—Matrix match: Competitive game played for standing within the division
—Try: Score worth five points
—Conversion kick: Kick worth two points
—Scrum: Set piece in which two packs of eight players bound together and crouched compete for the ball
—Line-out: Set piece in which "lifters" lift a "jumper" into the air to compete for the ball, which is thrown in from the sideline
—Ruck: Mini-scrum occurring when the ball goes to ground and is not immediately picked up
—Maul: Temporary method of moving the ball up the pitch by binding onto the ball carrier and driving forward
Chattanooga Rugby Football Club, the Scenic City’s men’s rugby club, put its Division 3 side—Nooga Black—on the pitch for its first matrix match for a 24-7 loss to Huntsville at Montague Park.
The first half saw a fair amount of back-and-forth trades in possession between the two sides with strong runs by Nooga Black back line players Daniel Tardy and Hoyt Watson, along with forward Jeff Zellner, while several Huntsville attacks up the sidelines were stopped by tackles from Mike Davis.
Neither team was able to earn points in halftime.
The second half opened with Tardy putting the first points on the board with a try in the middle of the posts. Lee Maclellan followed the score with a successful conversion kick.
Huntsville, however, answered rapidly with a succession of tries won on outside runs when the traveling team’s quick hands were quicker than Nooga Black’s feet.
With the frigid weather allowing a thin, albeit permanent, layer of ice to form on the ball, back line players from both teams incurred several knock-ons and dropped balls.
Nooga Black experienced trouble counter-rucking effectively, and although the team didn’t suffer a stolen ball, the scrum was frequently put on its back feet by the Huntsville pack in the second half.
At the line-out, Clayton Parr and Jeff Hall connected well, and Nooga Black was able to utilize a sink-drive maul technique before getting the ball out to the line.
The final 15 minutes of the match made for a dramatic push from Huntsville and an even more dramatic push back by Nooga Black, holding the Alabama team at the 5-meter line with several scrums, line-outs and saving tackles.
Zellner was named Man of the Match.
Nooga Red, CRFC’s Division 2 side, was scheduled to play Knoxville Possums after the Nooga Black-Huntsville contest. The day’s second match was canceled because of weather and is currently being rescheduled.
Up next for CRFC is a rematch between Nooga Black and Huntsville on Saturday, Feb. 9, while Nooga Red travels to Kentucky to play the Hopkinsville Headhunters on the same day.