The Nashville Grizzlies gay rugby team finished their Fall 2016-Spring 2017 seasons with hardware at the Philadelphia Colonial Cup, the Northeast regional tournament of International Gay Rugby. This has been the team’s most successful year ever with a 17-7 record, including games from two social tournaments in Charlotte and Philadelphia at the end of the Fall and Spring seasons respectively.
The board and coaching staff set a goal of building the team this season and it was successful at their first meeting in July 2016. Through rigorous recruitment and retention of existing players, that goal has been achieved. Practices have been better attended and more productive than ever and recruitment has continued through both seasons. Before the Nashville Pride festival, the team had over 35 prospective players for the next season.
“We experienced a major increase in attendance at practices in the lead-up to the Bingham Cup last year and that momentum has carried through to the end of the Spring season,” said Jimmy Arredondo, Grizzlies head coach.
“I was really happy with the quality of play this season. The team has worked hard on the field during practices and games and off the field through recruitment and team building. The results speak for themselves,” he added.
The Grizzlies won the third tier of competition in Philadelphia, the Franklin Cup.The final game was against the Madison Minotaurs with a score of 27-12. This was the second time this year that the Grizzlies played the Minotaurs.
The regular season is over until September, but the team is currently training for its annual Sevens season to stay in shape during the Summer off season. Sevens is similar to regular Union rugby except that only 7 players from each team are on the field and scrums are not contested.
Practices are open to everybody regardless of experience and sexual orientation. The team practices at Dudley Park (305 Chestnut Street) from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. It is a great opportunity to learn basic rugby skills and stay in shape before the official practices begin in August.
The Grizzlies are registered to play in the Music City 7’s tournament on Saturday, July 8. The games will run from 8:00 – 4:00 pm. The brackets and schedules will be announced on the Grizzlies Facebook page on or before game day.
This is the first time in many years that the team has competed in this particular tournament and is the first time it has played at Ted Rhodes Park since the Bingham Cup last year.