Controversial call cited in Fliers rugby 21-17 loss
Simon Gulak takes possession of the ball April 13 during a rugby game against the Mississippi Gulf Coast Landsharks.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 22, 2013) -- The last game of the rugby spring season pinned air against earth in a match that was ultimately decided by what many at the event deemed a bad call during the last three seconds of the high-spirited game.

The Fort Rucker Fliers played the Mississippi Gulf Coast Landsharks April 13 where the winner of the game was decided by a last-second try that was recalled by the game referee, giving the visitors a 21-17 win.

The Fort Rucker player went for a touch during the try and an opposing team member was mistakenly seen to be holding, meaning his hand was in between the ball and the ground, supposedly preventing the try.

"Unfortunately, the referee cannot see everything, and like in any sport there will be blown calls and mistakes," said Staff Sgt. Colin Schwalm, 1st Battalion, 14th Aviation Regiment, Headquarters, Headquarters Company and team captain.

Simon Gulak, who made the try, said he was disappointed but that at the end of the day both teams had a good time playing rugby.

"The touch judge said I got it down, but the ref's field call is final," he said.

The game was neck and neck, and both teams put up a substantial fight. It was obvious to spectators that both teams wanted to win badly.

Possession quickly passed between players and the ball constantly moved up and down the field. After a harsh struggle for dominance, Fort Rucker was able to secure the game's first try, but they missed the conversion kick.

Knock on after knock on was dealt to players on both teams, but MGC got their first try about two minutes later and made their conversion kick.

Both teams pushed hard down the field in their respected directions. Several times scrums were formed along with grubber kicks and kick-to-touch plays were dealt for possession.

The Fliers eventually gained ground again when they passed the ball down the field and after several good passes and kicking the ball forward the Fliers were able to secure another try with a successful conversion.

After a couple close calls after the restart, Fort Rucker got to their try line again, but after a few rough tackles and mauls on both ends they called it half time after an unsuccessful scrum to regain possession.

Both teams began to get white line fever after the half and began to make mistakes on the field, mistakes that would cost both teams.

Several Flier players made long runs minutes into the second half, but they were not able to make a try. But after a successful ruck, pass and run, the Fliers began to gain momentum.

The Landsharks did several lineouts so they could try to gain possession of the ball one time too many, for the Fliers took possession of the ball from one of the throw ins.

Flier Nick Bible moved forward, but the team missed several good tackles and the Landsharks gained possession. They were able to make it down the field again and make a try with a good conversion kick.

After the restart, the Landsharks were able to make a back-to-back try with 20 minutes left in the game. Fort Rucker was not far behind; securing another try thanks to good teamwork by Cpl. Parker Short, 1st Battalion, 223rd Aviation Regiment -- the kick, though, was bad.

In the last minutes of the game, both teams were pumped and determined to push the other. Fort Rucker made a try, but a call by the referee, who admitted the mistake after the game, prevented the try from being counted, bringing the finishing score to Landsharks 21, Fliers 17.

Fans and players said the highlights of the season include amazing plays and sportsmanship, as well as WO1 Jesse Haddix, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment, refusing to wear black shorts, choosing instead to wear his lucky orange ones from college.

Page last updated Mon April 22nd, 2013 at 00:00