Oswego State defeats Hamilton at home

Members of the Hamilton College and Oswego State men’s rugby scrum packs battle for possession during Saturday’s match, won by the Wizards.  (Photo provided by Reid Adler)
Members of the Hamilton College and Oswego State men’s rugby scrum packs battle for possession during Saturday’s match, won by the Wizards. (Photo provided by Reid Adler)

After splitting the season series with the Hamilton Exiles in 2012, the Oswego State men’s rugby team came to the Hidden Fields this past Saturday with a determination to win, which proved crucial in the victory effort.

The Wizards kicked off to the Exiles to start the game, but it was not long before they forced a couple lineouts, the latter gaining possession.

Once Oswego State had possession, it kept play in the offensive third of the pitch. The Exiles struggled with the high-pressure situation and the Wizards were able to strike first when senior fly half Joey Weisansal put a penalty goal through for three points.

The moments directly following the Wizards’ penalty goal produced Hamilton’s first chance to move the ball up the field in their preferred style: punting. However, the opportunity was squandered by a miskick and Oswego State’s domination would leave the Exiles’ chances to punt few and far between.

Senior captain and outside center Tyrell Moore attributed the Wizards’ success on possession control to their practice and preparation during the week.

“We got to the fly half and the inside center really fast, put pressure on them,” Moore said. “That’s what we practiced all week, we executed pretty well out here.”

Weisansal continued the Wizards’ scoring with a try and conversion around the midway point of the half, giving the home squad a 10-0 advantage.

Hamilton picked up its play following the Oswego State score. Their ball movement was helped by the impressive strength show by the Hamilton front lines on the rucks, allowing for quick restarts after tackles.

In the final minutes of the first half, Oswego State regained its control by putting together a drive that, while unfruitful, pushed the Exiles’ defense right up against their try line.

The second 40 minutes started out with balanced play, but when Hamilton left the roll in on a scrum too far outside the packs, the Wizards picked up the ball and moved upfield.

The ball reached Moore, who switched the field and ran the ball about 50 meters before tossing it back to Weisansal, who made the try but missed the ensuing conversion. His try increased the hosts’ lead to 15-0.

Oswego State regained the ball off the kickoff and used a combination of size and quickness to move the ball. Some quick ruck victories made stopping their momentum near impossible.

Senior end wing and captain Nick Holz gave the home crowd its third try of the afternoon to cheer for at the tail end of the Wizards’ impressive drive.

Joey Weisansal missed his second consecutive conversion, but Oswego State had the match well in hand.

After the Wizards’ fourth score, it appeared they had found their dominance from the game’s early minutes.

The Wizards’ final score followed a bizarre exchange that ended with the official awarding the hosts a penalty try. Weisansal capped the score with his second conversion of the game.

Although the game was far out of hand, Hamilton put in one final push to end the Wizards’ hopes for a shutout.

A combination of two breakaway runs finally put the Exiles on the board. The latter break down the side was continued to the center of the pitch where junior flanker Tim Cowan broke across the try line. Senior fly half Will Marsdan tacked on the conversion, bringing the match to its resting score line of 27-7.

At the end of the game, Moore was pleased with his squad’s overall energy.

“We wanted it more than them, plain and simple,” Moore said. “We wanted the W. We weren’t going down to this team again,” Moore said, referring to the Wizards loss to the Exiles last season.

With two victories under its belt, Oswego State heads to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute this weekend for its third match of the 2013 season before its championship rematch against Colgate University.