News & Events

The 5th Annual Southern Slam

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The 5th Annual Southern Slam
The “Sunshine State” sure lived up to its name during the first full weekend of 2012, as ten teams enjoyed warm weather and action packed rugby during the 5th Annual Southern Slam in Jacksonville Florida.  Once again the Brooks Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program and their Bandits team hosted what has become one of the premier and most enjoyable rugby tournaments in the league. 
The great mix of teams represented four regions and included the Brooks Bandits, Carolina Crash, Chicago Bears, Magee Eagles, North Texas Cowboys, Pittsburg Steelwheelers, Shepherd Smash, South Florida Rattlers, Tampa Generals, and A.J. Nanayakkarra’s surprising “at large” Global Abilities team.
For three days all the teams played tough hard rugby, and there are too many highlights to mention,…SO SEE FOR YOURSELF – the 5th Annual Southern Slam is what we believe to be the first ever regular season tournament to be streamed live on the web. Teams and players quickly notified so many friends and family to catch the action that there have been over five thousand combined views of the games, which can still be seen at
So after two full days of pool play, it came down to Sunday’s crossover games to determine the final standings. It was longtime rivals Tampa and Shepard who came out on top of their respective pools and collided in the championship game. Shepherd’s formidable high low line (3,3,1,1) consisting of Duane Morrow, Rob Deller, Nate Harmon and Scott Stokes, was too much for a veteran Tampa team that was missing a few players and their longtime leader and coach Dave Ceruti. 
The host Brooks Bandit team faced off with the aforementioned surprise Global Abilities team for the third place trophy. The more experienced players on this “at large” team were hitting their groove by Sunday, and slightly edged out the relatively newer, but fast rising Bandits squad.  
After recently breaking into the top twenty rankings, the Carolina Crash handled the Magee Eagles in the match to decide 5th & 6th places.  The fledgling South Florida Rattlers, along with hired gun Dave Mengyan pulled away from the Chicago team in the fourth quarter to secure the 7th spot.  Attending their first ever Southern Slam, the North Dallas Cowboys were playing their best rugby come Sunday and ended their weekend on a high note by easily defeating Pittsburg in the match deciding the 9th & 10th positions
The Southern Slam has quickly become such an amazing tournament that it has to regretfully turn many interested teams away. Besides great rugby and warm weather, players love that airport, hotel and venue transportation are available, that everybody socializes and enjoys NFL playoff football at the evening barbeques held at the host hotel. 
Again this year Airgas Inc. offered free onsite welding for anyone needing wheelchair repairs. Committed sponsors continue to show their support; this year Vesco donated an offensive rugby chair for an auction won by John Robinson, Eagle donated and auctioned off a new set of Spinergy wheels to top bidder Matt Richardson, and lastly Scott Stokes won himself a new set of Spinergy wheels that were donated and raffled off Xcalibur.
Thank you to all those who worked so hard to make this the best Southern Slam yet (until next years), it couldn’t have been a success without our big sponsors Vesco and Invacare, all the volunteers and especially Alice Krauss and all those with those with the Brooks Sports and Adaptive Program.
(Tournament Awards below/attached)
.05 – Matt Reynolds, Texas Cowboys
1.0 – A.J. Nanayakkarra, Global Abilities
1.5 – Eric Anderson, Magee Eagles
2.0 – Mark Herdon, Global Abilities
2.5 – Cody Kingsland, Brooks Bandits
3.0 – Duane Morrow, Shepherd Smash
3.5 – Justin Leclaire, Chicago Bears
Sportsmanship Award – Heather Schultz, Magee Eagles
MVP – Dave Jenkins, Carolina Clash
Extra Awards
Sticky Picker – Joe Bennet, Brooks Bandits
Speed Demon – Shane Crider, Texas Cowboys
Wrecking Ball – Chris Hull, Brooks Bandits
January 30, 2012 — 7:26am