Queens draw in Las Cruces
The Queens Rugby Club of New Mexico Tech matched points with their loyal opposition – the New Mexico State University Lady Chiles – Saturday in Las Cruces. In a well-played and entertaining exhibition featuring both 10- and seven-player versions of the game, the Queens put up 15 points playing “tens” and seven more in the seven-woman format.
In the tens match, the Queens drew first blood when Margot Kelly aggressively cleared the ball after a tackle and Tech fly half, Nicole Gayer, took a short pass from Tech teammate Cassi Coleman to ease into the try zone in the corner. The attempted conversion kick by Phoebe Nicholls was unsuccessful.
NMSU standout Lindsey Englehardt scored for NMSU six minutes into the opening frame and then ran in a try of some 80 meters three minutes later. Neither try was converted.
In the second of three ten’s periods played, Gayer repeated her earlier feat with a 20-meter run after some good play by her teammates. Prop Mari Flores was nearly unstoppable with ball in hand while Kayla Hanson, playing center in only her second rugby outing, caught and ran the ball with promise. Lock Ashlynne Winton provided support in the scrums and around the field in open play.
The Lady Chiles got up to speed in the last ten’s period and scored two well-worked tries, converting one to go up 22 – 10. The northern contingent made it 22 – 15 after a powerful scoring run by Hanson in the closing moments.
Following the tens competition, those eager to play on engaged in two additional halves of seven-a-side rugby. The first seven-minute half was scoreless but in the second half ,Tech’s Brittney Soto found a gap between defenders and ran 50 meters to paydirt. This time, Nicholls made no mistake with her conversion kick, bringing the day’s haul to 22 for each team.
Nicole Gayer, a team leader with rugby experience at U Cal-Santa Barbara and Portland, Ore., was named Tech’s Woman of the Match.