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Tigers, Raptors Clash in Entertaining Nash Bash Final

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Tigers, Raptors Clash in Entertaining Nash Bash Final

Charlotte Tigers in action at the Carolina Ruggerfest. Alex Goff photo.

The Nash Bash U19 tournament was held this past weekend with the tournament culminating in a close final between Tennessee-based Raptors and North Carolina's Charlotte Tigers.

The Raptors made the final thanks to a 42-7 win over Ridgefield (Conn.) and a 31-5 win over Michigan-based Rockford Rams.

The Raptors were led by a very strong effort from the forwards and a big weekend from center Barron Lankford. 

The Tigers also faced some stern competition for both their A side and B side.

The B side of the Charlotte Tigers kicked off their campaign with a closely contested encounter against the #48-ranked Rebel Rugby team. Despite a valiant effort, they fell short in a tight opening match. However, they quickly bounced back, displaying their resilience by securing convincing victories against the Spring Hill Raiders (12-0) and the Knoxville Hounds (53-0).

Meanwhile, the A side of the Charlotte Tigers looked very strong early on. They defeated Rockford 39-5 and Ridgefield58-5. 

So that set up the final. This was a very entertaining match. In a thrilling display of skill and determination, the Raptors took an early lead through. a try from Lankford in the first half. Flanker Max Orefice, who led the forward effort, scored also to make it 10-0 for the Raptors.

The Tigers bounced back, however, and picked up their game in the second half. Junior flyhalf Vincent Keller emerged as a catalyst for their comeback, scoring a crucial try in the corner to put the Tigers on the scoreboard. With the momentum shifting in their favor, the Tigers mounted a counter-attack with fullback Jackson Wilson, who found some space and raced in to tie the game 10-10. Keller converted to nudge the Tigers ahead 12-10.

As tensions soared and the clock ticked away, Keller showed his composure, putting a 40-meter penalty kick over the bar to extend the Tigers' lead to 15-10. Despite a relentless onslaught from the Raptors in the closing moments of the game, the Charlotte Tigers stood firm in defense, thwarting every attempt and securing a hard-fought victory.

The Tigers' scoring leaders for the weekend were sophomores Brody Evans and William Taylor, whose contributions were instrumental in the team's success. Meanwhile, the defense was anchored by sophomore props John Restrepo and Aiden Gallant, along with senior locks Braedon Butte and Aden Harrell, whose formidable presence ensured that the Tigers remained resolute in the face of adversity.

The match against Raptors White was undoubtedly the highlight of the tournament, showcasing the resilience, skill, and tenacity of both teams.