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Harpeth Impressive at Nash Bash

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Harpeth Impressive at Nash Bash

The Harpeth Harlequins put together three very impressive games to for 3-0 at Nash Bash this weekend in Nashbill, Tenn..

H2, as they are known in middle TN, took home the Tennessee State Plate Championship their first two seasons, and last year, gave the Ravenwood Raptors a run for their money for the Tennessee Cup Title, earning a 2nd place finish in Tennessee for 2016, as a well as a first appearance on the Goff Report rankings at #42.

In addition, Harlequin Rugby fielded their first 7s side this fall to take home the Tennessee State Cup championship, and produced an undefeated season during which they scored 456 points and allowed only 63 points.

"Great weekend of rugby," said Scott Reagan, Founder, Director, and Coach of H2. "Chris Gower and his Nash Bash team do such a tremendous job organizing this opportunity for the kids. Big thank you to them and the referees who gave up their weekend, some traveling 3-plus hours to be there. We are lucky to have a solid core of experienced, athletic players this season, so the focus of our practices have been more about teaching players to be self-directed decision makers and less about teaching them the basic skills that they already know. The kids responded well to that preparation, and they had a blast! The coaches saw plenty of opportunities for improvement though, so we won't be canceling any practices just yet. Kudos to all the teams that traveled to Nashville.”

Many of the top teams participating at Nash Bash traveled great distances to have an opportunity to play from outside of their area. The snow made tournament organizers postpone and reschedule matches on Saturday and Sunday in order to get them all in, with some clubs having to play a couple of back-to-back matches. The initial disappointment by players and coaches was lifted as the weather moved out and the sun appeared to provide ideal conditions for good rugby. Clubs in the Nashville area were able to take advantage of seeing teams from across the country, who they would otherwise not be able to play. The Harlequins played three A-side and three B-side matches, winning all six.

Recognized for their defense as well as for their offense, Harpeth took on Delbarton first, who are the current and past 3 consecutive State Champs from New Jersey. H2’s inside center, Mitch Rossi, scored their first try of the season as he provided a glimpse into the reputation he has earned on the football field and the rugby pitch as a hard runner. Clutch kicker and outside center Zach Rademacher went 9-13 conversion attempts over the weekend. Scores from Rademacher, No. 8 Nick Galbreath, hooker Jacob Schoeff, and wing Avery Tateshowcased a versatile offense, and led to a 32-12 victory over the New Jersey's based Belbarton.

Knowing the reputation of the Chicago Chiefs, H2 braced themselves for a tough opponent on Sunday morning. Captain and flyhalf Jameson Reagan made big move early on. Reagan got the pass from scrumhalf Jack Shrader off a scrum and made a long run down the left hand side to touch the ball down by the posts. Reagan would eventually pull off a hat-trick in the game and added a conversion for 17 points on his own. With another try from Rossi and two conversions from Rademacher, Harpeth finished off the Chiefs 26-7. 

It was, however, the Arkansas Jr. Stormers match that Harpeth Rugby had been physically and mentally preparing themselves for. The Stormers are a very solid team that targets Nash Bash as a key element of their season. (Jr. Stormers Seek Challenge at Nash Bash), and have some high-level talent on their roster.  

This was a showcase game at the end of the tournament. With Ruben de Haas patrolling scrumhalf and putting teams under pressure with his box kicking, and with lock Steven benson winning lineout ball, they usually won the field position game. 

But bolstered by a strong fan following, H2 didn't back down. They did well to maintain possession and keep the tempo high. Scrumhalf Jack Shrader worked well with the forwards and backs. Prop Kyle Means powered in for the opening try, and Harpeth kept it up. After another hard run, Rossi offloaded to Tate who took it in for another five points. Rademacher’s conversion made the score 14-0. With only a minute left in the first half, Arkansas scored and converted to make it 14-7. Two tries by fullback Matthew Burns would enable H2 to end the match with a 26-7 victory over the Stormers. Players and coaches from both sides agreed this was a true test for their rugby programs.

This was a bit of a coming out for Harpeth to build on their run to the state final last season and the 7s fall. 

-- Additional reporting work by Andrew Buntrock

 

Harpeth Harlequins rugby team 2017.