Match Report: Nash Still Undefeated, v Memphis

Final Score
Nashville 41 v Memphis 12.

Absolutely a team win, this was, more than any other this season! The Flamingos never saw us coming, and even though Stone Lions typically stay away from poultry, yon pink birds were summarily devoured. Seven tries, the courageous Stone Lions scored, SEVEN!

And each (just about) was scored by a different player, set up and backed up by a bold, strong and selflessly supporting 14 others. This team has grown! So much so that the staff here at “Perspectives from the Front Row”, a generally playful and jovial bunch, will find it difficult to depart from this very serious tone. Pride. Teamwork. Leadership. Courage!

To our regular reader, I address these comments. A faithful follower, you above all others understand the impossibility of translating into mere words the heroic feats that take place on the Rugby pitch. The stylized litany that follows must serve as a pale, brief, but well-attempted summary of 80 minutes of glory….

Nashville kicks off from midfield to start the contest! The sidelines’ breath is held! The sunshine is in our gladiators’ eyes! The ball goes high, is caught….

And the first tackle belongs to Mae Buchanan, Prop, with a bone-crunching, run-stopping smash! The Stone Lions recover the loose ball (for who can keep hold of a ball after a hit like THAT!)….

Up the middle runs it, Marney McCague, Lock, fearlessly, decisively, earning her first well-deserved badge of valor, a beautiful black eye. All the hugger girls go crazy and fight amongst themselves, wondering if it is for naught….

Out of a clean ruck, rookie Scrummie Hailee Sells picks up and makes a flawless, spinning pass out to the backs this time. The Marshal on the field has matured, taken direction from the veteran players and shows immense improvement!…

The pass is caught by #10 on the run! No other player had more ball contact than Sarah Brown, Flyhalf, running the ball up the middle for a total of 5787.52 meters gained (exact guesstimate there) and one solid try scored for 5 points….

And yet, she scores no more than third-kicker’s-a-charm Soccer Russel, Lock (having learned kicking skills on the much inferior field of football), with three conversions for 6 points! A powerhouse player, glad to have her back after some injuries….

Hooker, Abi Muelder, catches the return kick-off after our try. Her running style baffles forwards and scares backs, as she dips and darts past the first couple of defenders before having to dish off a pop-pass.

Heading the second pod is Mistee Harris, Flanker, an experienced and cool head on the pitch always perfectly located in support. Rarely is this steady player seen to make a mistake, and this match is no exception.

Off the ruck, in an uncharacteristically brilliant offensive play, Rainy Atherton, Prop, quick-picks the ball and sidesteps the single defender, making probably the longest run of her career and nearly scoring! Only to be embarrassingly tripped by the little full-back near the line.

on her impressive debut as a Stone Lion, Sarah Smith, Center, was seen dragging flamingos to the ground with her patent-pending “gravity” tackle, as well as quick passing out to the wing and side-stepping slower girls (read: “everyone”)….

Everyone other than perhaps Kat Butler, Winger, who is seen 20 meters down the field almost at the same time as she is seen catching that well-placed pass from Sarah. A quick step and a stiff-arm have her scoring in the corner making it an another 5 points up!

The third first-half score comes with an unlikely occurrence: Kellie Hurst, Full-Back, with a freak zero-sum penalty-try trick. Earns 5 points by drawing a penalty near the try line; later gives five away with an impressive horse-collar tackle in the second half. What a wonderful sport!!!

a slightly less organized team in the second half, Captain & Flanker Gina Durkan’s contribution was strongly felt bolstering the back-line; one memorable play has her drawing multiple defenders inside the 22, making them miss and over-commit, yet maintaining control to pass to the next back without losing momentum…

After much wrestling, Kiwi Oliver, Center and our favorite New Zealander, with a great drive and strong reach succeeds in placing the ball down past the line between the uprights. Kiwi is as exciting a player as you get, a great addition to this year’s NWRFC, and we hope to see her back in the Spring!!..

One of the final scores comes from Susannah Crawford, our TANK of an 8-man, in her signature unstoppable drive, her 5 points buried under a half-dozen beaten flamingos….

And last but not least, our top scorer and MVP for the match, the Great Lesnefsky (Natasha), Winger, with two swift punches to the corner for 10…. “faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.”

Honorary mentions to our subs! Rebecca Slape (Lock), Remi Henderson (Lock), Jameica Johnson (Lock), Mary Akel (Lock), Jewelia Lawrence (Center) and Betty Jo King (Winger) – invaluable contributions guys!! Also to our tireless Medics, Megan Gillespie (who at least got a free cup of coffee) and Julie Atherton (my brave but frozen tamale).

By Rainy Atherton

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