1997-1998 Match Results
1998 Galveston Mardi Gras - 2/14/1998
Fort Worth RFC takes First Place at Galveston Mardi Gras
3 wins, 0 losses
1998 Galveston Mardi Gras
Feb 14-15, 1998
Fort Worth RFC takes First Place at Galveston Mardi Gras
Fort Worth won the top division at the Galveston Mardi Gras with a convincing victory over the El Paso Scorpions in the final. The backline of Fort Worth stood out as scrum half and team captain Theo Van Wyk took tournament MVP honors. The backline for the final included Van Wyk, Terblanche, Buck, Weatherby, Swain, Betts, and Rosen, with reserves Burgess and Manning.
Game 1 (Saturday): Fort Worth - 53 Bay Area - 0
Fort Worth continued its high-scoring ways with a blowout of the overmatched Bay Area team. The scoring began in typical fashion for Fort Worth with a push-over scrum from ten meters. The front row of McLaury, Hulen, and Dalton took command and split the Bay Area scrum down the middle. The backline ran to a number of long and beautiful tries in this one.
The first half saw five tries and two conversions, and Fort Worth settled down and cruised to a four try and two conversion second half.
Game 2 (Saturday): Fort Worth - 27 Houston RFC - A - 21
The highlight of the weekend was the victory over the tough Houston RFC, probably the second best team in the tournament. Behind 27-7 late in the game, Houston stormed back for two tries to make it close. For the second time in 1998, Fort Worth has held a 20 point lead over a Division I opponent, only to let them back into the game.
Houston came out hard, with the strong wind at their backs and the slope of the field in their favor. Houston scored quickly to take a 7-0 lead before Fort Worth settled down to play their style of game. Houston was on attack through the entire half and controlled possession in Fort Worth territory. Midway through the half, Terblanche converted a penalty to close the gap to 7-3, which held to the half.
Houston was not able to take advantage of the wind and slope, and this was their downfall. The Fort Worth backs took advantage almost immediately with a long try finished by winger Nick Betts. The backs played a great game, but inside center Don Weatherby`s heroics stood out from the rest. Don made two tremendous plays, as well as continuing his characteristic hard tackling. At Houston`s 10 M line, Weatherby picked off a pass and sprinting untouched for a try under the posts. Within a few minutes he did it again and layed up a beautiful pass to Van Wyk who also finished it under the posts. These two tries were converted by Terblanche to give Fort Worth a 22-7 lead. After the backs had their glory, it was time for the Fort Worth forwards to do their part.
Fort Worth kicked from a penalty to put the ball within two meters of the Houston goal. The throw was challenged by Houston, and the tapped ball was caught by their scrum half just outside the try line. Lock John Via shot through and tackled him facing Fort Worth, and Dalton and Hulen rucked over. The scrum half was still holding the ball, so Via pulled his arms back, and Dalton took advantage as the ball dropped to the floor on the Fort Worth side of the ruck. Dalton picked up the ball and touched it quickly over the line, for Fort Worth`s final score.
Feeling a sense of urgency, Houston came back immediately on the attack and camped out inside Fort Worth`s 22 M line for the rest of the game. Their oversized and hard running lock scored their second try off a ruck from about 10 meters. As time was running out, Houston was awarded a five meter scrum. After not being able to push over, the ball was spun out but a Fort Worth forward broke from the scrum early and Wolfinger played advantage. After no advantage was gained, Wolfinger awarded a penalty on the far side of the field at the place of the scrum, and Houston sprinted over and realized a three man overload. Spun wide, the try was earned and Houston got within six as time expired.
Final (Sunday): Fort Worth - 43 El Paso Scorpions - 26
The final was a very hard fought match, pitting Fort Worth against the very fit El Paso team. Once again the skilled and speedy Fort Worth backline proved the difference.
El Paso began the game with ten minutes of great rugby. Setting quick rucks and banging hard, their forwards drove the ball up the field. Fort Worth finally won possession and spun the ball to fly half Henno Terblanche. Henno displayed his killer sidestep making his defender fall and flip over without touching him. After about sixty meters the ball was spun to fullback Rosen who finished it off in the corner for a 5-0 lead. El Paso quickly came back and converted a try to take their only lead of the game 7-5.
The game continued with Fort Worth scoring two tries to every one of El Paso. There were numerous moments where El Paso pitched tents inside Fort Worth`s 22 M line, and only Fort Worth`s hard tackling defense kept them at bay. As El Paso threatened to score in the final minute, Fort Worth committed an offsides penalty, and a penalty for stepping over a tackled player and taking the ball. The referee warned Fort Worth for not allowing the man to play the ball, and threatened a penalty try on the next infringement. The gun-shy Fort Worth defense let El Paso through a gap for their final score as time expired.
Tournament Player Roster
1,3 Dalton, McLaury, Callaway
4,5 Harlin, Via, Taylor
6,7 Hicks, Barner, Wooderson, Morgan
9 Van Wyk(C) - Tournament MVP
11,14 Betts, Buck, Burgess, Manning
12,13 Weatherby, Swain
Galveston RFC put on a fantastic tournament with great referrees, great fields, a great venue, and a very well-run tournament. Al Mazur and Paul Mabry, along with the other organizers showed why Galveston turns away as many teams as they allow.
Fort Worth is very proud of their accomplishments on this weekend. We would like to thank Bay Area, Houston, and El Paso for fine matches played hard and with class. Also the referees in the tournament proved why the STRR is the class of USA Rugby.
[Bots Hulen 2/16/98]
1997 Las Vegas Challenge - 12/6/1997
3 wins, 1 loss
1997 Las Vegas Challenge
December 6-7, 1997
Fort Worth played in the sixteen team King`s - 1 division, just below the Aces. The Aces division featured six premier teams, such as Apia Somoa, Frazier Valley Canada, and other International or Division 1 sides. Numerous Division 1 teams played in Kings, including Belmont Shore, a US Super League team.
The Las Vegas Challenge would be only a shade of what it is today, if it weren`t for the Las Vegas venue. Las Vegas only allowed one team from each pool to advance to the second day`s championship. Unfortunately for Fort Worth and other good teams, there was no "wild card" built-in to ensure the pools were fairly drawn.
Fort Worth`s Pool:
Belmont Shores RFC - A (SoCal Div. 1, US Super League Western Runner-up to Aspen)
James Bay RFC, Canada (from Canada`s Top Division)
Orange County Islanders, California (undefeated SoCal Div. 2 last two years)
Fort Worth RFC
Game 1: Fort Worth - 5 Belmont Shores-A - 8
Neither team controlled this game from the start, as the backs were intent upon playing the kicking game. However, BS was given three opportunities at penalty kicks within the first two minutes. One of these was successful, giving BS an early 3-0 lead. The kicking game continued, running the FW forwards all over the field, when one commented, "Someone knock it on so we can scrum down, please!"
The scrums continued to be the strongest part of FW`s game, with BS getting pushed all over the pitch. BS lost half of their put-ins and resorted to collapsing as the game progressed.
Late in the second half FW scored with the backs attacking off a kick that failed to find touch. Winger James Swain finished the move with a 30 M sprint to score in the corner. The unconverted try gave FW the lead, 5-3 through the half.
In the second half, BS began to take control of the line-outs. FW tried numerous things, all to no avail. Nearing 27 minutes into the second 20 minute half, BS attacked with a kick that found touch three meters outside FW`s goal. The ensuing line-out was thrown to Number 2, which was errantly tapped back. The barging BS forwards jumped on it in goal for the final try, making it 8-5 in BS`s favor.
Game 2: Fort Worth - 38 James Bay - 28
Fort Worth played everybody, with a number of B side players stepping up their game to take it to the Canadians. The FW third row dominted this game with Conan (aka The Green Goblin) and Darrin Barner (aka Squirrel) putting some big hits on James Bay. The biggest hit of the tournament came as Warren Tucker met a JB back at full pace, picked him up, and deposited him three meters back on top of his teammate.
Game 3: Fort Worth - 13 Orange County Islanders - 12
A light drizzle began before this game and kickoff occurred after dark for a wonderfully surreal effect. Fort Worth and OCI were both 1-1, and each errantly assumed the winner would advance to the championship round.
OCI kicked off to Fort Worth`s Warren Tucker, who set the ruck near the ten meter line. Phase 2 saw a ruck formed at the 50 M line, phase 3 saw another big forward gain, and the ball was spun to James Swain at flyhalf. He scissored to the crashing inside center, Don Weatherby, who broke through the defense for a long gain to the 22 M on the left side. The forwards hit the ruck hard, and the ball once again was spun to Swain who booted a beautiful 30M drop goal through. Two minutes into the game, FW had a 3-0 lead and the OCI players looked shell-shocked.
FW continued their stellar performance in the scrums, stealing five against the head. Late in the first half, FW was awarded a five meter scrum and began their push over attempt. OCI resorted to collapsing, and did this three times, but FW was finally successful and took a 10-0 lead.
In the second half, OCI came back to score a running try, keeping the ball alive at all costs, and refusing to go to ground. The missed conversion left it 10-5. Midway, FW was awarded a penalty and Swain`s kick increased FW`s lead to 13-5.
Soon after, Fort Worth missed another scoring opportunity after being awarded a five meter scrum. The ball was accidently kicked out of the scrum by the second row as Fort Worth was pushing over. OCI picked up the ball and kicked it out near the half way line. Late in the game OCI scored a converted try to make it 13-12, which remained to the end.
Game 4: Fort Worth - 5 Air Force Select - 5
Fort Worth played everybody against an enthusiastic AF side. FW held up the AF runners dozens of times, only to have the resulting scrums awarded to the "attacking side." As a result, the meaningless game was a 5-5 draw.
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