• Ruggerfest Recap

    Ruggerfest Recap

    On Friday, April 11, the Arkansas Gryphons travelled the five-hour journey to St. Louis, Missouri, to compete in 2014’s STL Ruggerfest.  The team was coming off of three straight wins, but more importantly, they were finally playing as a team, and not individuals.  The Gryphons entered the tournament seeded 14th, out of 16.  They matched up against one of the favorites in the first match and not expected to make much of an impact on the tournament.  The Gryphons were scheduled for two games Saturday and one game Sunday; with a fourth game possible, depending on how they played.  The Gryphons arrived to the pitch early Saturday morning with sunny skies, heavy winds, and warm weather.

    The following is an e-mail sent to the team from Coach Jason Ayers after the team’s play at Ruggerfest:

    “Great Showing in St. Louis by the Mighty, Mighty Gryphons as we went from a 14 seed to play thru the meat of the tournament to get to the finals before falling a little short of WINNING the 2014 Ruggerfest hosted by the Missouri RFU.

    Our first match was against the St. Louis Ramblers in which we won 22-19.  Try scorers were #9 Tim Hanify, #10 English James, and #14 Jeremy Marshall-Johnson.  Dan Cook hit 2 of 3 conversions and added a PK.  The Ramblers were shocked as they expected to beat us with their big pack – NOT TO BE with our quick ball and up-tempo strategy.

    2nd Match was against Northland St, a strong team from S. Dakota consisting of many islanders. Was a very tough battle in the forwards, which we were able to manage through some tough rucking to get the ball out to our backs and dot down 4 tries (2 by Jeremy Marshall, 1 by speedy Billy Dyer and 1 by #13 Dan “the Man” Cook).  Dan also converted 2 of 4 kicks and also put another PK to help us WIN by 27-14.

    In the semifinals, we were faced with a match from Chicago, the Westside Condors.  Thanks to a little intel on how they played, we outmanned and outclassed them for the full 50min 24-3.  Try scorers were #9 Tim Hanify, #8 David “3D” Robertson, and #15 Frank “da Tank” Masotto.  Dan Cook converted 3 of 3 tries and added a PK.

    In the finals, against the STL Bombers (spit), we got out to a fast start leading 13-0 after 10 min.  We even had an opportunity to widen the gap, but missed on a knock-on that we would have dotted down again.  Playing against a team that didn’t like to get hit and wasn’t used to being behind, the game turned very chippy with a lot of extra-non-rugby activity occurring post tackle and post ruck.  The sir dealt out a RED card to a Bomber for throwing a punch.  We weren’t able to capitalize on the extra man, and the chippy play took us out of our game; we weren’t able to recover and get back to focusing on playing the quick style of rugby that had gotten us to the final.  A Gryphons’ yellow card helped open up the scoring; and in the end, after our quick start, St. Louis held us scoreless and they put up 3 tries and 2PKs to beat us 23-13.  Our Try Scorers were #10 England James and #11 Jeremy Marshall with Dan hitting a PK to give us our 13 points.

    OUR 17 MEN played their ARSE’s off through nagging injuries over 4 games of EXCELLENT RUGBY – complements were flowing from many observers!  It was great to be a part of, despite not playing our best game in the finals — where we could have and should have come out on TOP!  The quick style of rucking, getting the balls out to the backs, everyone supporting the ball, and playing UN-SELFISH RUGBY was key in our success this weekend.  Everyone played his role and we played for one another.  We were rewarded with a trip to the finals, where we represented NW Arkansas Rugby very well!

    Great Finish to an Excellent Season!  It has me very excited about our future for 15’s in the fall and great things are about to happen this summer with our 7’s TEAMS!

    I am very proud of the team and their efforts over the last two weeks.  It’s a result of hard work during the week and playing unselfish rugby during game time.  New players have come in and put the effort in during training, and then have been given the opportunity to gain valuable match experience on Saturday’s.  What makes it rewarding for me is the team is really coming together as ONE group of men playing and supporting each other and having LOTS of fun along the way.”




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  • Posted by Tucker on May 6, 2014 at 5:21 am

    Great work Gents- keep it up!


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