March 1 - 4: Wild West Blues Fest (Maggot Fest wannabe), Scottsdale, AZ
As Reported by Bill Merrill for the Missoulian
The 4th Annual Blues Fest kicked off last Thursday night with the hosts, Scottsdale Blues R.F.C. hosting Missoula in a friendly match. The Maggots gave the Blues all they could handle as the game went to half time tied at 7 points apiece. Missoula's first try came on a 10-meter rumble by Jake Kreilick. The extra point conversion was also good on the toe of Brian Taulbee. Scottsdale, who is 8 games into their season, began to falter in the second half. The Maggots scored a quick try when Maggot Captain Dave Morrison touched down on a 30 meter run. Brian Taulbee failed to make the conversion that time. The Maggots then pressured the Blues in Scottsdale's half of the field for the majority of the second half. With the score 12 points to 7 in favor of Missoula, Scottsdale's fitness became a factor as this was Missoula's first game of the year. The Blues capitalized on a few Maggot miscues to score the game-winning try with less than a minute remaining. The run came on an 85 meter burst by an athletic Blues wing. The extra point sealed the victory for the Blues as the referee whistled full time.
On Saturday, Missoula faired much better with a 2 - 1 record in the tournament. The Maggots started off against another tough side from Chicago. Ultimately the Chicago team outlasted the Maggots with a score of 15 to 8. The last two games of the day would show a much better Maggot side though. Timing and cohesion helped the Maggots win their last two matches in Arizona. The first win came against Tempe Devils who were previously undefeated in league played. Missoula fielded it's best side and cruised to a 10 - 0 win behind newly acquired Australian Tim something. Tim scored a try and a drop goal while Brian Taulbee kicked the conversion. In the final match Missoula poured it on a Miami of Ohio side by the score of 28 - 5 capping a great tour to Arizona. Missoula will next see action against Central Washington Univ. and Valley Kangaroos in Ellensburg WA. on March 17 and 18.
As for off-field tour antics: plungers, carhartts, drag races, baseball, broken glass and Christmas trees. We won the Scottsdale equivalent of the Most Honored Side. Here's some photos.
March 10 vs. Helena All-Blues
We traveled to Sunny Helena rather than play the Jesters in the snow in Missoula and won by something like 4 trys or so to 0. We had a feed at some bar that I can't think of the name of. And then we drove home and stopped somewhere along the way. It was a memorable day!
Ellensburg Funhouse Tour: March 17 vs. CWU, March 18 vs. Valley
CWU: 50, Maggots: 20
Papa and I drove over Sunday a.m. so we missed the CWU game - I can't comment much on it except to say that Jason Ray's got a pretty damn good college side going there.
Maggots: 36, Valley: 20
The team played pretty good but I would have to say the bright spot was Pig's touch judging. Such exuberance!
Here's some photos from the tour!
March 24: vs. Billings
Maggot A-Side: 10, Billings A-Side: 29
Didn't get the monkey off our back. It was a good match in which we had more possession but failed to score when we had opportunities. We were down 12-10 with about 6 minutes left and several breakdowns in our defense allowed Billings to score three trys in short order. Looking forward to the next meeting.
Maggots B-Side: 8, Billings "B"-Side: 27
March 31: Billings Fools Tourney
Maggots: 29, Regina: 15
Maggots: 12, Pokey: 12
Sad to say that, thanks in part to our friends at NorthWorst Airlines, I missed this 1-day tourney. From the sounds of it, we played well the first match. When time for the second match came along guys were more interested in cuddling in the pit under the Cadillac reading bus manuals than playing rugby in the cold.
The party was in a big barn near some pastures (duh, it was Billings). A couple guys in blue jerseys (must have been Kalispell) staged several calves in the chute and let them into the party around midnight or so. THE RUNNING OF THE BULLS! It was the highpoint of the party (and probably the whole tournament) but Billings didn't see it that way. They announced that the party was now over. The Maggots bused up (and took all the fun with them). Once the Maggots were gone, Billings announced that the party would resume. Not! Maggots leave...party resumes. Doesn't add up.
April 7: vs. Bozeman Cutthroats
Maggot A-Side: 24, Bozeman A-Side: 7
Maggot B-Side: 32, Bozeman B-Side: 5
We had a couple of good matches against Bozeman. In the A-match, Bozeman held possession substantially more than us and recycled quite a bit of ball. But, we maintained our composure in defense, holding them to one try. Tory, Papa, Pig and Jakey all scored trys for the Maggots and Bitchbut converted two of them. The score could have been different if a try late in the second half had been upheld. Bozeman touched the ball down in their own in goal and Himsl signaled try awarded. We still don't who would have gotten the points if he hadn't reversed the call. That is something for great rugby minds to ponder in the pit while clicking away highway miles.
We put nearly an entire new side out for the B match and had a real good run. Outstanding play by Brian Briske, and rookies Mark and Jeremy.
April 14: vs. Flathead Moose
Maggot A-Side: 58, Kalispell A-Side: 5 or 7 (not sure if they converted)
Maggot B-Side: 29, Kalispell B-Side: 0
Happy to report there was no snow on the ground and it only snowed a tiny bit during the games. Another notable point was that Tex scored four trys and was named Man of the Match. As Man of the Match, Kalispell presented him a nice Flathead Moose t-shirt. We chose Tex's opposite, a break away who was all over the field, as Kalispell's Man of the Match. Since we were not prepared with a t-shirt to give him, we conducted an archeological dig on the bus and unearthed a couple rare treasures for him - a Star Wars "the Phantom Menace" action figure and a partially-rucked bus manual. Obviously Tex (defending world champion beer skooner) won the chugging match.
Rob Bowden is coaching the Moose now and spirits seem to be pretty high. It was good to see they had some young new faces on the club.
We fed at the pitch then hit Moose's bar. I couldn't believe it, but lo and behold, an Australian flyhalf CAN blow the horn! Who'd a thunk it?
After Moose's we bused up and headed to the Garden Bar in Big Fork. We reminisced a bit about how we Rocked the Garden in '97 on a similar trip - covering the entire dance floor with a giant pit toy. As it turns out, the Lar Brother's brother was playing with his band, the Cold Mountain Rhythm Band, at a bar around the corner. CMRB plays sort of a funky movin' bluegrass that's SNAPPY! The Maggots quickly took control of the dance floor with some old favorites like the fish flop and surfer, plus some NICE individual improvisation. Group improv lead to a new Maggot dance tentatively called the "boot to the head." A big circle of arm in arm Maggots (squeeze up Black) forms on the dance floor while members of the circle take turns hitting the floor in the middle and covering up. All Maggots in the circle give boots to the guy on the floor - staying in time with the music of course. Everyone gets a turn. We left the joint at about 11:30 to the tune of Nancy Reagan.
TOUR QUOTE: "You can't play on the edge without going over once in a while." A spectator's explanation of why things sometimes get a little sketchy on the bus. Especially when the most violent element in society is involved.
April 21, vs. Coeur D'Lene Osprey
Still waiting for news on the scores, etc. But I know we won.
April 28, vs. Spokane Razorbacks
Maggot A-Side: 30, Spokane A-Side: 21
Maggot B-Side: 24, Spokane B-Side: 5
Spokane's forward pack played very well, recycling a lot of ball off of hit ups. We held them off to hold on to a 9-point win. Pig kicked the ball.
We played a short B-game with both sides putting out nearly the same teams. It was a fun, flowing match. Bill kicked the ball.
Bad news: both forward kicks referenced above came off OK. Stay tuned for future match reports when Pig and Bill really fuck things up by kicking in a game.
May 3-6, 25th Maggotfest
If you were there, you know what happened. If you missed it, too bad.
The Missoulian printed a nice bit of propaganda for us, which we've linked here.
May 12-13, Montana Rugby Union Champinonships, Bozeman
We won both cups!
Kalispell forfeited to us in the Quarterfinal
Semifinal Maggots 34, Pocatello 31
Final Maggots 31, Billings 26
B Final Billings forfeited to the Maggots, but we played anyway and won about 25-0
Tex's analysis of Sundays Grand Final:
We beat the Billings Bulls in a very tough and exciting grand final 31-26. The All-Maggots took an early lead by vigorously attacking the opposition's goal line during the opening quarter and came away with two converted penalty kicks in front of the posts with a favorable wind. Then the Maggot fly-Half Timmy scored a try in the same succession of attacks putting the Maggots up 11 points to nil. I'm not quite sure how this happened because I was coming out of the bottom of a ruck just in time to see the try. Billings' threatening back-line was held scoreless until Bulls fullback Pierce attempted a drop goal into the wind which veared wide right and was chased down in a heads up play by Billings' winger, Matt, for an unconverted try. 11-5. The Maggots missed a pentaly goal directly in the middle of the posts to end the half.
Our scrums were not as steady and strong as they have been for most of the season, but Billings' pack was probably the strongest we have faced all year; bar Spokane was tough (but not as tough), Central Washington and Pocatello at state. A great Maggot improvement is the speed of our backline with the forwards to cover field and support them. In the Grand Final the Maggots ran the best lineouts I have ever seen us execute.Our defense is the best it's been in the three seasons I've had with the club.
Piggy came in with fresh legs in the second forty minutes and scored a try. The Maggots then took this part of the game into their own hands and extended the lead by playing ferocious defense, causing the back line to make mistakes. The Maggot centers made the Billings centers pay for it when they kept the ball with quick and hard tackling. "Chad" woofka'd Bulls open side flanker, kazoodo, in a lineout play designed to peel around the front. The Bulls kicking game was ineffective for most of the match as many of their kicks were blocked or covered well.
Timmy added some dynamics to the game as he put some long kicks into open field and continuously found touch. The Maggots held alot of posession throughout the game by crashing their hard running centers back to their support. When the Bulls attacked they rarely found themselves within the Maggot 22 until the end of the game.
I know Rich scored an early try on a long run from the wing where he out ran the whole Billings team to the center of the pitch and weaved the "S" move under the posts for an unconverted try. Someone else scored a try in here but I cannot recall whom (unless we converted a try and a penalty). Somewhere in there the Bulls put in a converted try. Smoothy put the Maggots up by 19 when he intercepted a pass between the outside center and the winger just outside of their 22 meter line and sprinted over the goal for a try.
We were up on them 31 - 12 when they made a run in the last ten minutes. Billings began to take quick penalties and attacking right up the middle creating space on the wings. They put two tries in directly beneath the posts and converted both kicks.
The Maggot sideline grew dangerously quite as the excitement began to reminis of last seasons Grand Final were Billings came back from behind to force overtime and ended up winning. It did indeed look like the Bulls were controlling the game had a chance to win, but there were a good number of Maggots on the pitch whe decided that they were going to do whatever needed to be done to win the game. We finally found that confidence to get up on a strong team (we didn't really hold the lead, something else to work on) and win the game.
Our defense held up in the end as they were attacking the goal line just beneath the posts. The Maggot loose forwards shut down a play off the scrum where the ball was intended to go from the 5/8 back into their strong running flanker but the ball was passed forward under pressure and the final whistle was blown. Maggots won by five: thanks for the penalty points from Fullback Jester Jamie who gave us the six point lead at the beginning of the match, which ended up being the difference in the game. Maggots win by kicking.
The Maggots are Montana State Champions 2001 #15
4)Billings Bill the Bull-Maggot
Subs: Pig on for Bill at the 4/8ths (lock/8) position during half-time.
Praise God for the All-Maggots
And here's a blurb from the Missoulian