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9th Annual Columbus Collision

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9th Annual Columbus Collision
December 11th & 12th
The 9th Annual Columbus Collision took place December 11th and 12th in Columbus, Ohio. This years tournament drew seven teams from the expanding Heartland Section and one team from way up north in Canada. The Heartland Section is expanding in Kentucky, as they brought two teams, TNT and Kentucky II. Michigan is also expanding, the Storm were back for another run and brought with them the newly developing team from Grand Rapids. Rounding out the field would be host Ohio, Indy, Pittsburgh and London (Canada). The growth in the Heartland is exciting and it brought some exciting rugby to the 9th Annual Columbus Collision.
The opening day games saw the higher seed taking care of business with TNT beating Grand Rapids 54-18, London beating Pittsburgh 53-27 in the first set of games. The only exception, was the #3 seeded, London team upsetting the #1 seeded TNT team 47-46, London being led by eventual tournament MVP and the dominating play of Garrett Hickling. Other matchups were Michigan dominating the developing Kentucky II team 61-21, Ohio playing without 3.5, Danny White(surgery) lost to Indy by 5, 40-35. Pittsburgh matched up against Grand Rapids and took care of the new team 46-25. 
The Michigan Storm is looking even better this season with the addition of import player Ben Perkins (2.0), giving them 3 ball handlers on the court, making them tough to stop, as Indy saw in their match up, losing 55-26. Ohio got in the win column beating Kentucky II 43-23. The last two sets of games on Saturday the higher seed took care of the lower seeds, TNT beating Pittsburgh, London taking care of Grand Rapids, Michigan beating Ohio easily and Indy winning against Kentucky II. 
It seemed that London would be able to cruise to the finals on Sunday if they could take care of Indy, the question would be could the #2 seed Michigan Storm take care of TNT to get to the final game.
Sunday came as did the snow, Columbus being coated with an early snow making the eventual drive home for the ruggers a slow trip. 
The day started with Ohio defeating Grand Rapids 42-25 and Pittsburgh beating Kentucky II to setup a game for 5th and 6th. As expected London got by Indy winning 47-25 to get a chance to win the championship.  Michigan, lead by the dominating play of Scot Severn and quality help from Ben Perkins and up and coming 2.0, Eric Chase beat up on TNT, playing without Ernie Chun, who stayed home sick for the weekend, winning 55-34. The championship was set, Michigan versus London. 
The battle for 7th and 8th was between the two newer teams, Kentucky II would get the win over Grand Rapids, probably due to a bit more experience. The 5th and 6th place game was a match up of Ohio versus Pittsburgh, this game stayed close until the fourth period as Ohio started to fatigue and Pittsburgh opened it up to take 5th place winning by 6 points, 36-30. 
The final game of the weekend would be a matchup of London and the Michigan Storm. The two teams traded goals for the first 8 minutes with the first quarter ending tied up at 11. London came out in the second blazing, as Dave Willisie and Garrett Hickling each scored a pair of unanswered goals stretching the lead to 4 goals and that is what the advantage would be at the half, London 28 and Michigan 24. The third quarter would allow London to stretch their lead by going on a 6-0 run to make it 45-35. That would be the difference in this championship game, London beat Michigan 61-51 to take the title. London, with the power and speed of veterans Willisie and Hickling proved to be too much for Michigan.
The tournament ended with the awards, TNT came in third, Michigan got second and London took the championship trophy back north of the border. The All-Tournament Team was headed by MVP, Garrett Hickling (London), All-Tourney High Pointer, Dave Mengyan (Michigan), Mid-Pointer, Brian Burger (TNT) and All-Tourney Low-Pointer, Brett Harbage (Ohio) rounded out the All-Tournament Team.
Thanks to all the teams for participating in this great weekend of rugby, thanks to Columbus Parks and Recreation for a great facility, thanks to the referees and classifiers as well as all the great volunteers that make these tournaments possible.
By: Brett Harbage
December 28, 2010 — 9:30pm