October 21st @UofA

Little Rock traveled to Northwest Arkansas for the first friendly match of the season against Arkansas Rugby (UofA).  Unfortunately, our field hosts, John Brown University, had their away game canceled last minute, however since Saturday’s a rugby day, all three teams decided on a round-robin competition. Three (3) 40-minute halves were played:

First - Little Rock versus Arkansas
Second - Little Rock versus JBU
Third - JBU versus Arkansas

During the first matchup, Arkansas Rugby came out of the gate strong with a good running game and took the lead 14-0. After the first try scored for Little Rock by Win, LR found their stride and came back strong. Blake took a 60-meter try, then setup Tripp for the next try, placing LR in a 19-14 lead over AR. Chance got the ball off to Blake for loooong try, resulting in the final score: Little Rock, 26 and Arkansas Rugby, 14.

During the second matchup, Win scores again for Little Rock putting LR in the lead over JBU. The first match must have loosened everyone up because LR let up - Tripp and Mark scored back-to-back, then Ben scored and made his own conversion, putting LR in a 28-0 lead. JBU scored a try and made a conversion, but LR answered with Ronnie getting the ball off to Sanders for a try, then Josh making the final try for LR. Final score: Little Rock, 38 and JBU, 7.

Alexander Winans
@OKC April 16

The Stormers needed to travel to OKC and take care of business if they wanted to control their own destiny in their quest for the Red River North Title.  They accomplished just that in a very workmanlike manner.  Darren Oliver once again led the Stormers offense, he accounted for 20 points with 4 Tries. Ronnie Parkinson scored 2 Tries and kicked 4 conversions. The remainder of Little Rocks score sheet was dotted with familiar faces that tallied one Try each: Blake Blaylock, Corey Jones and Matt Guest. Parkinson was voted Man of the Match by the OKC Club.  The season scoring crown is coming down to Ronnie Parkinson and Darren Oliver with a possible Wrench thrown into the mix. Mike Baum is back from injury and may resume his kicking duties which could take away points from Parkinson's Boot. If I was a betting man, don't bet against Oliver, he always comes up big in epic clashes which is a good description for this weeks final Home Matchup with Tulsa.

Kevin Waltermire
April 2 vs. Fort Worth

Perfect weather and surprisingly fast field conditions greeted the Stormers following a week off for the Good Friday/Easter Weekend.  The temperature was a perfect 65 degrees with a noticeable shortage of humidity, a slight wind and cobalt colored sky.  Despite nearly 4 inches of rain during the week prior to kickoff the pitch was dry and thanks to the effort of Groundskeeper Willie, John Keller, rolled to an even plane.

Little Rock took advantage of the exemplary conditions by accelerating rapidly to 10-0 Lead in the first ten minutes of the match.  Blindside Flanker Kevin Schanke scored 5 minutes in and Openside Flanker Mike Houston scored at the 10 minute mark.  Neither of these Tries were converted.

The twelfth minute saw Little Rock Scrumhalf Matt Guest score his 1st try of the day.  Winger Blake Blaylock followed that up with a Try followed by the day’s first conversion by Ronnie Parkinson to make the score 22-0.  The scoring up to that point were mere appetizers leading up to Andrew Winter’s, Silky, Try.  The Tighthead Prop took a pass off the Ruck from the five meter line and with a herculean effort he was able to ram the Gilbert Match Ball unapologetically into the Try Zone.  The onerous task was made even more difficult as he lugged several of the opposing players forcibly along for the ride.  Parkinson followed with conversion to make the score 29-0. Darren Oliver found the previous feat of strength tough to copy so he just scored on a long loping run. Parkinson added his third conversion of the day for a 36 point lead.  Fort Worth scored a very impressive team try as they pushed into the Scoring Column to start the second half with a conversion to make it 36-7.  Kevin Ryan replaced Winters at Tighthead in the 43rd minute and celebrated by scoring his first try 7 Minutes later to make the score 41-7.  Guest scored his 2nd try of the day in the 54th minute.  Parkinson added to his yearly try total by scoring in the 73rd minute to increase the lead to 39 points, 46-7.  Win  Noble  scored two tries in the final 5 minutes of the match to bring him even with Darren Oliver atop the Season Try Leaderboard with 10 apiece.  Noble is trying to supplant Oliver as the reigning Season Try Champion. Parkinson converted both of Noble’s Tries to make the final score 65-7.

Overview- The score did not indicate how hard Fort Worth played.  They had quite a few bone-crushing hits and they attacked the Rucks with power.  The opponents from western side of the Metroplex is a young team and will be a tough team in the next few years. Darren Oliver was Man of the Match for Little Rock.

Narada Jackson was Man of the Match from his Fullback position for Fort Worth.  Jackson made what should be considered the best open field defensive play of the year.  He was faced with a 4-1, 40 meters from the Little Rock Try Line and he was able to force the attackers into run into Touch resulting in a Line Out favoring his side.

Kevin Waltermire
Three-Quarter Season Review

The Stormer’s Men stand at 6-1 for the spring 2016 Season and atop the Red River North Standings. The only blemish on their record a hard fought 27-41 loss at Tulsa, despite a Red Card in the 33rd minute which caused the Stormers to play with only 14 men for the last 42 minutes of the match. 

Playing within the friendly confines of the Little Rock Rugby Complex, the Stormer’s are 3-0 this season to increase their Home winning streak to 21 games.  There are two more home games on the spring docket, April 2nd vs Fort Worth Rugby and the anticipated rematch with Tulsa on April 23rd.

First year Coach Brad Hogate brings his Ivy League experience with him to formulate a strong defense that is allowing on average 15 points per match thru the first 6 contests.  The offense is continuing its scoreboard dazzling pace from last year as they are putting up an average of 51 points on their opponents.

Early in the season the Stormer’s offense was led by newcomer Mike Baum. Baum was also filling in for last year’s MVP Chance Hugh’s boot as Hugh recovers from Lis franc surgery in the offseason.  Hugh came back for the Tulsa match to score a Try, Slot in two penalty kicks and add two Conversions however a reoccurrence of the injury has led to the need for a few more weekends of rest. Baum has had to sit out a few matches to heal an injury but is expected back soon.

The last few games the Stormer’s offense has been powered by the pack highlighted by Win Noble’s four try performance vs. DARC in early March.  Following a slow start, the ever hyperbolic Ronnie Parkinson has picked up the pace and the kicking job in Baum’s absence by converting on 11 Tries.

Darren Oliver continues to quietly and steadfastly put together another strong season with 9 Tries to his credit despite playing out of position, scrumhalf, for the OKC match and missing the match at Shreveport.  

The defense has been buoyed by the effervescent Team Captain Josh Wolverton.  He was solely responsible for causing four turnovers by attacking the ruck with abandon.  His ability to get over the ball in a tackle situation and cause either penalties or turnovers is unmatched in the Stormer’s history.

The Stormers have had trouble with the injury bug this spring but a deep and experienced roster has accepted the challenge. The list of contributors has inundated not only the Try scoring sheet but most all of the Red River North Conference in 2016. 

FORT WORTH 2-13-16

The Little Rock Stormers Men travelled down to the Metroplex for a matchup with the always tough Ft. Worth Rugby Club. The weather conditions for the 2:00 Kickoff were partly sunny, 65 Degrees, with a gusty southeast wind to 17 MPH. The field conditions were excellent as Fort Worth plays on an artificial surface.

The Stormers started the Match with lightning bolt speed. Scrumhalf Matt Guest scored before a single minute had elapsed from the Referee’s official timepiece. The conversion was accurate for a 7-0 lead.  Mike Baum, Win Noble, and Corey Jones continued the precipitant illumination of the scoreboard before the timepiece reached 20 Minutes. Baum’s Try came in the 6th minute with a conversion, Noble’s Try followed in the 11th  minute with no conversion, and Jones in the 18th minute with a conversion.

Defense ruled the final 20 minutes of the first half until the very end when Baum scored his second try in the 40th minute. The conversion was no good but the Little Rock side was staked to a 31-0 Lead

Fort Worth scored in the 50th minute but failed on the conversion. The Stormers responded quickly with a Try by Team Captain Josh Wolverton. The Conversion following Wolverton’s Try was no good.  Noble scored his second try of the match in the 58th minute with the conversion made the score 43-5.

The 60th minute was highlighted by a Fort Worth Try without a conversion. The Stormers finished the match with 3 more Try’s. Darren Oliver in the 65th Minute, Baum with his third Try of the match and Gianni Palmiero entered the Try Zone for the first time this season. Two of the three conversions were good to pin the final score as 62-10.

The Stormers B Team travelled to Fort Worth. They were also victorious winning a close contest by a mere conversion.

Man of the Match “A” Side: Matt Guest

Man of the Match “B” Side: Tom High

Kevin Waltermire
DARC 1-16-2016

The Little Rock Stormers Men's Team kicked off their 2016 Spring Matrix Season on Saturday January 16 in Dallas vs. DARC.  DARC, Dallas Area Rugby Club, is a new member of the D2 Red River North Conference.  DARC was promoted from D3 last season after winning the TRU D3.   

The Stormers journeyed the 4.5 hours on Saturday morning with 31 players in preparation for the 2PM kickoff.

The visitors jumped out to a 17-0 Halftime powered by Tries from Mike Baum, Darren Oliver and Win Noble and one conversion following Oliver's try.  Baum was credited with the conversion.

The second half started with a bang in the 44th minute as Oliver scored his second try of the match and Baum followed with his second conversion to increase the lead to 24-0.  The floodgates opened starting in the 55th minute with a try by Corey Jones followed quickly by tries from Matt Guest and Blake Blaylock.  Thefinal try of the day was scored by Dan Winn in the 75th minute. The final points of the day were courtesy of Mike Baum's right boot giving the Stormers a 46-0 win.

Nate Tucker was named Man of the Match.  This was Nate's first match back following Knee Surgery.  Oliver kick started his attempt to break his own record for Tries in Season that he set last spring.

A B-Match followed the first match.  The Stormers completed the Mid January sweep with a 17-12 victory

Kevin Waltermire