while he was appreciative of the enthusiasm of the Mary Washington fans, some may have taken their enthusiasm too far.
“When we are faced with a penalty on the field and the ref is telling me we have to remove fans dropping the ‘f-bomb’, we are not left much choice. We are the best school in Virginia and we have to act that way,” Brown said in the Facebook message.
The next matchup for the Mothers will take place at the Ed Lee Cup, which serves as the state championship for the Virginia Rugby Union. The Mothers will be the top-ranked team in the four-team tournament, facing fourth-ranked JMU. The winner of this matchup will face the winner of the Radford-VMI game on Sunday.
The Mothers have reigned victorious three times overall in the tournament, and twice in the last four years, including standing as defending 2008 Division II champions.
“We had a very large and supportive crowd with families, alumni, students and rugby fans,” junior lock Daniel Holcombe said, “and any way we can show the administration that people came out [for the match] is a big win for us.”