Oct. 19 – Thunderbird vs. Prescott Black Sheep
By Jay Stahlman
On a beautiful, sunny Arizona Saturday, the Thunderbird Rugby Club took to the pitch to test our grit against a rag-tag group of guys from Prescott. Being our first competitive match since the tragic accident to one our rugby brothers at Flagstaff 10s tournament, the team was naturally a bit uneasy during pre-game warm-ups. However, I was extremely proud of the courage our boys showed throughout the day. It was truly an inspiring display of teamwork and cooperation as we dominated the 70-minute match from start to finish 38-7.
Prescott arrived a bit under-manned as only 13 people were able to make the trip. We accommodated them with three whores to make for an especially friendly, competitive environment. We could not have written a more perfect start to the match, as we forced an immediate turnover after the kick and marched straight down the field for a powerful try by rookie forward Bryce Jahner. At the end of the first 30 minutes, Thunderbird led 19-7 with especially strong play from veteran forward Chase Ficklin and Captain Matt Erley, who was later named man of the match (but unfortunately feel short in the accompanying boat race).
The highlight of the afternoon was the development of our rookies as a group. The newcomers finally were able to put together everything we have been working on in practice to effectively run, ruck and scrum without penalties. We will continue to work on defensive cohesion and executing line-outs, but overall I am very optimistic about the direction of the club and the talent we can field each weekend. That being said, Thunderbird faces a very difficult test this upcoming Saturday (Oct. 26) against Red Mountain RFC B Side, a local semi-professional team.