Monthly Archives: September 2013

Tigers v. Harding

Harding Rugby

Harding Rugby

The Memphis Tigers take on Harding University this Saturday, September 28 at our house.  Match will begin at 2:00.  Here are the details:

Referee:  Eric Fleming

Kickoff:  2:00pm

Place:  Memorial Field

(Home games are played at Memorial Field on the campus of the University of Memphis.  Memorial Field is on the west side of the street at 451 Zach Curlin Street  Memphis, Tennessee.  The pitch is raised above street level.  You can see the goal posts in the trees from the street.  You may park in the student parking and walk across the street.  Bring a lawn chair and sit on the track that surrounds the field.)

Starting side:  1. Justice Houston 2. Ian Curry 3. J.C. Russell 4. Ronnie Roberson 5. Andrew Weda 6. August Myers 7. Adam Hairston 8. Chris Lemons 9. Jonathan Brewi 10. Phil Elliott 11. Thomas Strickland 12. Donavon Thomas 13. Cameron Walton 14. Tezzio Mosley 15. John Elmore

There is only one match.  All eligible players will be worked into the match.

Social will be on the field immediately following the match.

Tigers Struggle at Oak Leaf

Oak Leaf Tournament

Oak Leaf Tournament

The struggle started early.  We had an agreement with Vandy for a kick-off time after noon so that we could drive up Saturday AM.  So, they scheduled us at 11:00.  Oops! That means that we will need to leave Memphis at 7:00am sharp and hammer down to get to the field on time.

Though most players were gathered at Central by the 6:30 meet time, we were 5 short.  By 7:00 we were three short, and we finally left at 7:15 leaving some players in their beds.  (Frustrating)

We got to the pitch at 10:30 and finally had the lads warming up at 10:45.  With 15 minutes to wake up our bodies and our minds, I was very worried.  And I had cause to be worried.  We played Alabama B, a respectable team… but a team that we could beat, and we let them win the game.  We gave the ball back on a multitude of turnovers… dropped balls, running into touch.  We were not ready to play.  Lost 15 to 7.

An hour later we played probably the best team at the tournament.  Southern Indiana University (Evansville) were fabulous and we played fabulous with them.  We played the best rugby that I have ever seen us play.  We came up short, but we didn’t embarrass ourselves like we did in the first match.  SIU on top 20 to 7.

Then we had lunch, slept and killed off 4 hours waiting for our next match.  We were to face MTSU.  We don’t mind playing MTSU; we just had rather played a team that was not in our conference.  Maybe Tennessee or Kentucky?  But to no avail.

The MTSU match was classic Memphis – MTSU.  Hard fought, crashing, passionate and fun to watch. (A yellow card and two reds spoiled the fun.  Passions too high?) Though we were uphill in the first half, the Tigers held their own and the score was close.  Then, the 40+ MTSU substitutes were rotated into the match.  After 5 halves of play the Tigers could not stop the players with the fresh legs.  Our scrums started to falter and our backs could not contain.  Not sure what the final score was, but it was lopsided.

However, the weekend was not without positives.  The first try against Alabama was provided by August Myers who took the ball from Thomas Strickland and powered through several players to score the try.  He has been dead lifting 425 lbs lately and he showed his superior leg drive in that play.  Great job August.  When we get close we need to get him the ball.

Chris Lemons demonstrated toughness in contact to make two sweet offloads to Thomas in the SIU and MTSU games.  Thomas showed his illusiveness and dashed for tries in each match. Defensive players were grabbing air.  Thomas is the fastest player on the pitch and his defense has improved significantly over the past year.  We are glad to have him standing at 11.

Phil Elliott managed the kicks well.  Kickoffs and conversions were well handled and his 10 play was impressive.  Jonathan Brewi was rather solid in getting out some tough ball.  He and Phil used the quick tap effectively.

We worked on the defensive back line and learned a few things that we will be using going forward.  Cameron Walton was solid at 13 and Freshman Donovan impressed us.  Tezzio was ready but didn’t get enough ball.  We need to get the ball out faster.

The forwards have learned how to ruck low to the ground.  Ian and company can protect the ball when they want to.  Forwards also demonstrated good discipline at the defensive ruck and maintained onsides through the intensity.  We won some good lineout ball and set pieces have started to gel.  Our new players Ronnie and DJ are figuring out second row and Chris and Jonathan are solid at 8.

Captain for the day was Adam Hairston.  He managed his team well and marshaled his troupes effectively.  He properly took care of the referee and kept his team focused on the prize.

With that behind us, we go against Harding this weekend.  They are no easy team.  We had better bring our A game.  We are just glad to be home playing at our pitch.  Kick-off at 2:00.  Come on out and watch the Tigers.

Oak Leaf Tournament Logistics

Oak Leaf Tournament

Oak Leaf Tournament

The Tigers travel to Vanderbilt for the upgraded Oak Leaf Tournament.  Last year’s five team tournament has swollen to 10 teams this year.  The Tigers won first place in the event last year.

Field Location:  2575 Children’s Way Nashville Tennessee 37212

First match will be at 11:00 am against Alabama, second we will face Southern Indiana and we will finish the day at 6:00 pm with MTSU.

All Tigers will play in this event.  We will use the games for player development.  We will not pick the first 15 to start, but will mix the players up so that we have three equal teams, mixing new players with seasoned.

We’ll gather tomorrow at Central parking lot at 6:30 am and will leave immediately.  We’ve rented one 15 passenger van and the remainder will travel in cars.  Student drivers will get $30 for gas.

Players need to be prepared to purchase breakfast and dinner.  The van will stop at Chick-fil-a in Jackson for breakfast on the way up.  The club will provide sandwiches for lunch.

Be prepared for wet weather.  May want to pack rain gear and a towel with which to dry off.

Tigers Fall to Ole Miss in Opener

Oxford, MS:  The Memphis Tigers traveled to Oxford to open the fall season against Ole Miss.  With recent success against the Rebels (Bears) over the past three years the Tigers had hoped to continue the streak.  The Tigers were not beaten, they really beat themselves.  Too many mental errors and failure to capitalize on opportunities in the red zone, left us short.

Memphis Tigers 2013

Memphis Tigers 2013

We dominated Ole Miss for the first 10 minutes of the match and were in scoring position twice.  However, Ole Miss settled and the match began to turn.  We missed a few tackles and found ourselves defending a lineout on our 10.  Ole Miss took it quick off the top, we missed a tackle inside and they were in the try zone.  The kick shanked in from the left upright and we are down 0-7.

In the second 20, the Jonathan Brewi threw in to himself on our own 20, taking advantage of the Ole Miss slow walk to the lineout.  He ran across field, up to the 40, then chips ahead.  The ball is gathered by the Ole Miss wing, but he is quickly dumped and Brewi had the ball in hand again.  He chipped ahead again and Thomas Strickland streaked for the ball dribbling at the Ole Miss 15.  Thomas toes the ball in goal and downs for the Tigers first points.  Brewi fails to convert, but the Tigers have shown their creativity and excellent open field play.  5-7

Shortly after the Tigers score, the Rebels lift the ball toward the goal with players in support and the Tiger defense was in disarray.  They notch 5 more points, fail to convert.  The half ends with a score 5-12.

As we assess the half, we have lost Josiah, our captain, to a shoulder injury and Brandon Worley to a knee.  However, we go into the second half rather optimistic.  We have played rather well in several sets and are only short on points due to a few mental errors.  Fix the errors and we should be in good shape.

However, early in the second half, the defense fails to cover the field and the Rebels #8 scores on a 50 meter scamper from a ruck.  Our forwards were not at the ruck as they should have been.  Breakdown in communication and effort.  The Rebs sneak in another try and now the tigers are against the ropes.   5-24.

The Tigers are hungry and are frustrated with their inability to score.  They go on a rampage for 15 minutes where they pound on the Ole Miss goal line.  After three penalties and fours scrums, Brewi taps a 5 meter penalty and dishes to Brock Ayers, who doesn’t even appear that he ever intended to pass the ball.  He barrels over three players, slips two more and carries two into the goal.  It was a very impressive few several minutes of rugby.  Taylor Burton slots the conversion and the Tigers are crawling back into the match.  12-24

The Tigers are caught not releasing the player at their 30 and Ole Miss takes a penalty for three more points.  12-27

One play in particular was fun to watch.  Tezman found the ball at wing with two men to beat and no room to work, so he lifted the ball in the air and caught it on the full.  It ended with a high tackle.  There was plenty of give and take with the Tigers making impressive moves.  However, they could not get in goal.  With one minute left, Ole Miss quick taps a penalty to score in the corner.  Final score, 12-32.

We learned a lot as a club during the match.  The video was telling.  Some players are confused about their role, but most are ready to contribute.  I’ll make the needed adjustments and we will deal with the problems in practice.  We have Oak Leaf this weekend and need to sort things out.  However, I remain optimistic about the Tigers as we move forward.

Ole Miss Logistics

Ole Miss RugbyThe Tigers take on the Ole Miss Rebels Saturday, September 14 at their house.

Kick-off:  2:00pm

Place: Oxford, MS  Intramural fields  –  Blackburn-McMurray Outdoor Sports Complex, Insight Park Avenue, Oxford, MS 38655  (behind IHOP on 2152 Jackson Avenue West  Oxford, MS 38655)

Referee:  Edwin Land (Deep South)

Social:  Proud Larry’s (on the square) – 211 South Lamar Boulevard  Oxford, MS 38655  (662) 236-0050

Starting Side:  1. Brandon Worley 2. Ian Curry 3. Justice Houston 4. Chris Lemons 5. DJ Rubin 6. August Myers 7. Adam Hairston 8. Jonathan Bauer 9. Jonathan Brewi 10. Phil Elliott 11. Anthony Smith 12.  Josiah Shipley (captain) 13. Cameron Walton 14. Tezmon Mosley 15. Scott Smith

Substuitutes 16. Ignacio Crisoslone 17. JC Russell 18. Jamie Perry 19. Ronnie Roberson 19. Brock Ayers 20. Thomas Strickland 21. TJ Hardaway 22. Donavon Thomas 23. Nicholas Harrison 24. Taylor Burton 25. John Elmore

Everyone gets to play.

Meet at 10:45 am at the Central Parking lot (East of Holiday Inn)  We will be leaving at 11:00.  Be dressed and ready to play at 1:00 pm at the Ole Miss field.


Tiger Old Boy Weekend a Hit

Old Boy Form

Old Boy Form

The second annual Tiger Old Boy weekend was a big hit.  Kicked off on Friday night at Central BBQ we were treated to some of the best BBQ pork and chicken that Memphis has to offer.  Coach Cole introduced the 2013-2014 Tigers to the Old Boys.  “This is the most athletic group of players we have had to date“, stated Cole.  The new players are strong athletes and the old players used the off season to put on muscle and speed.

Representatives from the Blues attended the dinner to show their support.  The Blues have decided to provide scholarships to cover the dues of two Tigers each year.  Seven Tigers applied for the scholarship by submitting an essay on why they would appreciate the scholarship.  The Blues executive committee met and they chose Hector Marquez and John Elmore as the first scholarship recipients.  We are proud of these young lads and their accomplishment.


GunnerCoach Cole announced the schedule for the fall and stated that this is the time for the Tigers to challenge the local SEC schools.  We will be playing Ole Miss, Miss State, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Alabama.  The Tigers have had good recent success against Ole Miss, Vandy and Miss State and look forward to beating Alabama who beat us in a squeaker at their house refereed by their coach.  (Yes, that stunk.)  Also this is our first shot at Tennessee, the premiere team in the SEC, in recent memory.  We will face them in Nashville at Vandy’s Oak Leaf Tournament.

Saturday is rugby day, and the Old Boy match was a blast.  Due to the extreme heat, the match was divided up into 4 quarters, but that didn’t help much.  The Old Boys went down hard and fast.  The Tigers supplemented the Old Boys with the best from the Tiger bench and things got a little tougher.

Lee Downing was in good form.  Gunner was his frisky self and K-Ro continued to surprise everyone with his quick moves and ball handling.  The Tigers beat themselves early in the match, with dropped passes and lost rucks.  However, in the second half, they settled down and began to play a respectful game of rugby.

Old BoyAfter the match, the Tigers and Old Boys gathered at the pitch for some great food cooked by Marc Holley.  Besides running the grill, he brought his personal recipe jambalaya.  Delicious.  That, a burger, and a beer topped of a great day.

While we rested and dined, the Blues challenged the St. Louis Bombers.  The Bombers, are a formidable lot, but the Blues were tough, never relenting and made them earn every point.

We’re already planning the next Old Boys match.  Maybe at night under the lights at Memorial Field?  (Gotta find a way to beat the heat.)  There’s talk of a golf outing.  Whether you play golf or rugby, you will not want to miss this next outing.  Keep your eyes on the Old Boy email list.

Rob  Halcomb called an excellent match, ensuring that all had fun and that no one got hurt.  Thanks to Rob for his efforts.

Here are some early pics for the weekend. (Thanks Tom Sweeney.)