Match Report: Stone Lions Win, Nash 12, Knox 0
Nashville 12 v Knoxville 0
It should come as no surprise to our loyal NWRFC followers that we have photos of the Social, but not of the actual match, as is becoming of a serious, athletic, formal team such as the undefeatable Stone Lions! And this was a good one, a Social thrown in honor of our once united KnoxNash team coming together head to head, but mostly as an epic celebration of the long-overdue wedding of our two dear friends, Ninja and Deaner. The theme: white-trash wedding, with not one, not two but three pregnant brides in white….
But back to the more important task of this article: Nashville beats Knoxville, Minx scoreless! Wha- what???!!! That’s right, the steadfast reader. You read correctly, my fellow Rugby disciple! Your Stone Lions roared, charged and fought, put up an impregnable defense in the red-zone (with cries of “Thou shalt not penetrate THIS!”), and bid their time for break-out runs by back-liners Kellie Hurst and Sarah Brown!
In recent years, at least, our team has deservedly been called the disparaging epithet of “second half team”, where we sit around, think about it, and only after the half do we begin to settle into our accustomed level of scintillating rugby moves…. The first minutes of the match seemed to head that way once again, as the kick-off was returned but promptly lost to one of the first rucks of the match. For a while, Nashville fought for balance, back on their heels and struggling to hold back that legendary Knoxville back-line. But not this time! Fear not, dear reader, for this time the chains fell away as the defense held, the forwards arrived early and hard at the rucks, maintaining and sometimes stealing possession, and the backs started running the solid lines we know they are capable of.
At this point I should mention our fearless captain, Flanker Gina Durkan, game changer, who sped faster than this correspondent has seen to join the back-line and give the Stone Lions a much-needed overload at the wing. It was during one such play where, after winning yet another ball from the scrum, that she peeled off like a rocket! Like a ballistic missile! Like a swiftest streaking chihuahua! To insert after the Fly Half and make a flawless pass down the line. Precise drawing in of the defenders followed by off-load passes placed Kellie at the wing in perfect position to muscle in the try! It was a close but decisive score. Had these gals been wearing Green and Gold rather than Black and Gold you might have confused them for the Wallabies, and that is no exaggeration!
The score at the half stood at 5-0 (with a near miss on a tough kick by rookie Scrummie Hailee Sells). Your Nashville women strode onto the pitch, heads held high, intending to finish stronger than ever this often lost the contest. A quick disclaimer is in order here: This column is aptly named “Perspectives from the Front Row” owing to your humble correspondent’s poorly concealed ties to the pack, as well as to justify any misperceptions of a match – as we know, the front row spends an inordinate amount of time with their face in dirt and under-boot… All that to shamelessly point out that the second half belonged unequivocally to the tight-five and the pack in general. Not a single scrum was lost where we put in, and 90% of their put-ins resulted in stolen balls. Ball possession was 85% in favor of the Stone Lions! (And that is a precisely calculated estimate based on wind direction, sun position, and Tight-Head Prop pant rate). That was the element that allowed the incredible pass by (who? I missed it, had my face in the dirt…) to rookie #10 Sarah Brown, who made an expert cut to find a hole and carry it all the way in for the try.
Have I mentioned that our rookies are amazing this year? Yep.
One last and most important observation from this, your amateur sports writer. I could not help but notice – and I tell you truly that I do not care if I risk being shot or beaten by her angry, jealous wife! – The talent, intelligence, competence and skillful interventions from the Stone Lion’s medic! I am in awe! I am speechless! No, wait, I am never speechless!… Who is this nymph, this goddess who has stolen my heart? I have seen many and sundry medical professionals on the sidelines, attempting to aid the fallen in this heroic physical test that is Rugby, but never have I observed such graceful gait, such selfless devotion, such strength of caring, mind, body and spirit. Until the next match, my fair lady, which I will single-handedly win for thee and lay that victory upon thy worthy feet. Let this ode serve as NWRFC’s appreciation for your undeserved service, Julie Atherton. We are sorry we lost your Medic-bag, and it will not happen again.
By Rainy Atherton