Harpeth Shows Potential At Nash Bash
Harpeth Shows Potential At Nash Bash
The Harpeth Harlequins played this past weekend at NashBash U19 Tournament and provided a glimpse into their potential for the 2018 season.
Having graduated 19 seniors, the strength of this year’s club was somewhat unknown, as many players are stepping into leadership roles left vacant by the strong class of 2017. New faces who are embracing rugby for the first time are also visible on the ASide.
Head Coach/Director of H2 Scott Reagan said, "With only 5 starters returning from last season's team, there was no shortage of questions that needed answering. Our challenge now as a club is to not have to repeat the rugby lessons we learned over the weekend during our regular season! Very proud of how both our A's and B's played over the weekend.”
H2 was given 3 tough matches against visiting out of state teams, and they held their own with these respected programs. St. Xavier [KY] would be up first and would give H2 an opportunity to discover just who they are in 2018. The last time these two clubs competed was in NashBash 2016 in a match that would see the Harlequins come up just shy of the victory with a final score of 5-6. This year’s test would prove to be much of the same. Two strong defensive sides kept the scoring low with hard play for two halves. St. Xavier kicked out of a ruck early in the 1st half and would take advantage of a unsuccessful catch to run it in to the right of the posts. A good conversion put St. Xavier on the board at 7-0. Inside center David Ebert would put it on his boot at the 16min mark to pick up the bounce for H2’s first try of the season. Newcomer wing Cormac Brennan would secure the conversion and tied score of 7-7. St. Xavier would see the try zone once more from a ruck close in. A missed conversion would end the match 7-12.
New Trier, IL, would prove to be a tough opponent for the Quins. Flanker Peyton Arnold would run it in under the posts at the 6min mark, giving Brennan another conversion opportunity. A few minutes later, New Trier would touch it down with no conversion, bringing the score to 7-5. Cormac Brennan puts up 2 penalty kicks at the 14min and 18min into the half to bring the half to 13-5. Newcomer outside center Gavin King would put together a nice run from midfield to put it in at the left corner 7min into the 2nd half, and Brennan once again shows his skill as he converts a very difficult kick to see the score to 20-5. New Trier answers just before the end of the match with 2 unconverted tries to see the whistle signal the H2 win of 20-15.
Sunday morning would bring a steady rain and sloppy rugby conditions. The Badger Selects, WI, who were described as the best side at NashBash with a stout and impressive roster. It was a difficult first half for the Quins as they made many mistakes, allowing the Badger Selects to take advantage and to show their high rugby IQ and athleticism. A lost scrum at midfield for H2 would see the Badgers capitalize by sending it out to their winger, who would run it in under the posts. WI’s #10 would easily make the conversion. 0-7. H2 lost the battle at the try line to see the Badgers pick and jam it in again under the posts to put it 0-14 with a completed conversion. 17min into the half, H2 would attempt a penalty kick and be Brennan’s only miss of the weekend. A few minutes later, the Badgers would put it on their boot deep into H2 territory and would take advantage of a perfect bounce to put it down in the left corner. No conversion, 0-19. The Badgers were not finished with the Harlequins just yet, as they used their back line to get it out to the wing. Multiple offloads would enable them to end the 2nd half with a try in the right corner, no conversion, and a score of 0-24.
Scott Reagan would tell his players that they could do nothing about the 1st half, nor could they change the score in one moment and would encourage them instead to keep doing what they were doing, but better. Telling them to put good series of play together, one at a time. This, they did on both sides of the ball. The Badgers would not visit the try zone again. At 9min, the Harlequins would move the ball during many phases and a long run by fullback Griffin Peale to see newcomer, prop/lock John Taylor, take crash ball over the line and put it down to the left of the posts. Brennan converts. 7-24. With a penalty against the Badgers 5min later, scrum Garrett Peale would set up a play that saw a few phases and allowed Taylor again to pick it up out of a ruck to revisit his earlier try. Brennan converts and makes it 14-24. It would be a Badgers knock on that allowed flanker Peyton Arnold to scoop up the ball and immediately go into a tackle. 8Man Christian Moolman would pick it up out of the ruck about 20m out to run it in for Cormac Brennan to make a final conversion for the tournament from left of the posts. The 21-24 final score would be signaled immediately after. A great test for both sides and an awesome match to end their NashBash 2018 experience. The Harpeth Harlequin program is hoping to maintain this positive momentum as they begin the defense of the TN State Cup this first week of conference play.
Coach Reagan commented, “The boys were tested both mentally and physically by 3 well-coached teams that played hard and smart rugby. Kudos to those programs and best of luck to them this season!
The Nash Bash U19 tournament, run by Chris Gower, is an excellent early-season runout for many teams. St. Xavier of Kentucky showed well, as did the Raptors out of Tennessee and the Chiefs out of Illinois.