Tag Archives: Match Report

Tigers Outlast Bulldogs 22-21

The Memphis Tigers traveled to Starkville last Saturday to take on the Bulldogs of Mississippi State University.    The day was beautiful with a clear sky, 79 degrees and only a brisk wind to make the day challenging.  The Tigers were prepared to take on an SEC powerhouse and the lads felt up to the challenge.  The Tigers opted to go into the wind the first half, hoping that the wind would be kind in the second half.

However, the Tigers blinked… and the Bulldogs struck first.  Only 4 minutes into the match, the MSU center broke two tackles and dove over the try line to take 5 points.  The kicker notched two and the Tigers were down 0-7. This slap in the face woke up the Tigers.  The Tigers gathered themselves, tightened up the defense, and went back to work.

The play was fierce, but the Tigers seemed to be making the best of the loose play with the ability to put together several phases of play in a row with no answer by the bullies.  On defense, we were stealing their ball at the breakdown, mostly taking it out of their hands.  Several players (Josiah, Joshua, Aimeer and Ryan) were seen leaving a red maul with ball in hand.  The only problem that the Tigers had was the scrum, where they outweighed us by 40 lbs in the front row.  However, after 20 minutes of adjustments, the scrums settled and the tigers were back to a draw in these set pieces.

The Tigers dominated the lineouts.  The bulldogs had no answer for Kian and his lifters, who looked more comfortable as the day proceeded.  Whether it was a short lineout, quick off the top, or a pick and drive, the Tigers had complete control of this aspect of the game.

The Tigers spent quite a bit of time knocking on the door and gold came with 13 minutes left in the half, when Simren Dhaliwal connected with a sweet backline play started by fill-in flyhalf, Justin Walden.  Walden had worked with Tarek and Jay to bash up the middle, and it was getting soft.  When Walden sensed that the middle was oversupported by the fullback and wingers, he took the ball wide, involving Anthony and Scott in the play.  Finally the ball was popped to Simren at wing who kicked in the after burners, taking the ball to the southwest corner.  The kick was impossible in the wind.  Tigers still down, but feeling better… 5-7.

The Tigers keep up the pressure and it was obvious that they were much more fit than their counterparts.  The State pack was walking, and their backline coverage was in disarray.  With six minutes left in the half, Joshua found his chance.  With some nimble footwork, he picked his way through several tacklers and pounded the ball in the try zone.  Tigers feel better going into the half up 10-7.

Starting the second half, the Tigers are feeling better about their play and believe the wind and their fitness will help open up the game.  However, 8 minutes into the second half, it is State that finds the tryline and the Tigers are down again 10-14.

The fitness that the Tigers bring to the match is marginalized by multiple stoppages of play by the referee who is taking time to explain and teach on each breakdown.  The Tigers press where they can (lineouts and penalty kicks) but the scrums take up to 2-3 minutes to set providing the Bullies the break that they need.

Finally, on a great run midway through the second half, Simren somehow finds the handle of the ball that bounced off his chest after the inside pass from Scott, and finds his way to the try line.  The kick is still not good (dang wind) but the Tigers are again up 15-14.

Oops… not so fast.  It is State that applies pressure, and on a long breakaway run that collects a penalty close to the Tigers line.  With a quick tap and a fast ruck, the MSU boys break over and notch another try under the posts.  The kick is good… and the Tigers are again behind.  15-21

(This is the point where Coach Cole is about to lose his mind, and starts pulling his hair out by the roots.)

The Tigers are not to be outdone.  They know time is short and press like mad. They have the formula, punch the middle and swing to the outside where we have the speed. Following a quick ruck at midfield, Walden swings the ball to Nolan Wilson on the wing.  He tears down the sideline but there are players blocking his path.   He kicks ahead perfectly at the 30 and Scott tears forward to find the ball.  It bounces hard and high, Scott leaps into the air, grabs the ball and slams it to the ground.  The ball goes flying as bodies crumble in the try zone.  The referee did not see the ball touched down.  The try is not awarded.  The coach is heartbroken.

Intensity continues to ratchet up.  Every tackle, ruck, maul and set piece is powerful and fierce.  The Tigers are not holding anything back and they pound away at the MSU defense.  Several try their hand at crashing through including Walden who is stopped with an illegal hit at the three.  When Tigers take one against the head at the 10 meter line, Kian attacks with a full contingent of forwards.  Bashing forward the maul falls into the try zone, but the referee cannot see who, or if the ball was downed.  Still no try awarded.  Tigers are now attacking on the 5 meter line with time running out.  Unfortunately, State gets a break and clears the ball out.

The Tigers use their lineout play to set a maul that drives forward 10 meters before it is stopped.  Quick ball to the backs and they are on attack.  Second phase, third phase, fourth phase and finally…. Aimeer McCrary has the ball with 20 meters to run, three people to beat and a full head of steam.  He breaks two tackles and looks dead in the eyes of a winger, who really doesn’t want any piece of Aimeer.  Aimeer dives over to take 5 points under the left post. 19-21.   Joshua is called on to kick the conversion for the go-ahead.  Coach Cole cannot breathe.  The kick is good and the Tigers are up again, 22-21.

There is only one minute left on the clock when the Bullies run to mid stripe and kick off deep.  The Tigers set the best maul of the day from a kickoff and drive forward.  As the maul falls forward and breaks apart, the referee calls “not releasing” What???  A penalty with almost no time on the clock…. 30 meters from the goal line.  A kicker who has not missed all day, steps up to take the kick.  He is kicking almost directly into the wind and as he tees up the ball, the wind slacks off.  (Can this be?)  However, the wind picks up again and is blowing even harder, blowing the ball from the tee.  He resets the ball and readies for the kick.  (I cannot look.)

The ball is struck well and flies true.  It is heading inside the right post, but then a wind gust slows the ball… and it drifts.  Is the kick good?  The MSU fans leap to their feet in celebration.  However, the touch judges have one flag up and one flag down.  There is no whistle from the referee.  The kick is wide right.

The crowd is confused.  Phil gathers the ball and asks the referee if the game is over if the ball is kicked to touch.  The referee does not answer.  Phil drop kicks to touch, and the referee ends the match.  The coach has fainted.  Kian had chosen to take the wind in the second half.  Great call.

I don’t like to win this way.  I’d rather the nice safe 30-40 point lead, but a win is a win… and a win over MSU, with their rugby traditions and 8 seniors, is a really good win for the Tigers.   The Tigers go 8-2 in collegiate play.  (Someone call Goeff Calkins. This is news.)



Points scored:  Simren Dhaliwal 10, Joshua Campbell 7, Aimeer McCrary 5

Man of the Match – Simren Dhaliwal, Best Back – Justin Walden, Best Forward – Aimeer McCrary

Referee: Shane Harris

Side:  1. Will Fitts 2. Josiah Shipley 3. Aimeer McCrary 4. Ryan Phillips 5. Jonathan Bauer 6. Adam Hairston 7. Josh Campbell 8. Kian Koleini 9. Phil Elliott 10. Justin Walden 11. Willie Lacey 12. Tarek Ghwaji 13. Anthony Smith 14. Chris Tapp 15. Scott Smith 16. Thomas DiFillippo 17. Lee Downing 18. Nolan 19. Simren Dhaliwal 20. Jay Mac Donnchadh

Tigers Roll over Harding!

The Tigers fresh from their lesson in rugby in North Carolina at the hands of East Carolina rolled past Harding 54-17 in a hard fought match on a beautiful day.

However, before the kickoff, there were things to sort out.  (Yes… this is rugby.)  When we got to the pitch, there was an Indian festival going on (not American Indians, but India Indians. They were engaged in a celebration where they painted each other, then used the water hose to make mud in the middle of our pitch where they could frolic.  (Freaked me out when I saw the muddy field.) Couple that with a late arriving team and you can see why I was worried that this game might not go off.

The Tigers were in their new jerseys for the first time and were committed to properly introduce them to Tiger Rugby.  Tigers love to win and they win the right way.  Captain Kian Koleini handed out the jerseys in the locker room before the game and charged the team with the responsibility of starting these jerseys off properly.  “We must win this game”, said Kian.  “We cannot disgrace these new jerseys.”  He cast a vision for the boys… and they rose to the occasion.

Finally we kicked off at 3:30 and got things rolling.  The Tigers took their time in the first half figuring out what we could use for attack for the day.  Several inside crashes were used to soften the opposition backs with good result.  Unfortunately, Harding scored first, six minutes into the game, on a nice move with the 8 supported between the fly half and inside center.  He crashed over two tackles after getting quick ball from a ruck and the score was quickly 0-7 Harding.

Josh Campbell who seems to have a nose for the ball, scored next by taking the ball from the base of the ruck at the 10 meter line, and crashing over for the try.  The conversion was missed and we are now behind two points.  5-7

The play was tough and effective kicking moved us into scoring position.  At the 22nd minute, Scott filled in on a play that we have been working on in practice and caught the defense flat, he broke one tackle and was gone.  The fullback did not have a chance.  Scott, with a few effective swerves, was in for the try.  The kick is still no good.  (What’s up?)  Tigers up 10-7

Four minutes later Phil Elliott gets an opening and takes three points on a drop goal.  Tigers edge away at 13-7.

Josh Campbell on a hustle play on a hot day charges down a Harding kick, gathering the ball on one hop at the 20 meter line.  The Harding defense had no time to respond.  Josh gets 5 more for the day.  Phil adds two and the tigers are up 20-7.

The Harding defense stiffens and holds the Tigers scoreless for several minutes, but with one minute in the half, the forwards and backs work together at the end of a ruck to move the ball forward following tackles.  Chris Cobb gets the last pass with 50 meters of open field in front of him.  He tears down the south touch line and as the defense closes, he pours on what he has left and makes it to the tryline in the southeast corner.  Phil finally relaxed and dialed in, connects with the toughest conversion of the match.  Halftime score 27-7.

Harding can feel things slipping away and know they need to step up.  They respond by crashing over the tryline 13 minutes into the second half.  Tigers still on top 27-14.

It is obvious that Harding is frustrated, so the halftime talk is focused on a few adjustments in tactics, but more importantly, we need to keep our cool as they lose theirs.  That advice was heeded by the players and they tightened up for what was best for Memphis.  They were tighter and lower than they were in the first half, with better tackles and improved intensity.  The Tigers now are supporting each other much better in loose play and on a long run with several Tigers sharing the ball, Aimeer McCrary finally has the honors of slotting the points.  Jonathan Brewi drops for two on the conversion and the Tigers lead again 34-14.

Somewhere in there, Harding picked up three points on a penalty.  34-17

From that point, the Tigers turned up the heat, put a smile on their faces and had a blast!!! There were several quick trys in the last 15 minutes of the game reminiscent of the match we had with Harding at their house last fall.  Lee Downing started the scoring with some nice running combining power and agility.  Lee crashed over the line and Phil converts and the score rises to 41-17.

Jay Mac Donnchadh is the next to score.  It began with quick ball from the forwards, a swing pass from Phil, to Jay (outside) who dishes to Anthony (wing) who cruises the touch line and slides the ball back into Jay’s hands.  Jay finishes off, Phil converts and the score is 48-17.

In the waning minutes of the game, the outside is exploited again and the ball was moved from the scrum to Phil who clears to Jay, who hooks up with Anthony.  Anthony swerves to freeze the defender and pops the ball to Jay at full speed.  Jay is gone and another try is taken.  Phil slots two more for a final score of 54-17.

They boys played with style, finesse, grace and power.  Tiger rugby continues to live up to the tradition of excellence.  They retired to Ubee’s where they treated their coach to a birthday party.  The win was the best birthday present that they could have provided that day.

Game Summary:

Referee: John Sullivan

Man of the Match:  Anthony Smith (wing)

Best Forward: Chris Cobb

Scoring:  Phil Elliott 13, Josh Campbell 10, Jay Mac Donnchadh 10, Scott Smith 5, Chris Cobb 5, Aimeer McCrary 5, Lee Downing 5, Jonathan Brewi 2

Smokey Mountain Conference Tournament

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


Tigers Best Blues “B”

Millington TN.  Saturday 17, 2012

Following a thorough thrashing of Huntsville, the Blues “A” team yielded the field to allow the Tigers a much needed scrimmage against the Blues “B” team.  The University of Memphis Tigers, hungry for competition following the cancellation of two matches, and fresh back from spring break, had a great run in the sun.

Joshua Campbell started things off with a quick score in the NW corner at the three minute mark following a powerful maul. The forwards had practiced for weeks quickly moving the ball to the back of the maul and this strategy was solid and productive.  The Blues kick off short to begin play and the Tigers attack with Josiah Shipley getting loose and breaking three tackles for a score at 7 minutes.  The conversions are wide due to the tough angle and the wind. Score 10-0

After the restart the Tigers worked their way to the goal line where the Blues were caught offsides.  At the penalty, with excellent execution, Aimeer McCrary dished off to Dylan Carter who dove over for another 5.  At 15 minutes the score is 15-0

Phil Elliott had difficulty with kicks so he decided to run one in and at the 25th minute he darted through the defense with some nice footwork and dashed to the line.  At 38 minutes in the first half, Aimeer decided to power over and took 5 points for himself.  Phil had difficulty kicking set kicks and decided to send up a drop goal as the referee called full time.  Halftime…. Tigers 28-0.

The second half called for more of the same but the play seemed to become sloppy for some reason.  There was disorganized play and a missed tackles by both sides.  It appeared that concentration was becoming difficult.  Jonathan Brewi decided to straighten things out and dipped and darted through the defense to slot points for himself.  33-0

The blues becoming more organized mounted an offense and finally put 5 points on the board in the southwest corner.  Willie wanted in the game and on a nice breakaway he timed the attack just right and took his 5 points.  The blues scored twice more.  Once on a defensive mistake and once on a pushover try.  38-17

There were lots of fun runs to watch.  (Aimeer screaming down the south touch line to name one.)  But, none was more enjoyable than seeing Kian Koleini, captain of the match, catching the ball from a kick at his 40, running to the Blues 5 with legs and arms pumping, no one could figure out how to tackle him.  All the tacklers could see were elbows and knees.  He was dragged to the ground 12 inches from the try line. Dang!  But… it was great to watch.

Justin Hale took a turn at fly half and in his own half decided it was time to boot one high.  The kick cleared 35 meters and Justin covered the kick with Scott Smith on his left shoulder.  Justin caught the ball on the bounce, froze the fullback and dished off over his left shoulder to Scott at full speed.  Scotty, with a full head of steam is impossible to catch.  He dotted the tryline between the posts.  Justin Walden was called for the conversion and took two points for himself.

So many players had hit the try line in this match that everyone wanted in on the deal.  Hale once more used the foot to advance the ball and once in the clearing gathered the ball and hoofed it around the corner.  Walden took two more on the conversion and the referee had seen enough.  Final score 52-17.

The team retired to Newbies where Kian Koleini was selected Man of the Match by the opposition.  Kian and Phil as captains selected Jonathan Brewi as best back and Aimeer McCrary and most valuable forward.

Players 1. Dylan Carter 2. Josiah Shipley 3. Aimeer McCrary 4. Jonathan Bauer 5. Will Fitts 6. Josh Campbell 7.  Chris Cobb 8. Kian Koleini (Captain) 9. Justin Hale 10. Jonathan Brewi 11. Anthony Smith 12. Tarek Ghwaji 13. Justin Walden 14. Willie Lacey 15. Scott Smith 16. Thomas DiFillippo 17. Lee Downing 18. Adam Hairston 19. Ryan Phillips 20. Phil Elliott (Co-Captain) 21. Jay MacDonnchadh 22. Jamie Perry

Referee:  Brad Cole

Tigers Topple Hilltoppers of WKU 42-15

In the coldest day of the year, the Tigers ventured through snow and ice to get to Bowling Green to take on the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers. The sun was up, but the 28 degree cold felt like 5 degrees in the 20 MPH wind blowing hard from the west and straight down the pitch.  The players were miserable and the coach was frozen solid on the sidelines.  Worse, the Hilltoppers were short two players due to recent injuries.  They are rebuilding their club after a few seasons of disarray and asked for a couple of players.

The coach decided that we would loan the Hilltoppers our best players, keeping our developing and future players together to continue to learn how to play with each other.  The decision to have the leadership play for the opposition was a lesson for the newer players about the camaraderie of rugby and the spirit of the game.  Joshua Campbell from New Zealand and captain of the team was donated along with senior Lee Downing, who has 8 years of playing experience at multiple positions on the pitch.

It was a pleasure having Ryan Phillips in the forwards on this trip.  Ryan, completing an internship in Nashville at the State Capitol, has been sorely missed.  We hope he’ll make a few more games this year.

At kickoff, the play was very very poor with handling errors and poor participation at rucks.  Despite 45 minute warm-up session, the players were clearly not prepared.  Tigers were running down hill with the wind at their backs in hopes that we could take care of the scoring early.  Despite these advantages, the scoring was difficult.  WKU was not bothered by the weather and clearly were itching for a fight.  Though they were not thoroughly trained in rugby skills, they were good athletes and disrupted play after play, stole our ball, counter rucked and hassled our back line.  The Tiger pack was clearly dominant in scums though the day, but lineouts were challenging in the wind.  The blow was so fierce that you had to throw the ball toward the scrum half to get the ball to the jumpers.

After 15 minutes of play, the Tigers finally found a way to handle the ball… and with a skip and loop, winger Anthony Scott sprinted around the corner and found the try line at the northeast flag.  The kick was wide… Tigers up 5-0.

However, in only a few minutes, Joshua Campbell showed his rugby skills and carried his WKU jersey to the try line despite the valiant efforts of several Tiger tacklers.  Score tied 5-5.

Jonathan Brewi quick tapped a penalty at the 25 and caught the WKU players not back ten.  The referee signaled a penalty 15 meters from the posts and almost in the center of the pitch.  Coach Cole called for Kian’s law to be respected and Phil chipped in for 3 points. Though Phil only chipped the ball it blew 40 meters (I kid you not!)  Tigers on top 8-5.

Tigers rotated donated players and provided Chris Cobb and Willie Lacey to WKU for the last of the first half.  The Tigers paid for this decision with Chris scoring his first points of the year on an amazing and powerful run up hill and into the fierce wind.  Tigers fall behind 8-10.

Scott Smith missed the match due to dehydration and Jonathan Brewi stepped up to play fullback, a task he took to heart.  He was moved to scrum half for the last part of the first half during the player rotation.  Just before the half, Brewi slipped a few tackles… made a few hard steps and found his way to the try line in the corner.  Tigers up again 13-10.

During the first half of play the Tigers finally warmed up, learned how to play in the wind and gained confidence in their abilities and each other.  They huddled together to stay warm during the break and heard from the coach and Joshua, “Tidy up the rucks and control the ball.  If we keep the ball, they cannot score.”

Second half we had to learn to run up hill and into the wind.  Early in the second half Justin Walden, captain, took a hard hit just above his knee which gave him a permanent limp for the remainder of the game.  Coach considered putting ice on it, but there was a stiff freezing wind that did the job.  Justin chose to stay and work it out.

As the Tigers were marching up the field, Anthony Scott, loaned to WKU and wearing red, fielded a kick and sprinted 60 meters down the southern sideline Brewi, back at fullback dragged him down at the 5 meter line. Following a scrum, WKU found the try line, to give them 15 points, but those were their last points for the day.

Kentucky used the wind to their advantage gaining 40 to 50 meters on penalty kicks and gaining back the Tigers hard fought ground.  However, the Tigers consistently won rucks and ran the ball up the hill time after time, keeping the pressure on WKU.

With 25 minutes left to play in the match, the Tigers fitness began to show.  Brewi quick tapped a penalty and dished to Joshua who scored under the posts.  Phil converted  to bring the score to 20-15.  The backs were clearly enjoying a chance to handle the ball despite the wind and Willie got free to run 60 meters and score.  The kick was blown off line and the score became 25-15.

Phil was the next to score with a 40 meter run handled by multiple players including Josh and Brewi, with some nice inside steps and each taking the ball at pace.  30-15

Justin Hale stood fillback for half the match to give Tarek some time and did an admirable job handling kicks and managing the defense.  Standing on the goal line with time running out, he and Walden switched positions.  The forwards produced the ball from a ruck and Brewi went weak, stepped hard inside and skipped the ball out to Hale who broke three tackles and took the ball 80 meters up hill to place it beneath the posts.  Phil chipped in two and the referee, with whistle frozen in his mouth, had had enough.  Final score 42-15.

There was a lot to be excited about this match.  The Tigers improve with every match.  Each brings its own challenges and the players continue to improve.   There are so many good players on this team it makes selections increasingly more difficult.  There were non-starters who were excellent in their play, including Adam Hairston, Simren and Chris Tapp.  Thomas got his first start at hooker and played admirably.

The backs were successful in running the ball and enjoyed it immensely.  The forwards figured out some issues around the rucks and ball control improved through the match.  Good ball was produced for the backs and they proved that they were up to the challenge.

WKU hosted a nice party and commented that, though they lost, they really enjoyed the match.  The play was tough, but fair and the Tigers embodied the spirit of the game on and off the pitch.  The coach was very proud of his boys.

We will take these lessons forward as we prepare for a much tougher match against SIU in two weeks.

Man of the Match with 10 points for the Tigers and 5 for the Hilltoppers was – Joshua Campbell

Special thanks to Justin Walden for a good job as Captain and Phil Elliott as co-capptain.  Also, thanks to those who donated time to WKU, including Joshua, Lee Downing, Chris Cobb, Willie Lacey, Anthony Smith, Ryan Phillips and Simren.

Tigers Bested by Blues


Well… we lost the match. Don’t know the score.  It was a bunch to none.

Overall, we learned a lot.  That is the best way to say it.  Though the Tigers were out matched in technique, experience and mass, the Tigers learned during the match and we were able to tighten our play and stop the bleeding.  By midway in the second half, the blues were either sufficiently pleased with the score, or we had figured out how to slow them down.  Either way, the scoring slowed precipitously during the match.

We started matching their push in the scrums at the mid point of the first half… and even took one against the head.  We carried our own in the lineouts with the excellent play of Kian and his lifters.   Though we got good short lineout ball, the Blues craftily took away the opportunity by stacking their non-lineout forwards with the backline, shutting down our wide option.

We didn’t kick particularly well in this match, and spent lots of time in our own half.  We tried to run it out several times, but were stopped on our attempts with either an aggressive tackle, or an error on our part.

I was very impressed with much of the individual play.  Our guys hit them low and hard (they needed to, since they were so big).

Much as I hate to lose, we needed to play a team that was better than us to learn and grow.  That we did.

After the Blues took us to school, they took us to Celtic, where they were gracious hosts, as usual.

Thanks to the Blues for the lesson.  We promise to put it to good use.


Memorial Field  U of M Campus – Kickoff 5:00 PM  (yes, a night game)

Referee:  John Sullivan

Selection:  1. Carter 2. Shipley 3. McCrary 4. Bauer 5. Harris 6. Campbell (Captain)  7. Cobb 8. Koleini 9. Doyle 10. Elliott (co-captain) 11. Lacey  12. Ghwaji 13. Walden 14. Hale 15. S. Smith

Alternates: Fitts, Hickman, Hairston, Downing, Brewi, A. Smith, Tapp, Booker, MacDonnchadh,


Tigers Beat Ole Miss

Memphis Tigers vs Ole Miss (away)

Ole Miss campus at Oxford, MS.   1:00pm kickoff

Referee:  Brad Cole

Selections:  1. Carter 2. Shipley 3. McCrary 4. Bauer   5. Hickman  6. Hairston 7. Cobb 8. Koleini 9. Hale  10.  Campbell (Captain) 11. Lacey 12. Terek Ghawji 13. Walden (Co-Captain) 14. Simren 15.  S. Smith

Alternates: Downing, Harris, Fitts, Doyle, A. Smith

Match Report:

The Tigers take the pitch at the opening whistle facing a motivated Ole Miss team  ready for revenge of their recent loss in Memphis.  However, the day is not kind with the temperature dropping to 39 degrees, the sun gone, the pitch wet and a 15 mph swirling wind that will effect the kicks throughout the day.

Tiger Power

The Tigers get behind early.  When Ole Miss kicks high and covers, Scott Smith does a great job of fielding the ball and is immediately dropped.  Since no support is there, he thankfully holds the ball to accept the penalty under the posts.  Very quick thinking on his part.  Ole Miss goes up 0-3

Josh standing fly half, uses the boot and swirling wind to his advantage and Old Miss helps by mishandling and knocks.  The Tigers use the foot to stay in Ole Miss territory. With the pressure on,  Ole Miss gets caught with hands in the ruck at the 15 in front of their posts.  Josh calls on Rookie Terik (KK) to drop it in.  The wind pushes KK’s kick off of the left post, but thankfully it shanks in for the Tigers to tie 3-3.

Tigers get another break when Ole Miss is caught offside on their 20 meter line.  Josh kicks in to take the Tigers up for the first time in the match 6-3.

I get sky with a little help from my friends!

Both teams make good use of the kick in the difficult field situations.  With a long Ole Miss kick moving to the goal line, Josh helps the ball in goal for and expected 22 meter drop.  However, the referee sees Josh carry the ball into goal and awards Ole Miss a 5 meter Scrum.  (After the party, the referee reviewed the call and stated that Josh was correct in his actions. Since his foot was in goal, he can help a ball moving toward in-goal without penalty.)

The Ole Miss attacks from the scrum and after 5 phases of fierce goal line hitting by both teams, the Ole Miss left winger slips in to make the score 6-8.  Thankfully, the swirling wind takes the conversion wide.

With 10 minutes left in the half, the Tigers fight inside the Ole Miss 22 and are awarded a penalty for the Rebels diving over the ball.  Captain Campbell surveys the strange angle of the 20 meter kick, looks at the wind and ignores the screams of his coach to kick for points.  He chooses to take the Ole Miss forwards head on.  He pops a kick to himself, hands the ball to the forwards and “game on”. For 4 minutes and 10 phases of play, the forwards, with help from Doyle and Josh, pound at the goal line gaining and losing ground.  Finally, Josiah, finds a crack in the defense and plows under the posts to score for the tigers.  Josh chips in the conversion and the tigers feel more comfortable at 13-8.

North and south!

Feeling good going into the locker room at the half, the tigers are up-beat and optimistic.  The first half battle was not without loss, however.  The last play left Josiah with a deep thigh bruise that would finally pull him from the match.

The boys know that the first 10 minutes of the second half is critical and the kickoff finds both teams in a tough brawl played between the 22s.   Kicking keeps the Tigers out of trouble.  Great lineout and scrum play give our backs clean ball to use.  However, the Ole Miss backs will not bend and the fight goes on.

With 20 minutes left in the match, Ole Miss finally caught a break when fielding a kick that failed to find touch.  They slipped few tackles and their backline went on attack with a 60 meters scamper touched by 10 players to score under the posts.  Ole Miss goes up 13-15.

With 10 minutes left in the match, DC breaks three tackles from a ruck at the Ole Miss 40 and makes for the goal line.  He is hit at the 20 and forms a maul with his support.  The Tigers smell blood and all forwards are in on the play as they drive the maul to the posts.  As the maul goes into goal, the ball pops loose and Lee (now playing hooker) fights to dive on the ball. With a conversion from Josh the Tigers are on top again 20-15.

The last 10 minutes of the match was fierce.  Ole Miss was very motivated and the scoreboard was screaming that the time was running out and the “visitors” were on top.  However, the tigers were able to hold them off for the win.

Man of the match for his excellent play in lineouts, scrums and open field play was Kian Koleini.

Man of the Match vs Ole Miss!

Lee Downing was awarded a medal for his contribution to the game with excellent play and ability to contribute at several positions including Wing Forward and Hooker.

Lee Downing Outstanding Player against Ole Miss

Scoring: Joshua Campbell 7 points,   Josiah Shipley 5 points, Lee Downing 5 points and Terek Ghawji 3 points

Coaches Comments:  The boys played hard and earned this win.  They played with incredible intensity and took their job seriously.  Besides their hard hitting, I remain very encouraged by the attitude they bring to the game.  They encourage each other during the game.

Tigers beat Ole Miss!

This attitude is in sharp contract to the internal conflict that we have observed while playing other teams.  They listen to their captain, and work together as a team…. not focusing on referee calls but concentrating on their personal responsibility for the next play.  It is a pleasure watching these players maturing as a formidable team.   Coach Cole