NORTHFIELD, Vt. – After a one year hiatus, the Norwich University men's and women's rugby programs will be back on their home field for the 2012-13 season.
On Sunday Aug. 28 the NU Dog River Pitch was devastated by heavy rain from the remnants of Hurricane Irene. The goalposts were broken after the flood water reached as high as the crossbars and the pitch was littered with debris and silt.
In early October, Norwich University hired the R.A.D. Sports Company from Rockland, Mass, which was the same company installed the turf field at the New England Patriots' Gillette Stadium a few years ago.
They arrived at the pitch with four different kinds of equipment that included a laser leveler and a seeder. During a two-month period between the last weekend in August when the Dog River Pitch was hit with Irene and the last weekend of October when it was hit with an early snow storm, there was excellent weather throughout the fall for the pitch to recover with mild temperatures and limited rain fall.
The seed took root early and sustained itself. Also the mild winter and the third week in March that brought the temperatures to the mid 80's enabled the pith to recover even further.
Both the men's and women's rugby teams suspended play on the Dog River Pitch during the entire school year for both the fall and the spring seasons. Both squads played their matches on the practice football fields on higher ground across the river.
The first match on the pitch since Irene will be a men's friendly match between Norwich and Brown on Saturday, Sept. 8. The Norwich men will be entering their 42nd year while Brown will begin their 52nd.
This fall, the Norwich rugby programs will display their permanent flag pole that now resides on the Dog River Rugby Pitch adjacent to the scoreboard.
"Both the men and women rugby programs would like to extend our thanks to the Norwich University facilities staff and administration for their continued support to the Dog River Rugby Pitch, the pitch looks great and more level than ever," said Director of Rugby and head men's rugby coach Bob Weggler.