West Point, New York. – On a chilly Tuesday night on April 1st in southern New York, the Army Rugby Team took on Iona University in what was Army’s first, and possibly only, home match of the season. Needing as many wins as possible to appeal for an invitation to the USA Rugby national tournament from the DIA East bracket, the Army Team applied the momentum from their Texas trip and continued their undefeated streak, beating Iona 73-0. The picturesque pitch provided a scenic backdrop for the clash with the Gaels, although the score does not accurately reflect the many threats and hard effort put forth by Iona.
The match started off slowly, both Army and Iona cautiously probed each others’ defense for a potential weakness. Army struck first, with a try from starting fly-half and senior (firstie) Blake Hunnewell. After the initial score, Army continued to press the Gael defense, and ending the first half leading 30-0.
With Navy in a few days, the Army team knew all spotlight would be on them to finish off a formidable Iona team. After a half full of errors from both sides, Army really opened up their play and scoring potential in the second half. Points rained in from fly-half Blake Hunnewell, skipper Jeff Ferebee, and young freshman Andrew Fargo. Despite a yellow card halfway through the second half, the Army Brothers charged forward with two 40m tries from TJ Rowe and Jake Banarhall to put Army back on track. Army ended the scoring and the match (due to lightning) with a try from blind-side flanker Max Gordon in the 70th minute.
After the tough game, both teams went to the main trophy room of Anderson Rugby Complex to enjoy a post-match social, customary of all rugby matches. Despite playing on a weeknight in the middle of a rough semester, the Iona Gaels were more than happy to make the trip to West Point and give the Army Rugby Team another match needed for a successful appeal to USA Rugby and the D1A board.
Army Rugby would like to thank Iona University, and the efforts of Meg Hunnewell and the rest of the Army Rugby Family for making this game possible.