The inaugural 2018 Texas hold'em Wheelchair Rugby tournament was held in Las Vegas Nevada this past weekend. The tournament at the Chuck Minker sport complex featured 6 teams. “We had world champions all the way down to emerging athletes” said hold’em tournament director Bob Murray. The tournament showcased some of the most elite athletes the sport had to offer. “We were very pleased with the tournament” send Murray “and we were even more impressed with the level of play on the court”.
Tournament play kicked off Friday morning and featured early matchups that would have crossover implications. In pool play Australia asserted its dominance by defeating the Patriots as well as taking down Denver. 2018 national champion University of Arizona did quick work with the Texas Stampede and the Tampa General's. An early surprise in pool games saw Tampa triumph over Texas.
Saturdays crossovers would feature some of the best rugby of the tournament. Denver with crossover against Tucson in a back and forth battle that was not be decided until late in the fourth. Australia would push through Tampa’s quest 2 make a final. In the second crossover the Patriots would lose to the Stampede. In the double crossover the much awaited match up between Australia and University of Arizona would see a fantastic game through 3/4 with Australia edging out the Wildcats. Denver would face Tampa and easily beat the Generals. And finally the Stampede would beat the Patriots in their second match up0.
Sunday would see the finals and some great matchups. Texas would face the Patriots for the third time, Denver would take on Tampa, and Australia matched up with University of Arizona for the championship. In the 5/6 game Texas went back and forth with the Patriots and at no point was there more than a 2 point separation between the lead. Both sides traded goals until the final buzzer where the Stampede were able to win.
Denver v Tampa the 3/4 game saw Tampa having to play Ironman rugby with only 4 players at times during the contest. “We had issues with equipment that couldn't be fixed easily” said coach Dave Ceruti. Led behind a strong bench the Harlequins were able to grab the lead in the second and not look back winning the contest.
The final would be a great matchup between the Steelers from Australia and the Wildchairs of Arizona. Both teams have met previously in the match and provided some of the best rugby of the tournament . this match would be no different. Arizona led behind world champion and Arizona import Daisuki Ikesaki would strike first and put immediate pressure on Australia. The Steelers were poised and calm as they feel down by 2. Australia would wakeup and correct the turn over bug and begin to cause havoc of their own. Both sides subbed frequently and as play entered into the fourth quarter Australia held a one point lead with less than a minute. Arizona was able to steal the ball and score the tying goal with 36 seconds left on the clock. Australia would come down and score with 4.6 seconds left on the clock. Arizona would use a timeout to advance the ball to have court and go for a last second inbound from Helton that ultimately Fleece was unable to handle . Australia wins the inaugural Texas hold’em tournament in a thriller..
Teams in order of finish Australia University of Arizona Denver Tampa Texas and the Patriots. The all tournament team was best low pointer Lee Fredette, best mid point Joe Delagrave best high pointer Anthony McDaniel and the MVP Chris Bond.
No tournament can happen without sponsors. Special thank you to CandR medical , Vesco metal craft chairs Golden nugget Chuck meeker Sports Complex and Robert Murray, and Gabriel Garcia. We appreciate all you did to put on a great event.