Jacksonville RFC travelled down to Fort Myers Beach to compete in the 10th annual Beerfoot Rugby Tournament on July 19-21. With a strong contingent of players traveling, Jax RFC teamed up with a few players from St. Augustine RFC to form the North Florida Lions. The day started off strong, going undefeated in Pool Play. Newcomers to the Jacksonville team, Clark Chancellor and Carrid Scovill, gave extra drive and knowledge to perform at a high level. Ryan “Bubba” Peterson ran incredibly hard and score in every game during pool play. The Lions finished seeded 2nd going in elimination rounds.
The quarterfinal showdown started against Sarasota Saracens. The Lions came out hard from the opening whistle. Defense was on point and relentless, smothering the Saracen attack. The Lions were up 16-5 with one minute remaining. A few mental mistakes on defense allowed the Saracens to climb back into the game. The Lions did however prevail, Final Score Lions 16-15.
The semifinal matchup was against the Master Gators. The Lions learned from the mistakes from the quarterfinal match and corrected them. The defense stifled any kind of attack created by the Gators. Final Score 38-5.
The final matchup came up the host team, Naples RFC. The Lions came out firing, ready to win. Defense remain to contain the Naples attacks. After a back and forth first half, the Lions went into the half only down 0-5. At the break, it seemed the length of day in the hot Florida sun, started to take a toll on the Lions. The Lions made a few key mistakes on defense not coming up flat and Naples exploited very well. With three minutes remaining, the Lions launched one of their final attacks with Bubba Peterson smashing thru the gain line to off load to team captain Chris Potter for the only score in the final for the Lions. The Lions fought hard and put up the best they could, but had to settle for a loss with the final score 32-5.
All in all, the Lions competed with class and control. An incredible thanks to Rob Ambridge for coaching the Lions to a runner-up finish. His discipline and expertise gave the Lions the ability to compete at the level they did all day. All members of Jax RFC and St. Augustine RFC look to build off a great summer and carry the momentum into the 15s season.