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1999-2000 Match Results

USA National Championship - Rockford, IL - June 3-4, 2000

jug·ger·naut (jgr-nôt)   n.   An overwhelming, advancing force that crushes or seems to crush everything in its path.

USA Rugby National Championship Final
Fort Worth - 22   Grand Rapids - 17
Sunday, June 4, 2000

Introduction:

It has been difficult to get a handle on what happened in the 1999-2000 season. From the early disheartening losses to a few late disheartening wins, it was a season that could have easily ended anonymously.  These less-than-impressive rugby displays were turned into impressive victories in the TRU and Western finals against Woodlands, and finally to dominant displays of rugby against the Yankees, Vegas, and Tacoma.   With each stage of the season, the club commitment and hard work entered a new level.

However, this doesn't seem to explain the chemistry that developed amongst the club members.  Why now, when in years past a national championship seemed only a matter of time, was Fort Worth RFC in a position to claim the cup?

Preview:

The Grand Rapids Rugby Football Club spent the 1999-2000 season virtually unchallenged, amassing an impressive 21-0 record.  The previous 1999 season was equally impressive, culminating in an appearance in the 1999 National Championship Final and a narrow loss to the Orange County Islanders.

Fort Worth spent the 1999-2000 season challenged on all sides. Although their cup match schedule netted some lopsided scores, the state of Texas rugby seemed to be changing after Fort Worth suffered losses to San Antonio and Woodlands to end the 1999 season early.  Despite all of this, Fort Worth emerged as Texas and Western Champions again, amassing a 15-0 cup match record on the way to the National Final.

Both clubs made strong statements in the National Championship Tournament, with no club getting closer than 14 points to Grand Rapids, and no club coming within 22 of Fort Worth. 

In the National Semifinals, Grand Rapids scored a try and five penalties against Riverside to secure their second consecutive finals berth. Fort Worth earned their finals berth by running over Tacoma 30-8 on the slowest pitch ever created.

In the second division of USA Rugby, there were exactly two clubs worthy to play for the 2000 National Championship, Grand Rapids and Fort Worth.

What seemed obvious to Grand Rapids following the 1999 season, and what seemed impossible to Fort Worth following the 1999 season, came true in Rockford, Illinois on June 4 as the clubs met to determine the 2000 USA Rugby National Champion.

First half:

Throughout this intense match, it seemed both clubs were constantly threatening, with most of the match being played inside the goals and 22 meter lines.   The handling in the wet conditions was far from perfect, but the intensity of every ruck, maul, and scrum was well beyond anything yet seen in the USA's second division.

Fort Worth kicked off and charged through the Grand Rapids forwards, with Ivan Moorhead collecting the kick-off and setting a quick ruck. This led to a nice kick from scrum-half Theo Van Wyk, who sent the ball into touch 10 meters from the Grand Rapids line. A series of line-outs from Grand Rapids only managed to get the ball in touch 15 meters from their line.  The ensuing Fort Worth line-out was driven to about 5 meters, when Grand Rapids infringed on the maul. The referee signaled advantage, and Ivan Moorhead pulled the ball and plowed through for the try and 5-0 lead. Emmet Holmes converted to push the score to 7-0 after 3 minutes.

Grand Rapids stormed back, taking the ball to the 22 meter line of Fort Worth before a nice tackle from Shay Flowers allowed Fort Worth to take possession and send the ball into touch near half-way.  The line-out resulted in Grand Rapids showing some excellent mauling skills, driving it about 30 meters.  A Fort Worth penalty finally stopped them, and the fly-half split the uprights to cut the score to 7-3 in favor of Fort Worth.

After the kickoff, Fort Worth earned a penalty when Henning Botha was denied a steal of possession by a tackled Grand Rapids player, and Fort Worth sent the ball into touch inside the 22.  Grand Rapids stole the next line-out and ended the Fort Worth threat by kicking into touch at half-way. Another line-out miscue gave the ball to the Grand Rapids forwards, who set a few quick rucks to take the ball to just outside the 22. Flanker Hal Summers showed some outstanding tackling on this series and throughout the match, in many cases keeping Fort Worth in the game as they weathered numerous onslaughts of extended possessions by Grand Rapids.

A Grand Rapids scrum then saw the ball spun wide to the fullback who showed his great pace, taking the ball to 10 meters from the line.  After spinning the ball back across the field, Fort Worth got a break when the Grand Rapids excellent lock, #4, ran the remaining distance, but knocked on in-goal.

The good luck ended on the next scrum, when Fort Worth had to touch the ball down in-goal, turning the ball over to a Grand Rapids scrum.  After an extended defensive stand by Fort Worth, Grand Rapids narrowly missed another opportunity, when a pop-kick from their fly-half rolled just beyond the back of the try zone before their winger could collect it for the try.

Winger Mike Harvey then made a nice defensive play after he chased   the 22 drop-kick to half-way and forced a knock-on from Grand Rapids.  After a Grand Rapids infringement and a kick into touch, Fort Worth found themselves again within 10 meters of a try.  Unfortunately the Fort Worth line-out wasn't thrown straight, yielding a scrum to Grand Rapids.  Hooker Skip Miles then proceeded to take the ball against the head, and Fort Worth once again challenged for a score.

At this point, Grand Rapids began to show their plans to stop the Fort Worth shove with a tight and organized wheel of the scrum.  The noted Fort Worth scrum would largely become futile for the rest of the match, and only in the final minutes would it reclaim its past glory.

In the next few minutes, Fort Worth managed two more extended possessions inside the Grand Rapids 22, but a knock-on and a turn-over on a stagnant maul gave the possession back to the opponent.

Grand Rapids took immediate advantage after the second of these, scoring quickly to take the score to 7-10 in their favor. The score began with a simple scissors from 10 to 12 at Fort Worth's 10 meter line. The center broke through and was finally brought down 5 meters from the line by James Swain.  A quick pass to his outside center put him over for the try at 27 minutes into the half.

After the kick-off a big hit from inside center Don Weatherby put the ball back in Fort Worth's hands. A penalty from Grand Rapids put Fort Worth inside the 22 again, where a long series of rucks from John Via and the forwards put the ball within 10 meters of the line.  The ball was spun wide, and Fort Worth was tackled into touch.  The Grand Rapids defense had held again.

The next 5 minutes was a stalemate as neither team could mount a consistent attack.  But in the final minute, the big Grand Rapids lock picked up a dropped ball and Grand Rapids mounted their final attack of the half.  After spinning the ball to both ends of the field with no luck, they got the ball into their fullback's hands. With space to run, he kicked forward into the corner, just 5 meters from the line.  The wing won the footrace to the ball, kicked forward just slightly, and dotted the try. Once again their kicker showed he could score from anywhere inside the half-way line, as he slotted the sideline conversion for the 7-17 Grand Rapids halftime lead.

Second half:

Entering the second half, and gaining a slight wind advantage, Fort Worth felt cautiously optimistic that they were still in the match. The Grand Rapids kick-off quickly dispelled the optimism, however.

The Grand Rapids #8 flew down the field, and tapped back to their #4 lock.   Quick hard runs from their center and flanker put the ball 10 meters from a try.   An unlucky knock-on stopped their scoring chance, and another knock-on downfield gave Fort Worth the ball at half-way with a scrum. The scrum ended with a penalty against Fort Worth for barging, and Grand Rapids decided to run. Three rucks later, Fort Worth knocked down the Grand Rapids fly-half after a kick, and Grand Rapids had a sideline penalty kick attempt from the 22 meter line.  Miraculously, the kick was wide with 8 minutes gone in the half.

A prolonged 10 minute stalemate between the 22's ensued, and was finally broken by a Fort Worth line-out at the Grand Rapids 10 meter line.  The line-out was taken cleanly by Trey Harlin, and the Fort Worth maul was driven down to the Grand Rapids 22.  An infringement by Grand Rapids allowed Fort Worth to kick down near the Grand Rapids line and set up another line-out maul.

After another infringement and an advantage signal to Fort Worth, the ball was spun wide where it soon ended up in Grand Rapids hands.  The ball was sent into touch 40 meters away as the Fort Worth advantage ended.  Captain Trey Harlin immediately brought the point up to the referee, who agreed that a 1-on-4 loss of possession on the goal line did not constitute an advantage gained. This was key to the match as the Canadian referee would play a more familiar advantage to the Americans for the rest of the match.

Grand Rapids committed a penalty on the next line-out, and Emmet Holmes kicked the 40 meter penalty to close the gap to 10-17 at 19 minutes into the half.

At 22 minutes, Grand Rapids got inside the Fort Worth 22 meter line for the first time since the opening moments of the half. A penalty for playing the ball on the deck ended their chance, and Fort Worth sent the kick deep.  Grand Rapids fielded the ball, but committed another penalty on their next ruck, yielding another Fort Worth chance deep in Grand Rapids territory.

Fort Worth began pounding the Grand Rapids line, with hard bangers from reserves Mike Szymanski and Ron Prowell. The Grand Rapids defensive discipline began to break down, as they committed three successive penalties while keeping Fort Worth from the try.  At 28 minutes, tragedy struck Fort Worth as vice captain, kicker, and fly-half Emmet Holmes left the match with a knee injury.

Just after the injury, Grand Rapids earned a scrum at their 22.  The pass to the fly-half was bobbled and scrum half Theo Van Wyk kicked the ball forward into the try zone while at full pace. Van Wyk was immediately cross-checked to the ground by the opposing inside center, denying the try to Theo.  As the referee was running alongside, he never broke stride while running to the posts to signal the penalty try.

At 29 minutes into the half, the match now stood at 15-17 as the unimaginable happened, and the conversion directly in front of the posts was missed. The loss of kicker Emmet Holmes would profoundly affect the decisions made in injury time.

With the loss of Emmet, the job of kicking for touch while deep within Fort Worth territory fell upon Dan Rosen, who stepped up to the challenge and delivered some beautiful, clutch kicks. 

Grand Rapids soon attempted another penalty from 30 meters, after the Fort Worth front row was penalized for the third time of the half.  The kick was slightly wide once again, and Fort Worth was still within 2 points.

Minutes later, Grand Rapids lost a key player when their #4 lock collided head-on with Don Weatherby. A penalty on the same ruck allowed Fort Worth to kick to a spot 30 meters from the winning score. The line-out maul was quickly taken to a series of hard rucks from the forwards, stopped once again by a Grand Rapids penalty.   However, a foul play penalty against Fort Worth reversed the penalty and Grand Rapids sent the ball to half-way just as time was expiring.

Now in injury time, Grand Rapids sent the ball to their inside center who failed to make the gain line.  Ron Prowell's tackle isolated the center as Warren Tucker and Bots Hulen quickly stepped over the tackled player.  After Fort Worth secured the ball and set another ruck, Grand Rapids was called for off-sides.  The ball was kicked inside 10 meters from the Grand Rapids line, where it would remain for the rest of injury time.

The referee was notifying both clubs at regular intervals about the time remaining, as there was still a significant amount of injury time in the match. The sideline fans were beside themselves with worry, however, expecting every stoppage of play to yield a Grand Rapids 2 point victory.

The line-out maul was driven to 5 meters from the line, and then sent directly to center Don Weatherby who was tackled just short of the line. Prop Keith Dalton took it another meter before a scrum was awarded to Fort Worth.  The 5 meter scrum was wheeled by Grand Rapids , and then collapsed  for a penalty awarded to Fort Worth.

The penalty was taken quickly, and Henning Botha was stopped just short of the line.  However, another hands-in penalty from the Grand Rapids flanker stopped the phases and Fort Worth called for a scrum.

Once again the scrum was collapsed and advantage awarded to Fort Worth.   Ron Prowell ran to within a meter of the winning try, but the ball was buried in the ruck with no advantage gained, and Fort Worth called for another scrum.

As the clubs prepared to scrum, the referee gave one final warning to the front rows, and indicated that the match was virtually at full time.  The front row of Mike Szymanski, Keith Dalton, and Bots Hulen refused to be wheeled or collapsed on this scrum, and steadily pushed Grand Rapids over the line. The earlier work from Mike Sexton and Skip Miles in the front row was the difference, as the Fort Worth juggernaut, laden with reserves, marched over for the victory.  As the ball approached the line, the Grand Rapids scrum collapsed to the side.  The flanker broke his bind from the scrum and together with the inside center dove on the ball while it was still at Fort Worth's feet and before it was in-goal. The referee immediately ran to the posts signaling the penalty try and Fort Worth led 20-17.  Henning Botha's kick was good, taking the lead to 22-17.

The final kick-off was immediately kicked into touch by Warren Tucker and the Fort Worth Rugby Football Club had earned the 2000 USA Rugby National Championship.

Roster:

1. Bots Hulen

1

Nick Betts
2. Skip Miles2

2

Mike Szymanski
3. Mike Sexton4 3 Ronnie Prowell
4. Trey Harlin (C) 4 Keith Dalton
5. John Via 5 Warren Tucker
6. Hal Summers3 6 Mike Hendon
7. Ivan Moorhead Darrin Barner
8. Henning Botha Keith Callaway
9. Theo Van Wyk Dan Morgan
10. Emmet Holmes5 Eric Pacheco
11. Mike Harvey Kevin Pierce
12. Don Weatherby Mike Rooney
13. Teshay Flowers Colin Trudo
14. James Swain1 Scott Taylor
15. Dan Rosen

Head
Coach:

Buddy Taylor

Asst.:

Mike Kwedar

Postscript:

The Rockford Ravens did an outstanding job hosting these National Championships.  After suffering for a week of flash flood warnings, and having their plans for the venue dashed due to the pitch conditions, the Ravens were able to create slow, but passable pitches for the semifinal matches.  The finals were held in the Wedgebury Soccer Complex's stadium, where the pitch was outstanding. Well done, Ravens!

USA Semifinal: Fort Worth (TX) - 30 vs. Tacoma (WA) - 8 - Saturday, June 3, 2000

Tacoma showed they had some dangerous players, with a shifty former-Eagle flyhalf and two solid centers, but they were no match for the speed and experience of the Fort Worth backs.  The packs were a mismatch as well, as Fort Worth won most 50/50 ball, and pushed them around in the scrums. On the day, Fort Worth was great in counter-attack, scoring their first and last tries this way after the forwards were able to steal Tacoma possessions.

Fort Worth scored first with a 30 meter penalty from Emmet Holmes at 5 minutes.  Other early opportunities for tries were stopped by handling errors, before a Mike Harvey try took the match to 10-0 at 15 minutes.  The Fort Worth pack stole the ball and Theo van Wyk quickly took the ball weak, skipping the center and passing a bullet to wing Mike Harvey who caught the ball at full stride. Mike easily turned the corner on his opposite wing, and a nifty move put the Tacoma fullback on his face while Mike cut inside him for a 50 meter try. Emmet Holmes converted for the 10-0 lead.

A penalty at 25 minutes got Tacoma on the board with a 10-3 score. Ten minutes from the half, the Fort Worth pack stole the ball again, and Emmet sent a 40 meter drop goal over the crossbar for the 13-3 lead.

Tacoma came back to make a game of it, with a fine play by their flyhalf.   An extended possession for Tacoma yielded little gain, mostly due to the outstanding tackling from flanker Hal Summers.  On the day Hal seemed everywhere, as likely to tackle a wing into touch as to drop a Tacoma forward behind the gain line.   Finally from 30 meters their flyhalf went weak as the Fort Worth fringe defense broke down. Two diving tacklers weren't able to bring him down, as he sprinted to the corner for the try.  The missed conversion left the match 13-8 at the half.

Five minutes after the break, Fort Worth was on the board again with a try from Ivan Moorhead.  A line-out from 30 meters was taken cleanly by Mike Hendon while under considerable pressure.  The maul that was formed was driven to within five meters of the try, where it was collapsed.  Ivan quickly pulled the ball and sprinted the rest of the way for the 18-3 lead.  Emmet converted again leaving the match 20-8.

Unfortunately, a few Tacoma players began to use late hits to counter the Fort Worth tactical kicking.  Emmet suffered one of these cheap hits early in the half, and Theo Van Wyk and Dan Rosen were the recipients of others.  At 20 minutes into the half, the Tacoma fullback delivered his second cheap shot of the day on Emmet, leaving his feet and leading with a forearm to Emmet's head once the kick was well away. The Fort Worth players were beside themselves with anger, and the fullback was immediately ejected by the referee.

Emmet recovered and kicked the penalty into touch 5 meters from the line.   The line-out was taken by Trey Harlin, and the pack drove it immediately over the line.  Prop Bots Hulen put the ball down, taking the Fort Worth lead to 25-8 after the missed conversion.

Despite being down a player, Tacoma was able to mount a few late attacks that came within a few meters of a try.  A spectacular covering defense lead by Hal Summers, Dan Rosen and the rest of the backs kept them from the try until the forward cavalry arrived. In two late series, the imminent try by Tacoma was held at bay just long enough for the forwards to arrive and quickly steal possession.

With 8 minutes remaining, Fort Worth countered from a stolen possession by Mike Sexton at midfield. A nice ruck was then set by Shay Flowers, and the ball was quickly sent wide to flanker Warren Tucker and then to Dan Rosen who headed for the corner. The covering defense had the angle on Dan, so a quick scissors put the ball in Nick Betts' hands as he sprinted the rest of the way to dot the try near the posts.   The kick from Henning Botha barely missed by 20 meters, leaving the score 30-8.

The final Tacoma threat was emphatically thwarted with a massive hit from the combination of John Via and Don Weatherby on the goal line, and Fort Worth advanced to the National Championship match.

Preview:

The Tacoma Nomads advance from the closely contested pool in New Haven, CT.  After a narrow second place finish in the competitive Pacific Coast Union, Tacoma defeated the top club from the Mid-Atlantic, and then the quarterfinal host club.  

Fort Worth advances after winning the Western RFU and quarterfinal victories over the Connecticut Yankees and Las Vegas Blackjacks.

USA Semifinal: Grand Rapids (MI) - 22 vs. Riverside (CA) - 8, Saturday, June 3, 2000

Grand Rapids controlled this match, and handily defeated the Californians.   Riverside managed to keep them to a single try, but the foot of the flyhalf sent 5 penalties between the posts.  A 13-0 halftime lead was extended to 22-3, before Riverside scored their try at full time to cut the lead back to 14.

Riverside went on to win the consolation match 35-23 over Tacoma.

Preview:

Grand Rapids is in their second consecutive final four, having finished as runners-up in 1999. The Gazelles dominated their opponents in their quarterfinal pool, outscoring them 71-10.

Riverside is in the national tournament for the first time, having narrowly lost a controversial tied match to the eventual national champions in the Southern California playoffs in 1999.  A travel-weary squad defeated Woodlands and Buffalo to make the final four.

USA National Quarterfinals - Fort Worth, TX - May 13-14, 2000

Complete Men's Scores | Complete Women's Scores

Fort Worth - 39 vs. Las Vegas - 13 - Sunday, May 14, 2000

Fort Worth played a solid game in all phases, with solid performances from backs and forwards alike.  Las Vegas was as close as 20-13 midway through the second half, before Fort Worth punched in three tries to win going away.

Preview:

Fort Worth and Las Vegas have both been to the final eight in their history, but neither has advanced to the final four. Las Vegas advances to this match with win over Charlotte 20-10.

Fort Worth - 47 vs. Connecticut Yankees - 17 - Saturday, May 13

Fort Worth started both halves on fire, and took an 18-5 halftime advantage to a 47-16 victory.  A blocked clearing kick in the first minute led to a quick 7-0 advantage, and a fantastic 40 meter drop goal at the beginning of the second half set the tone for the Fort Worth club.

Preview:

Fort Worth advances into the National Championship Tournament as the number 1 seed from the Western RFU.

The Connecticut Yankees earned the trip to Fort Worth by winning the Northeast Rugby Union Championships, defeating Worcester 49-18 and perennial Sweet 16 Qualifier Monmouth 16-11. The victory over Monmouth avenged their only cup loss of the year. Fort Worth supporters will remember Worcester from the 1998 National Quarterfinals, when Fort Worth lost a disheartening first round match 34-23.

Fort Worth meets the Yankees at 1:30.

Western Rugby Football Union Championships - El Paso, TX - April 29-30, 2000

Brackets of all playoff rounds...

Final: Fort Worth - 16 vs. Woodlands - 13 - April 30, 2000

What more can be said about these two clubs? Frankly, I'm out of ideas. Suffice it to say Fort Worth once again met Woodlands in the Western RFU Finals, making it an all-Texas affair. Woodlands defeated Springfield in the semi-final on the previous day, and aside from a late start by their club, looked as solid as ever.

In the match, Woodlands would demonstrate some very solid scrummaging, reversing Fort Worth's advantage from the Texas final.  What Woodlands gained in the scrums was lost in the line-outs as John Via gave them fits all day. Neither team could consistently mount attacks from set plays, as the defenses kept both clubs in check.

In the first half, Fort Worth took small advantage of the wind, only managing 6 points from the boot of Emmet Holmes. Despite a number of opportunities close to the Woodlands' line, their defense kept Fort Worth at bay for the first half. Woodlands managed a drop goal and Fort Worth took a 6-3 lead into the half.

In the second half, a Woodlands converted another kick to tie the match, and with 10 minutes remaining took what seemed to be an insurmountable lead 13-6 on a fine team try.

Fort Worth came back to score a try by Don Weatherby with 4 minutes remaining. Don cut back in front of his forwards, and was momentarily stood up by the Woodlands defense. As the forward cavalry arrived, driving him over the line, Don sprung free and dotted the ball to close the gap to 13-11. Holmes' conversion hit the post but squirted through to tie the match 13-13 with 2 minutes remaining.

Neither team gained an obvious advantage after the restart, and the match looked sure to go into overtime. However a penalty in injury time allowed Holmes a final attempt at victory from 30 meters. The kick was true and after one final minute of play, "no side" was called and Fort Worth earned the Western Championship title for the 4th time in 5 years.

Semifinal: Fort Worth - 33 vs. Denver Highlanders - 27 - April 29, 2000

On a hot, sunny, and dry day playing on the oasis of Dudley Stadium in El Paso, Fort Worth met the very talented Denver Highlanders in the Western Championship semi-final. Despite the editor's previous comments regarding the "relative weakness of the other unions" in the WRFU, the Highlanders were a solid rugby side in all areas. Playing to their strengths at flanker, scrum-half and especially number 8, Denver seemed to capitalize on every Fort Worth miscue.

Denver got on the board first, despite playing into the heavy wind. With a driving line-out and some quick rucks their tight-head dove over in the corner for a 5-0 lead.

Fort Worth came back immediately and converted a charged down kick from Mike Hendon into a try on the opposite side of the field by wing Mike Harvey. Minutes later Harvey was in the try zone again for a 12-5 Fort Worth lead. A try by the Highlanders scrum half and a try by Fort Worth's tight head Mike Sexton left the match a close 19-10 at the half.

Fort Worth coach Buddy Taylor was not pleased by the club's performance in the first half, indicating that the wind advantage would be worth more than 9 points to the Highlanders in the second half. Buddy would be correct in his assessment.

The Highlanders turned Fort Worth's miscues into tries to take the lead 20-19 with 20 minutes remaining in the match, largely on the heroics of their outstanding number 8. The first try came on a kick into Fort Worth's try zone, which the Highlander number 8 dove on for a try. The second came from a kick deep in Highlander territory, which with the heavy wind looked to go the full 100 meters through the opposite try zone. An unfortunate bounce kept the ball in the field of play, and the Fort Worth winger found himself trapped by three charging Highlanders. The ball was stolen by the Highlander number 8 again, and his try took the lead away from Fort Worth.

With the loss of the lead, Fort Worth came alive, camping inside the Highlander end for all but a few moments of the rest of the match. Fly-half Emmet Holmes converted his own try to regain the lead 26-20 and a try moments later by TeShay Flowers took the lead to 33-20.

The Highlanders were not done, and a long try by their number 8 took the Fort Worth lead back down to 6 points. The pace of the match picked up considerably as the Highlanders were committed to earning the win, while Fort Worth was just as committed to keeping the lead. The match ended at half-way when Fort Worth held up the Highlander player to take the 33-27 victory and the spot in the 2000 USA National Quarterfinals.

Preview:

Fort Worth advances as the number 1 seed after a touchy victory over Little Rock. In the Denver Pool, San Antonio fought to a courageous victory over the Aardvarks with only 14 men, only to fall to a very solid Denver Highlanders club on Sunday.

Fort Worth and the Denver Highlanders have never met, so the series begins in the Western Championship semifinal. Despite my previous comments as to the relative weakness of the other unions in the WRFU, the Highlanders have put together a solid 8-0 season in the ERRFU.

Denver finished these matches off with a dominant 38-17 victory over San Antonio. The Fort Worth-Highlander match promises to be a hard-fought contest, with a spot in the National Quarterfinals on the line.

Western Rugby Football Union Championship Playoffs - Fort Worth, TX - April 15-16, 2000

Brackets of all playoff rounds...

Match 1: Little Rock vs. Kansas State Fort Riley - April 15, 2000 2:00 PM Gateway Park

Little Rock - 23 vs. K-State/Ft. Riley - 14

Little Rock controlled the match, but was largely unable to finish their plays in the try zone.  Two pick-off passes resulted in their first two tries, while KSFR's shifty fullback scored late to bring the match closer.

Preview:

Little Rock will face Kansas State Fort Riley at 2:00 PM Saturday in Fort Worth.   The winner will meet Fort Worth on Sunday for the right to go to the Western Tournament in El Paso. K-State/Fort Riley makes their first appearance in the Westerns since 1996, when they advanced to the Sweet 16.  Little Rock enters for the first time in the first year the Ozark Union had a second division.

Match 2: Fort Worth vs. Winner (Little Rock) - April 16, 2000 2:00 PM Gateway Park

Fort Worth - 36 vs. Little Rock - 17

Fort Worth jumped to a 24-0 halftime lead on a try by Theo Van Wyk, and 3 tries from Mike Harvey. Harvey's heroics continued in the second half as he brought his try total to 5, before Little Rock would put together their best 20 minutes of the weekend. A penalty try and a try from their flanker late in the match brought the Little Rock tally to 17.

Preview:

Fort Worth enters the Western Playoffs as the number 1 seed, thanks to Woodlands victory in the 1999 Western Championship.  After 4 years of dominance by Fort Worth and Woodlands, with very little competition from the other local unions that comprise the WRFU, the powers that be decided to expand the playoffs to 12 teams.   Since 1996, when Fort Worth outscored its opposition 129-3 in the two WRFU matches, the playoffs have expanded from 4 to 6 to 8 and now to 12 teams. While 4 clubs have shown the ability to compete at a Western Championship level (Fort Worth, Woodlands, Springfield, San Antonio), the tournament keeps expanding to allow consistently weaker clubs to qualify.  Needless to say, the dominance shown by the Texas teams can be traced to the fact that there is no incentive to improve as a club in any of the other local unions.  In Texas there's 20 clubs competing for 3 spots in the West, while the other unions have, at most, 5 clubs.

Texas Rugby Union Championship - Austin TX, March 25-26, 2000

Brackets of all matches...

Final: Fort Worth vs. Woodlands - Sunday, March 26, 2000

Fort Worth - 29 vs. Woodlands - 12

Fort Worth and Woodlands found themselves in familiar territory, once again squaring off for a championship. Twice since 1996 these clubs have met in Texas semifinal matches rather than finals, with each club once going home the loser. As the standard-setters in division 2 in Texas and the West, meeting in a championship final is the only way these clubs should meet.

Fort Worth started quickly again, jumping on Woodlands with hard rucks and committed defense.  After a line-out near Woodlands' 22M line, Theo Van Wyk spun the ball wide to Mike Harvey on the wing, who quickly dotted the ball in the corner for the 5-0 lead.

At around 10 minutes, a few good tactical kicks put Fort Worth deep in Woodlands' territory with another line-out. Fort Worth took the ensuing driving maul over the line with Henning Botha getting the try for a 10-0 lead.

At 25 minutes, Fort Worth winger Nick Betts popped a kick over the Woodlands defense an then picked it up on the run.  Nick weaved through the defenders and dotted near the posts for a magnificent try. The conversion by Holmes increased the Fort Worth lead to 17-0.

Woodlands took the ball back into Fort Worth's end, rucking and running with authority, but Fort Worth's committed defense was up to the task and held them at bay long enough to be awarded a penalty for playing the ball on the ground.  The kick for touch ended a serious Woodlands threat to get back in the game.

Nearing 40 minutes in the half, Woodlands was awarded a 5 meter scrum on their own line.  Fort Worth saw an opportunity and pushed the Woodlands scrum enough to make them bobble the ball at the back.  Theo Van Wyk, ever the opportunist, dove on the ball to extend the lead to 22-0.

In the second half, Woodlands won the possession advantage, but the stingy Fort Worth defense made every gain difficult. Nearing 15 minutes, Woodlands took the ball through what seemed like an endless series of forward rucks.  Fort Worth made them work for every inch, but Woodlands punched it in to bring the match to 22-7.

Minutes later, Fort Worth answered with a beautiful backline try.  A Fort Worth line-out at half-way was spun wide all the way to fullback Dan Rosen.  Dan headed straight for the corner and delivered a beautiful over-the-shoulder pass to his inside to wing Trey Buck, who dove over for the try. Emmet Holmes calmly slotted the conversion to take the lead to 29-7.

Fort Worth played a defensive game the rest of the way, continuing to make the Woodlands earn every inch of ground.  The heat took its toll and Fort Worth began committing penalties, which Woodlands tapped quickly at every opportunity. Woodlands' talented fullback tapped the final one and with a quick spin move he had Woodlands second try of the day.  The whistle was blown after the missed conversion, and Fort Worth had their fourth Texas championship in five years.

Semifinal: Fort Worth vs. San Antonio - Saturday, March 25, 2000

Fort Worth - 25 vs. San Antonio - 10

Fort Worth started off on fire, with only nerves and hurried play keeping them from a number of early tries. The first Fort Worth score came on a push-over scrum, with Theo Van Wyk getting credit for the try. Emmet Holmes' conversion made the score 7-0 after 5 minutes.

San Antonio came back with a long score from their backs, with their winger touching down in the corner to close the gap to 7-5.

A penalty kick from Holmes made the score 10-5 at the half.  The second half would be very one-sided as the boys from Cowtown would put the game away with 3 more tries.

The second try of the day from Fort Worth was like the first, with a push over scrum. San Antonio attempted to wheel the scrum, but Fort Worth pushed on through, and as the scrum began to collapse, Van Wyk pulled the ball and dove over the line for his second try.

Twenty minutes into the half, Fort Worth kicked a high deep ball, which was fielded near the sideline ten meters from San Antonio's goal by their winger.   The tackled San Antonio player was penalized for not releasing the ball, and Holmes tapped the ball through the mark quickly.  With a full Fort Worth backline set up against a disheveled San Antonio defense struggling to get on-sides, Holmes took a step towards his backs and dished the ball back inside to Bots Hulen who dove over the line for the 20-5 lead.

The final try for Fort Worth came on a similar play, except Holmes picked up the ball from the ruck and took it into the try zone untouched for the 25-5 lead.

San Antonio scored on the final play of the match after Fort Worth's defense broke down completely, allowing the San Antonio prop to set up their number 8 for a try.

Preview:

The last match between these two clubs occurred in the first round of the 1999 Western RFU Championship in Omaha, Nebraska.  In that match San Antonio jumped to a quick lead that Fort Worth struggled for the whole match to overcome.  The final minutes saw 2 lead changes and a final push by Fort Worth stopped one meter short. San Antonio prevailed 22-18 and went on to finish 3rd, while Fort Worth won their next 2 matches to take 5th. Be sure to read all the details on the Texas Rugby Union championships on fortworthrugby.com.

TRU B Semifinal: Fort Worth vs. Austin Huns - Saturday, March 25, 2000

Fort Worth B - 14 vs. Austin Huns B - 19

The Huns got off to a solid start, punching in two tries by their gifted center within 15 minutes.  The game settled to a more even affair as the first half wore on, with solid defense from both sides keeping the score 12-0.

In the second half, Fort Worth looked on track to make a solid run at a comeback, controlling possession in the Huns' territory.  Nick Betts scored a beautiful solo try from the fullback position, weaving through the Huns' backs and centering the try.  Fort Worth continued to control the game, threatening a number of times, but they were unable to finish in the try zone.

Late in the half, a breakdown in the Fort Worth backs deep in Fort Worth territory was converted into a Huns try.  The conversion made the score 19-7, but Fort Worth fought till the end for another score.  At full time, Alex Rylance tapped a quick penalty 5 meters from the Huns line, and spun into the try zone.  Alex converted his own kick to bring the match to 19-14, but the match was called immediately after the kick.

Preview:

Fort Worth B and the Huns B have only met once in their recent histories, in a match in Austin in January, with Fort Worth taking the match 19-10.

Fort Worth vs. Austin Huns - Fort Worth - March 11, 2000

Fort Worth - 25 vs. Austin Huns - 7

The first 20 minutes of this playoff match were relatively even, and it soon became obvious that the Huns were not willing to spot Fort Worth 28 points like they did in January. For the match Fort Worth controlled most phases, with the real threats from the Huns thwarted quickly.  The Huns had a few nice possessions with a lot of phases, but the rare break by a single player was usually supported poorly.

Fort Worth got on the board first, with some nice work from their forwards.  Henning Botha's break was followed by a long run from Ron Prowell who popped the ball to prop Bots Hulen near the 22.  Hulen engaged the first defender and laid up a pass to his fellow prop Mike Sexton on his outside.  Sexton took the ball the rest of the way, engaging the Huns' flanker near 5 meters and dragging him to the corner for the try and 5-0 lead.

This score was an obvious letdown for the Huns, as Fort Worth punched in another try minutes later. Theo Van Wyk took the ball weak from a maul and dove across the line to take Fort Worth's lead to 12-0.

The final try for Fort Worth came from a ball stolen against the head.   Ivan Moorhead took it weak and sprinted the 20 meters for the 3rd Fort Worth try. Emmet Holmes' 2 conversions and 2 penalties in the blustery conditions brought the score to 25-0 late in the match.

The Huns' try came late when Fort Worth's winger was caught deep in his own end with no support.  The Huns had the numbers and centered the ball to deny Fort Worth the shutout.

Preview:

Fort Worth will host the first round of the TRU Championship at Gateway Park at 2:00 in a match against the Austin Huns.  The winner of the match will advance to the Texas Rugby Union Championship Tournament held in Austin on March 25 and 26. Fort Worth has met the Huns twice this season, winning a narrow, hangover-impaired 20-8 game in the Cowtown Tournament, as well as a more solid 47-12 match this January. The Huns have played solid rugby all year, keeping a number of difficult matches very close, so this winner-take-all match promises to be a tough one.

Fort Worth RFC @ Galveston Mardi Gras - Galveston Island - February 26-27, 2000

Fort Worth wins Consolation Match and Takes 3rd Place

For the second consecutive year, Fort Worth took third place after losing in the semifinal of the tournament.  Fort Worth has never lost in this tournament to anyone but the champion, in this case Houston Athletic.  For the last 4 years, Fort Worth is 9-3 at Galveston Mardi Gras.

Complete match summaries...

Tournament Photos

Preview:

Fort Worth travels to Galveston for their fourth straight Mardi Gras appearance.   This tournament is one of the club favorites, as it is well-run, has the best tournament party around, and usually brings the best rugby out of the club.  In the three years 1997-1999, Fort Worth finished as Champion Runners-Up, Champions, and Consolation Champions, respectively.

Fort Worth RFC vs. Dallas Athletic - Fort Worth - February 19, 2000

Match Photos

Fort Worth A - 51 vs. D.A.R.C. A - 3

Fort Worth sprinted to four first half tries, converting two for a 24-0 lead. Five tries and a conversion in the second half completed the scoring on the day. DARC had some very good individual efforts, but were unable to recover from the injuries to some of its key players.

The final 20 minutes of the match contained some of the finest rugby of the year for Fort Worth, as the forwards and backs played a fine 15-man game.

Fort Worth B - 39 vs. D.A.R.C. B - 5

Darrin Barner led all scorers with four tries, and came within a knock-on of five. Other standouts were Mike Rooney, Ron Prowell, and Eric Pacheco.

Fort Worth RFC vs. El Paso Scorpions - El Paso - February 12, 2000

Match Photos

Fort Worth A - 10 vs. El Paso A - 33

The first ten minutes of this match were evenly played, with both teams squandering fine scoring opportunities. Some solid forward play and good support, however, allowed El Paso to put up three tries in the late part of the first half, giving them the 19-3 halftime advantage.

In the second half Fort Worth put their game together and camped out inside El Paso's 22 for most of the half, but were able to convert one try, cutting the lead to 19-10.   However, two late tries by El Paso put the game out of reach for Fort Worth.

Fort Worth B - 25 vs. El Paso B - 15

Fort Worth played the remaining members of the 22-man squad, and filled in with players from the first match as needed.  The match was closer than the score indicates, as Fort Worth controlled throughout.

Preview:

Fort Worth will get its first look at the acclaimed facilities of the Scorpions, where the 2000 Western Championship will be held.  Fort Worth has  met El Paso in the Galveston Mardi Gras twice in the last three years, with Fort Worth pulling off a 9-0 semifinal victory in 1996, and a 43-26 victory in the 1998 Mardi Gras Final.

Fort Worth RFC vs. Arlington RFC - Fort Worth - January 29, 2000

Match Photos

Fort Worth A - 34 vs. Arlington A - 3

Arlington put together a solid defensive effort, thwarting many scoring opportunities for Fort Worth.  On the offensive side Arlington threatened on only a few occasions.   Fort Worth led 24-3 at the half in the miserably cold weather.

Fort Worth B - 3 vs. Arlington B - 3

An even match that was tied by Arlington late in the game. 

Preview:

The second match of the season series with Arlington will kick off at 2:00 (A side) and 3:30 (B side) at Mike Lewis Park in Arlington.

Arlington is coming off a strong victory against Dallas Athletic and look much improved for the spring season.

Fort Worth RFC vs. Denton RFC - Fort Worth - January 22, 2000

Match Photos

Fort Worth A - 90 vs. Denton A - 5

Fort Worth ran in 14 tries and Emmet Holmes converted 10 of 13 conversions for the club's biggest offensive day ever. Denton broke through late in the first half for their lone try on the day.

Fort Worth B - 33 vs. Denton/North Texas B - 0

Keith Dalton began his triumphant return to the backline of Fort Worth at the winger position, and proceeded to absolutely dominate the match in a way not seen since the 1998 Okoboji Tournament. The North Texas players made some very nice plays, but were never able to finish them off in the try zone. Fort Worth steadily wore the young collegiates down and finished with 5 tries and 4 conversions. 

Preview:

The second match of the season series with Denton will kick off at 2:00 (A side) and 3:30 (B side) at Gateway Park.

Fort Worth RFC vs. Austin Huns - Austin - January 15, 2000

Fort Worth A - 47 vs. Austin Huns A - 12

Fort Worth began with a stiff wind at their back and proceeded to use it to their advantage. The first Fort Worth try came within two minutes as winger Mike Harvey turned the corner on the Huns defense for a 60 meter try.  Harvey would score two more on the day.

With some more nifty moves from the backs, Fort Worth took a 28-0 advantage with ten minutes remaining in the first half.  The Huns would come back to score two tries before the half from their forwards.

The second half had some huge swings of momentum as both teams had numerous scoring opportunities.  Fort Worth was able to convert three of these opportunities into tries, while playing solid defense to keep the Huns out of the try zone, for a 47-12 victory.  Emmet Holmes converted 6 of 7 kicks on the day.

Fort Worth B - 19 vs. Austin Huns B - 10

Fort Worth jumped to a quick 12-0 advantage on tries by Pierce and Hulen.  The Huns came back to make it 12-10 until late in the game when Mike Harvey sprinted to another long try to seal the victory.

Preview:

The match to kick off the new millenium pits clubs from the different regions of the TRU Second Division.  The Huns are currently third in the highly competitive TRU South, while Fort Worth leads the TRU North that has seen a downturn in its level of play this season.

The Huns are famous club hosts, so the trip promises to be good one. Match times are 2:00 and 3:30 at Zilker Park.  Check the Huns web site at www.io.com/hunsrfc for more information.

Fort Worth RFC vs. Dallas Athletic Rugby Club - Lake Highlands - December 11, 1999

Fort Worth A - 21 vs. DARC A - 7

The newly formed Dallas Athletic Rugby Club, a club merged from the Dallas Blues and Dallas Our Gang,  entered the fall season with a core of solid players and promised to be one of Fort Worth's toughest opponents. On a wet, windy, and cold day in Dallas, Fort Worth won a match that saw little offensive flair and big defensive efforts from both clubs.

DARC got on the board in the first ten minutes, on a try set up by a picked off pass in the backline.  The defense raced to set up on the goal line after the DARC player was brought down three meters out, but a quick ruck and a roll to touch the ball to the post gave DARC the try.

At 25 minutes Fort Worth spun a line-out ball to the backs near DARC's 10 meter line.  Flyhalf Emmet Holmes delivered a beautiful scissors pass over his shoulder to the crashing left winger, Nick Betts, who side-stepped the defense and dove for the tying try.

Minutes later, Fort Worth pushed over a scrum and Number 8 Henning Botha dropped on the ball for then 14-7 advantage. 

Fort Worth would finish the scoring early in the second half, driving a line-out ball from about 30 meters.  At 15 meters, Ivan Moorhead rolled off the maul and raced to the try line for the 21-7 advantage.

Fort Worth B - 10 vs. DARC B - 0

The conditions worsened by the minute as the rain continued to drench the sides. Each need for a reserve player touched off a mad scramble toward the parking lot, where the reserves were sitting in their cars. Tonga Makawe dotted the only try, while Alex Rylance slotted a conversion and penalty to end the scoring.

Fort Worth RFC vs. Dallas Harlequins - II XV - Glencoe Park - December 5, 1999

Fort Worth - 14 vs. Dallas Harlequins - II - 27

Fort Worth traveled to Dallas with 19 players to meet the Quins - II side. After an even first half, where Fort Worth led 7-5,
the Quins used their superior fitness to roll up four second half
tries to take the match 27-14. Theo Van Wyk scored the first try, and
Charlie Burgess set up the second with a very nifty run.

Preview:

The Quins recently dropped from the second division competition, but have expressed a desire to field at least a third side to compete in the previously scheduled fixtures.    For now, this match is scheduled for 12:30 PM, with no B side match as of yet. More details will be available in the week before this match.

Fort Worth RFC vs. Denton RFC - Denton - November 20, 1999

Fort Worth A - 88 vs. Denton A - 8

Winger Mike Harvey exploded for 4 tries in the first half, as Fort Worth rolled to a 62-3 halftime lead. Other try scorers were Charlie Burgess, Dan Rosen, Junior Filikitonga, Henning Botha, and Emmet Holmes among others. The second half saw the pace slow considerably as Fort Worth managed only 4 more tries.  Denton scored the final try at full time with a 70 M run.

Fort Worth B - 46 vs. Denton B - 7

A battle-weary Denton B side started strong, and held a 7-0 after 15 minutes.   However, their fitness wore down and Fort Worth rolled up 46 unanswered points to take the match.

Preview:

Denton has not fully recovered their form from their good seasons of the early 90's, but reports from their recent matches seem to indicate they may be on the right path, though. Denton's pitch always seems cold and windy, but this time this will not be an advantage as it's likely to be a balmy 70 degrees.

Cowtown United vs. Dromore RFC Socials - Dromore, Northern Ireland - November 9, 1999

Cowtown - 13  Dromore - 19

For a complete match report, visit the Ugly American Tour web site here.

Cowtown United vs. Cardiff Saracens - Cardiff, Wales - November 6, 1999

Cowtown - 10  Saracens - 22

For a complete match report, visit the Ugly American Tour web site here.

Cowtown United vs. Old Tottonions 3rd XV - Southampton England - October 30, 1999

Cowtown - 17  Old Tottonions - 34

For a complete match report, visit the Ugly American Tour web site here.

Fort Worth RFC vs. Arlington RFC - Gateway Park - October 23, 1999

Fort Worth A - 58 vs. Arlington A - 0

Fort Worth started the pressure early and didn't let up.  The tries came equally to both backs and forwards as the club played a solid match throughout.

Arlington showed from nice plays from their set pieces, but threatened only on a few occasions.

Fort Worth B - 38 vs. Arlington B - 7

Fort Worth's B side continued what the A side started.  Captain Ron "C.T." Prowell dominated, setting up other scorers all day.  Props John McLaury and Keith "Buck" Callaway each gathered a try, and center David Maola led all try scorers with three. Alex Rylance was a perfect 6 for 6 on kicks, with a penalty and 5 conversions.

Preview:

This is the first cup match of the year for both clubs.  In the 1999 Cowtown, Arlington played similar opponents closer than Fort Worth, so the match promises to be a good one.

Fort Worth RFC vs. Dallas RFC - Gateway Park - October 17, 1999

Fort Worth - 29 vs. Dallas - 18

Played on a Sunday, Dallas traveled light so the clubs agreed to play five 20 minute periods.

Fort Worth started strong, pinning Dallas in their end. Fort Worth jumped to a quick 10-0 lead on a try by Henning Botha, and a conversion and penalty by Emmet Holmes.

Dallas came back strong and took the lead 18-10 after the first 40 minutes on a try from a mishandled Fort Worth lineout, a try by their lock after an extended goal line stand from Fort Worth, another try and a penalty.

The third "period" saw a heated battle, without a score from either side.   Not until the fourth period did Fort Worth get their game together. Three tries and two conversions put the game out of reach for the visitors. After 80 minutes the match stood at 29-18 in favor of the home side.

Version 2.0 Preview:

Three points separated these clubs three weeks ago. Each club showed many areas needing development in the last meeting, and this match will show which has met the challenge and made the improvements.  Match times are 2:00 for the first XV and 3:30 for the second XV.

Fort Worth RFC vs. Austin RFC - Austin - October 9, 1999

Fort Worth A - 22 vs. Austin A - 40

Your editor did not make the trip, so details of the match are sketchy.  Fort Worth had an uncharacteristic poor showing and traveled with only 18 players.

Fort Worth B - less vs. Austin B - lot

Fort Worth borrowed numerous players from Austin for this one, so a match score is superfluous. Obviously, the side without the battle-weary Fort Worth players won this one.

Preview:

Fort Worth and Austin played each other three times last season. The first two matches were blowouts by Austin, with only the final match of the Austin Tournament being close.   Austin prevailed in that match 12-8.  This is the only scheduled match between clubs this season, and it should be a good one.  Both clubs are attempting to return to past glory after disappointing third place finishes in their respective divisions last year.

Fort Worth RFC vs. Dallas RFC - Dallas - September 25, 1999

Fort Worth - B - 48 vs. Dallas B - 7

From the opening kickoff, Fort Worth controlled this game.  The kickoff was quickly spun to the wing, 300 lb. Junior Filikitonga, who ran over a few tacklers and streaked down the sideline. Pushed out of bounds, he laid up a pass which 7's Eagle Thad Hill ran under and put down under the posts. Junior went on to score three tries on the day to lead Fort Worth.

Fort Worth - A - 17 vs. Dallas A - 20

What a match. This is why rugby is such a great game.  From the kickoff to full time, both sides played with tremendous courage, and nothing was easily gained. Although the final moments were an unfortunate way for any match to end, both sides and all the referees represented themselves with class and dignity.

Dallas received and quickly began using their forwards in tight, quick bangers. Fort Worth held the line, as the territorial gains for Dallas were only a few meters at most. Dallas showed great skills in keeping possession, holding the ball through many phases. After three minutes, Dallas was on the board with a penalty.

The hard rugby continued through the first half, with neither team maintaining a territorial gain for long, and stingy defense at both ends keeping the scoring low.   With less than five minutes remaining, Fort Worth was finally able to get on the board.  Dallas was attacking near Fort Worth's 22M line.  After a series of bangers, Fort Worth held up a runner and Ivan Moorhead was able to pull the ball free. He quickly stepped away from the ruck and passed to winger Mike Harvey, who sprinted the 80 M to the try line.  The covering fullback had the angle, but Mike's quick deceleration and re-acceleration was superior as he made it in untouched. The try remained until the half, with Fort Worth holding the 5-3 advantage.

The second half was much of the same, with hard tackling defense and an even territorial possession. Fort Worth got on the board with another try by Mike Harvey.   Inside Dallas' 22M, Fort Worth set a ruck near the center. The left side had an overload, and James Swain quickly attacked. The defense left Harvey uncovered for a split second, and Mike took the pass at full pace.  Dallas had two defenders get hands on him, but his momentum carried him in goal, giving Fort Worth a 10-3 lead. Emmet Holmes slotted the difficult conversion to make it 12-3.

At 15 minutes remaining, Dallas was to close the gap to 12-8.  Dallas had a maul at Fort Worth's 22, which seemed to be going nowhere.  However a slight defensive breakdown allowed Dallas' hooker to squirt out the side with the ball and race the remaining 22M to close the gap to 12-8.

With the score, Dallas clearly gained the momentum.  Playing with renewed energy and spirit, Dallas punched in another try within 5 minutes, to take the lead 15-12, but they were not able to keep it for long.

Fort Worth started their next score at a lineout at half way. The ball was given immediately to the backs, who spun it all the way across the field.  The final pass to the winger hit the ground, and it looked like Dallas was about to retrieve it.   However, winger Nick Betts was able to chase the ball down and quickly pass it inside to fullback Dan Rosen.  Dan ran a few meters and popped up a beautiful kick into the try zone.  Dan won the footrace and dove on the ball to give Fort Worth back the lead at 17-15.

The game continued well into injury time, with Dallas' scoring opportunities thwarted by Fort Worth's stingy defense. Finally, with the match well into an extended injury time, Dallas took the ball to within one meter of a try.  The Dallas player was brought down, and attempted to play the ball. The three Fort Worth players standing over him also attempted to play the ball. The referee signaled a penalty try, and called no side after the conversion attempt. Dallas had the victory 20-17.

Version 1.0 Preview:

The last time these clubs met was in the final of the 1997 Galveston Mardi Gras. A wild match that featured some of Fort Worth's best rugby of the year, Dallas eventually prevailed 30-26 on a last second goal line stand. Dallas is re-entering Texas Rugby after a one season hiatus in which they competed in a national league outside the confines of USARFU.

1999 Cowtown Kickoff Classic - Fort Worth - September 11-12, 1999

Match 1: Fort Worth - I - 26 vs. Brazos Celtic Exiles - 0

The first match ever played between these clubs went Fort Worth's way from the beginning. Emmet Holmes scored the first try of the millennial season for Fort Worth.

Match 2: Fort Worth - II - 0 vs. Woodlands - I - 40

Woodlands begins the 1999 season hitting on all cylinders.  Fort Worth's poor tackling and an inability to maintain possession made this a Woodlands route.

Match 3: Fort Worth - I - 47 vs. Fort Hood - 0

Fort Hood, like the Exiles, were undermatched from the beginning, with a young and inexperienced team. Fort Worth's prop Mike Sexton scored 2 tries to lead Fort Worth. His second try was the finisher to a 70 meter effort that included some nice rugby from the forwards.

Match 4: Fort Worth - II - 0 vs. Air Force Eagles - 48

Fort Worth - II stayed in this match, giving up only one try in the first 15 minutes. Solid tackling and some very nice rucking soon turned ugly as the fit and fast Air Force Selects turned the match into a route.

Match 5: Fort Worth - I - 7 vs. HARC - I - 10

HARC started fast, punching in a try in the first few minutes.  The match turned into a stalemate, though, and remained 5-0 until midway in the second half, when flyhalf Emmet Holmes side-stepped his opposite to score under the posts. Fort Worth held the 7-5 lead until the final play, when HARC drove Fort Worth's 7-man scrum (due to a sin-bin), and picked up from the base of the scrum to win the match 10-7.

Match 6: Fort Worth - II - 26 vs. Denton - 7

Chris the Afrikaner made his triumphant return to Texas rugby with a first minute score. The rest of the match was much of the same as Fort Worth's experience at all positions put the match out of reach for Denton's new recruits.

Match 7 (Consolation Semifinal): Fort Worth - I - 18 vs. Austin Huns - 3

The Huns were clearly hung over from the pub crawl and had difficulty in the loose, the tight, the scrums, and the lineouts.  Normally a solid team in all phases, Fort Worth had their way with them.  Two push-over tries, a score from winger Nick Betts, and a penalty from Alex Rylance made up Fort Worth's scoring.

Match 8 (Consolation Final): Fort Worth - I - 0 vs. Woodlands - I - 29

Fort Worth ran into a buzz-saw that is the Woodlands rugby club.  Dominant rucking from Woodlands and lackluster tackling from Fort Worth made this a route from the beginning.  Fort Worth put up a better defensive effort in the second half, after trailing 19-0 at the half.  Woodlands second half try came on a nice effort from their forwards, who took a 5+ phase possession over the line for the 29-0 victory.

 


 

 
 
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