Monday, February 16, 2015

Ohio Rugby Migrating South for Nash Bash 2015

When the ground thaws and the cleats come out, there are a few Springtime activities that are annual traditions that rugby teams use to ring in the Spring. One of those seasonal rites of spring is Nash Bash, a tournament held in Tennessee for the past 30 years.

Generally, the tournament accommodated men's and women's teams who came down to compete. Last year they had over 75 teams registered and participating in total. The setup of the event is designed to provide matches to teams of similar skill level but from different geographic regions, an arrangement that has made the Bash a go-to destination for a number of women's teams.

While many hear about the Bash for the big kids - with men's, women's and collegiate clubs taking the field - there is also a tournament held for U-19 teams. This event is broken up into divisions for boys and girls in Middle School and High School and takes place prior to the main tournament.

Whether teams are competing in the main event or the U-19 tournament, Nash Bash brings competition from all over the US to one spot to shake off the Winter cobwebs and see who comes out on top. Predicting outcomes is difficult to do, but one thing is for sure: the Buckeye State is well represented throughout all the adult divisions.

As shown by the list of teams above, there is no shortage of rugby to be played between March 21 and 22.Between the men's, women's and collegiate divisions, there is no shortage of strong teams looking to take the field. A number of these teams hail from Ohio.

Most notably on the women's club side is the presence of Scioto Valley. While the pool of women's teams in the Buckeye State is pretty slim, the women from Columbus have found success within their borders and beyond. At the conclusion of 2014, they sat in second in the Division II West 1 with five wins and two losses. En route to that result they secured wins by margins of 46-5 and 60-0. Those scores were against domestic sides, though, and the competition they stand to face at the Bash will likely bring something to the pitch they might have a bit more trouble overcoming. Also representing Ohio in the women's club bracket, are Dayton and Akron.

The women in the college division from Ohio hail from all over the state and are counterparts to some of the more successful men's clubs. Kent State, Wright State, the University of Findlay and Bowling Green State University will all be present at the Bash. Kent State's women are coming off of a successful 2014, capturing a MAC Division Championship and making the Sweet 16 round of playoffs so they will definitely be a team to watch. Wright State and the women from Findlay might be relative mysteries to most collegiate rugby fans, but that's not to say they aren't capable of big things. Wright State secured a 65-38 win over OU in 2014, while Findlay is making their mark on the Northwest region of the state.

Ohio rugby is rolling deep in the men's club division. The auld rivals from the north coast, Cleveland Rugby Club and Cleveland Rovers find themselves competing side by side once again; the unconventional powerhouse from the center of the state, the Columbus Castaways, are set to bring two sides to the competition; Columbus RFC is making an appearance and Queen City will be representing the southern wilds of the state.The Cleveland sides records of success almost as long as their histories as competing clubs. Whether it is in league play or at tournaments like the Bash, both clubs have done two things well: beaten up on each other and beaten up on their competition. The Castaways have a similar track record of their own, They stand atop their division after a successful 2014 campaign.

Baldwin-Wallace, the Black Swamp Mercenaries, Cleveland State University, Wright State and Xavier are among the teams from the Buckeye State that are competing in the men's collegiate division. Ohio University has two teams in the division as well.

There are a lot of strong Ohio-based teams headed to Nash Bash this March. Seeing as a number of these teams are among the strongest in their respective regions of competition, it would not be surprising to see some big results come out once the teams take the pitch.

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