The University of Memphis Tigers traveled to Cullowhee, NC in the middle of the Smokey’s to the beautiful campus of Western Carolina University to play the Smokey Mountain Conference Tournament. WCU hosted the tournament and invited Memphis, East Carolina and Murray State, who declined to attend.
ECU best Tigers 68-3
The first match featured the top two teams of the tournament and really was the finals of the tournament. East Carolina was the dominant team and the Tigers knew it within 15 minutes when ECU took the first points off of a counter play that moved from the ECU 10 yard line 90 meters to the Tigers try line. The Tigers had difficulty containing their stronger and faster backs and ECU capitalized on missed tackles and unprotected rucks. The forwards held the scrums until ECU shifted to an 8 man drive. ECU methodically placed points on the board. Nothing flashy, just consistent pressure and attack that would finally find a seam.
The Tigers showed lots of heart and continued to play aggressively up to the final whistle. They clearly faced a better team, but they did not quit and made ECU pay for every sore.
I was very proud of their play. The Tigers played a hard, clean and quiet match… with proper respect for the referee. In fact, the referee commented on the excellent attitude that was exhibited by the players through the match.
Tigers over WCU 31-5
The Tigers, resolved not to lose two in a row, took the field fresh from a rest at the hotel. WCU had been beaten soundly in a 50 minute match truncated by a back injury that required the player to be removed from the field on a gurney.
WCU clearly did not want to lose two either, so the battle lines were drawn. This time, the Tigers were the better team. This became evident within the first 5 minutes. We were lower, tighter and demonstrated better support for all phases of play. We had learned a lot in our first match. The Tigers protected their ball and was stealing ball from the opposition set pieces and in open field play.
Phil scored the first try of the game by running down a kick and placing in under the posts. Conversion puts the tigers up 7-0. Just before the half WCU forwards push over a maul in injury time to put their first points on the board 7-5.
At half time, the Tigers realize that they get to run down hill… and they decide it is time to turn up the heat. The scoring machine then started. In the 6th and 22nd minutes, Phil again finds the try line on kicks and runs where he flew past the fullback to down the ball in goal. Josh Campbell picked up points on the conversion. In the 28t minute, Josh takes his try by diving for the line from a ruck. Phil converts Josh’s try. With 4 minutes left in the half, Phil gets lose again and finds gold. Josh missed the conversion and the game is done. Final score 31-5.
Tournament Summary: Phil Elliott named Man of the Match (MVP) with found Jonathan Bauer the best forward for the weekend.
Tour Players: 1. Dylan Carter 2. Josiah Shipley 3. Aimeer McCrary 4. Ryan Phillips 5. Will Fitts 6. Adam Hairston 7. Jonathan Bauer 8. Kian Koleini 9. Jonathan Brewi 10. Phil Elliott 11. Willie Lacey 12. Chris Tapp 13. Jay MacDonnchadh 14. Simren Dhilawal 15. Scott Smith 16. Jamie Perry 17. Joshua Campbell 18. Chris Cobb
Weekend Scoring: Elliott 27, Campbell 7