Tournament Report: Memorable Nash-Bash Appearance by NWRFC

Results:
v. County Will Morrigans: Lost, 19 – 24 (Will who? They’re from just south of Chicago)
v. Cincinnati Kelts, OH: Tied, 12 – 12
v. Dayton Flying Pigs, OH: Won, 12 – 7

Overall: Consolation Bracket Winners!

Nash-Bash is one of the longest continuously running tournaments in history (perhaps I exaggerate), 30 years running. Well, 30 non-FEMA-disaster-area years… The Bash promises big on their website things like “top-notch teams”, “exceptional weather” and “non-stop rugby from sun up to sun down”. It also makes the bold claim that the Women’s tournament is one of the best in the country. And from this author’s humble observation, the Bash delivered once again in 2013.

NWRFC’s participation started early Saturday against a mysterious team no-one had heard of from Manhattan IL, whose uniforms served not only to distinguish their players but also to give seizures and headaches to the opposition (bright! clashy! but awesome). Though we lost the match by a single try, ending our winning streak for the 2013 spring season, it was a huge win in my book. What the scoreboard does not show in rugby is the level of heart, the depth of dedication and sacrifice made by each individual for her team, or the strength of the cohesiveness and unity that was developed by the collective. Where the Stone Lions started the match somewhat disjointly (most keenly felt by this Front Row player in the many bowled-over Scrums), we finished the game putting together an organized offense and a stiff defensive line.

The Morrigans boasted a speedy and elusive back-line with some seriously cool plays… that by the end of the game were crashing ineffectively against our sturdy defensive line. Those 19 points the Stone Lions put up were mostly a come-back in the second half, hard won and nearly a tie – we just ran out of time. Of course, that last bit may be wishful thinking and is certainly conjecture… but I swear I was just about to score when the Sir blew that heart-breaking, game ending signal!

The second match was vs. the Cincy Kelts way at the end of a chilly, windy day. The Kelts are without a doubt the fastest ruckers this author has ever seen – and that includes you, Knoxville Minx. I lost count of how many balls they stole from us before we could arrive to contest them after a tackle. Well played! But that is the beauty of a tournament of this level: the opportunity to face opponents from so far away that we would never otherwise play them, and to have the chance to learn from them. Because, guess what? When challenged, the Stone Lions step up! It’s what we do; there is not a single lounger on the team. It did not take even the first half for us to start getting there in time, with speed and intensity to match their own and retain ball possession through several phases. And I can guarantee this will carry on to our next match.

The last match was the most fun – probably because we had had a long spring shower overnight that turned the field into a sliding mud-pit by Sunday morning. What real lady does not love playing in the mud? Dayton Area RFC was a fun, courteous team on the pitch, and I truly enjoyed the match-up. Dayton’s kicking game had us back on our heels multiple times – what a kicker they had – but our Full-Back, T-Rex, is a fearless and scrappy return-kick runner, and we faced no real difficulty score-wise. The Stone Lions pulled out the win thanks to the Forwards’ determination in gaining turnovers and maintaining possession (go Rin, go Rainy, go Jamie, Soccer and Rebecca! – don’t get mad if I missed you, my head was in the mud, yo…), and thanks to the classic signature Stone Lions’ back-line, running circles around the opposition. Wallaby look-alikes on some plays, dare I say! And all that without our key Center, top scorer, Smashley, whose knee was injured the day before. It was a glorious match and what a way to end the tourney!

I would follow you anywhere, Stone Lions, could not be prouder of our performance and our growth as a team.

By Rainy Atherton

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