March 1, Memphis TN: The Tigers took on MTSU at Halle Stadium on the warmest day of the year. Over 90 Tiger fans were drawn out on this beautiful day to watch the Tigers play. Though the fans were not happy with the final score, they were not disappointed with the play. The Tigers put on a show that had the crowd to their feet several times during the match.
The Tigers dominated the first 20 minutes of the match and spent most of the tiem time under the MTSU goal posts. Josiah Shipley took the first points at the 13 minute mark to get the Tigers on the board first, scoring in the northeast corner.
MTSU scored two tries in the 21st and 30th minute and were able to convert. Josiah took another try from a quick ruck at the 35th minute. John Elmore converted and the Tigers were only two points behind at the half.
In the sixteenth minute of the second half, scrum half Tezman Mosley chipped ahead to a speedy Thomas Strickland who kicked one more time and outraced the MTSU fullback to the try line. John converts. The Tigers take the lead 19-14.
Unfortunately, the Tigers made two mistakes late in the match to allow MTSU two quick tries. MTSU center and select side player Jamie Phillips, intercepted a wide pass and raced untouched to the try line. Then the Tigers failed to properly cover the kickoff and allowed a successful MTSU counter through the defenses. The Tigers did not have time to turn the match around. MTSU won the match 33-19.
The Tigers played the most physical and most error free match they have played to date, but victory eluded us again.
After the match, we were blessed to meet Terry Nicholson, founder of the Wanderers, the first team to play in Memphis. Terry taught coaches Steve Swatzyna and Tony Lubiani how to play the game when they were just in high school.
Terry encouraged the Tigers, explaining that today’s match was some of the best rugby that he has ever seen in Memphis. It was clear that Terry was very proud to see how far rugby had progressed from the humble beginnings over 40 years ago. Joining with 40 other committed individuals, Terry joined the Tiger Rugby 100 Club to provide financial support for the Tigers.
The Memphis Tigers are blessed to have so many friends stand with them in support of their efforts.
Josiah Shipley was chosen Man of the Match for his tries and tough play. Chris Lemons was honored as best forward for his tackling and ball acquisition at the lineouts. He took all of his and most of theirs.
Side: 1. Justice Houston, 2. Josiah Shipley, 3. Matt Hill, 4. Jonathan Bauer, 5. Chris Lemons, 6. Sam Kordab, 7. August Myers 8. Adam Hairston (captain) 9. Thomas Strickland 10. John Elmore 11. Tezman Mosley 12. T.J. Hardaway, 13. Donavon Thomas, 14. Anthony Smith, 15. Scott Smith 16. Cameron Walton, 17. Willie Lacey, 18. Bert Milam, 19. Kyle Baker, 20. Hector Marquez
Man of the Match: Josiah Shipley
Best Forward: Chris Lemons
Pitch: Halle Stadium
Referee: Brad Cole
Assistant Referees: Jonathan Brewi, Haley Sells
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