Playing the Field: Seasons rock and roll

Match-ups from across the Carolinas

by Jon Hoppel  Contributing Writer  
Published: October 11, 2013 in Playing the Field

Welcome back! Its fall, and a lot of team sports in the Carolinas have started their fall seasons. So, whether you are into softball, rugby, roller derby or all of the above, go check them out before the season is over!

Royals Josh Whaley winning a lineout. Photo Credit: Alex Aguilar

Royals Josh Whaley winning a lineout. Photo Credit: Alex Aguilar

Rugby

The Charlotte Royals have started the second half of the year in dominant form. On Sept. 14, Charlotte took on the Nashville Grizzlies for their semi-annual Juggfest match in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and crushed the once formidable Grizzlies, 85-7. The match showed off the talents of Garrett Jordan, a forward making the transition to backline player. Taking to his new position like a fish to water, he rumbled down the field for multiple scores, leaving several Nashville players in his wake and earning Man of Match honors from both teams. This huge win gave the Royals a ton of momentum heading into their second match of the season, against Table Rock Rugby Club on Sept. 28.

Table Rock and Charlotte have played many times over the years and Table Rock has come out victorious every time and usually by big margins. But, going into the game, Coach Amanda Vestal had a feeling that this might be the year that the Royals vanquished their most vaunted of opponents. And, she was right. Charlotte came out aggressive and matched Table Rock’s intensity from the beginning, stopping them twice near their own goal line before charging down the field and scoring the first try of the match by Josh Whaley. Both teams continued to grind it out, but Charlotte was able to put another score on the board right before halftime, leading to a 12-0 score.

Charlotte Royals were joyous after their huge win against Tablerock. Photo Credit: Alex Aguilar

Charlotte Royals were joyous after their huge win against Tablerock. Photo Credit: Alex Aguilar

Table Rock came out in the second half like a new team, catching the Royals in a sluggish temperament and scoring in the first two minutes. But, that was the wakeup call the Royals needed, answering with a score of their own five minutes later. The game was a slugfest after that. Both teams grew more physical and the war of attrition began for the rest of the half until Table Rock was able to capitalize on a Royals turnover deep in their own end and scoring, lessening the gap in score 17-12 with 10 minutes left in the game.

BJ Smith making a pass. Photo Credit: Alex Aguilar

BJ Smith making a pass. Photo Credit: Alex Aguilar

Knowing that Charlotte’s lead was tenuous at best against a team like Table Rock, captain Danny Wadsworth urged his team to press and stay aggressive. Which they did, leading to a final try by Garrett Jordan to seal the game with two minutes left. 24-12, Royals!

Next up for the Charlotte Royals is the Atlanta Buck’s Ruck-a-Buck tournament the on Oct. 14, followed by a slew of home matches to finish out the year. For more information, go to charlotteroyals.org.

Kickball

Raleigh’s newly formed Stonewall Kickball league began their first season on Sept. 29. The 8-team league “is an LGBTQ & Ally community-based, non-profit sports league that strives to raise funds for the LGBT Center of Raleigh and other local non-profit organizations. Our league values each player for who they are and what they bring to the league’s community.” The league runs for 8 weeks, until Nov. 17, every Sunday from 1-4 p.m. at Halifax Park and Community Center in Raleigh.

The first week’s standings are as follows:

1. Oak City, Pitch
2. Raleighwood Ballers
3. I’ll Cut a Pitch
4. Free Ballers
5. Pitch Slap
6. The Horns
7. The Southern Balls
8. Sir Walter

If you would like to support their league, go to Facebook at facebook.com/stonewallsports and check out the Stonewall Kickball — Raleigh page for more information.

Softball

Carolina Softball Alliance also started up their fall season on Sept. 29 at Revolution Park, 2425 Barringer Dr., in South Charlotte. The league has five very competitive teams and will be playing every Sunday thru Nov. 17 as well. If you’d like to join, support or get more information for next year’s spring season, check out their website at carolinasoftball.org.