IN a thrilling game against their main division two rivals, played with plenty of aggression and no small measure of skill, the Christ Church XV emerged resoundingly victorious. This win means that they have secured promotion for the third successive season.The match was electric from the start, with a powerful run from the kick off by Christ Church prop Chris Hughes setting the tone for a solid forward display from his side. At the beginning of the game the Worcester fringe defence was tested to the limit by the strength and dynamic running of the Christ Church pack. However, despite this period of dominance, points were hard to come by as Worcester tackled hard, with plenty of committment. Their first real scare came when the Worcester wing dealt poorly with fly half Ashley Gillard’s kick, allowing his opposite number Chris Cole to steal the ball and make nearly 70 metres before being hauled down. Cole continued to look dangerous, and it was his menacing running that brought the first breakthrough, a score touched down by full-back Jamie Holdoway on the left touchline after an excellent break. When this was converted by sure-footed Gillard, Christ Church felt they had gained just reward for their dominance. Worcester came back strongly however, exerting pressure on the Christ Church line, but some excellent tackling right on the line by open-side Ian Horn denied them a try. The importance of this missed opportunity was heightened when Christ Church captain Christopher Perfect finished off a period of sustained pressure to bring the scoreline to 12-0. However, the effort being put in by the Christ Church side was starting to tell, and when a couple of sloppy penalties were conceded, Blues footballer Lucian Weston stepped up to show off the full range of his skills. He converted both, and suddenly the game was right back in the balance. The Christ Church try-line was under siege, and when Worcester scrum-half Ben Battcock finally burrowed over on the stroke of half time, the successfully struck conversion gave them a lead of a single point. The momentum seemed to have swung Worcester’s way, and when Ian Horn was sent to the sin-bin for persistent infringement the game looked to be Worcester’s for the taking. However, the Christ Church forwards dug in for a supreme effort, and when Dan Barnes went over for his team’s third try while they were still down to 14 men, it seemed to change the complexion of the game. It was at this point a Christ Church victory was secured. Despite the loss of inside-centre Duncan Chiah to a nasty head wound, the controlled rugby that they played during the last twenty minutes allowed them two more tries, including a second for Dan Barnes, securing their victory.Captain Chris Perfect was pleased with his side’s performance, telling reporters “It was a good win against a good side, and we will look forward to playing them again next season” He appeared enthusiastic about his side’s prospects for the next season, and looks forward to testing his side against the very best in college rugby. The disappointed Worcester side will be looking for a solid performance next week in order to secure their own promotion hopes, however Christ Church can start to plan their assault on the top flight of college rugby.
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Chris Abelson led every lap in winning Thursday’s Arnold Motor Supply Hawkeye Dirt Tour main event for IMCA Modifieds at Knoxville Raceway. (Photo by Barry Johnson)KNOXVILLE, Iowa (July 20) – Chris Abelson made sure the race was for second Thursday night at Knoxville Raceway.Abelson started on the pole and led all 25 laps of the Arnold Motor Supply Hawkeye Dirt Tour main event.A caution with six circuits to go in the IMCA Modified headliner put Todd Shute right behind Abelson for the restart, but Shute’s challenge ended with bobble on the final circuit. Abelson pulled away to the $1,500 Dynamic Drivelines Dirt Duel checkers to become the sixth different winner in as many tour events this season.Shute ended in second. Richie Gustin was third and Jeff Aikey fourth. Hard charger Justin Kay started 15th and finished fifth.Joel Rust and Kelly Shryock came into the night tied for the tour point lead. Rarely separated by more than a car or two, Rust finished eighth, one spot ahead of Shryock, and will take the top spot in the standings to the July 25 show at Dubuque Speedway.Abelson, the defending Side Biter Chassis North Central Region and 2016 Hawkeye Dirt Tour champion, now owns four career HDT feature wins. He’d also won at Knoxville three years ago and was already vote eligible for the upcoming Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational.Curtis Van Der Wal was the Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod winner at Knoxville. He got the lead early in the 20-lapper and negotiated lapped traffic in outrunning Tim Plummer and Brayton Carter.Results Modified feature – 1. Chris Abelson, Sioux City; 2. Todd Shute, Des Moines; 3. Richie Gustin, Gilman; 4. Jeff Aikey, Cedar Falls; 5. Justin Kay, Wheatland; 6. Cayden Carter, Oskaloosa; 7. Troy Cordes, Dunkerton; 8. Joel Rust, Grundy Center; 9. Kelly Shryock, Fertile; 10. Hunter Marriott, Brookfield, Mo.; 11. Eric Elliott, Boone; 12. Kyle Brown, Madrid; 13. Randy Havlik, Boone; 14. Cory Sauerman, Johnson; 15. Ricky Thornton Jr., Chandler, Ariz.; 16. Justin Gregg, Hastings, Neb.; 17. Brandon Banks, Washington; 18. Jacob Murray, Hartford; 19. Kurt Kile, Nichols; 20. Tim Ward, Harcourt; 21. Cody Bauman, Eureka, Ill.; 22. Chris Zogg, New Liberty; 23. Jason Murray, Hartford; 24. Shane DeMey, Denison.1st heat (top three) – 1. Abelson; 2. Aikey; 3. Gregg; 4. Kile; 5. Elliott; 6. Kay; 7. Nick Roberts, Des Moines; 8. T.J. Smith, Menasha, Wis.; 9. Jordan Walker, Cedar Rapids.2nd heat – 1. Gustin; 2. Jacob Murray; 3. Thornton; 4. Carter; 5. Rust; 6. Banks; 7. Tyler Madigan, Peosta; 8. Sauerman; 9. Doug Rivera, Yuma, Ariz.; 10. Jarrett Brown, Ainsworth.3rd heat – 1. Ward; 2. Cordes; 3. Havlik; 4. DeMey; 5. Zogg; 6. Todd Inman, Altoona; 7. Bauman; 8. Griffin McGrath, Cedar Rapids; 9. Tyler Gross, Ankeny.4th heat – 1. Shute; 2. Marriott; 3. Shryock; 4. Jason Murray; 5. Kyle Brown; 6. Cole Hall, Sheffield; 7. Clayton Christensen, Spencer; 8. Kent Rosevear, Yuma, Ariz.; 9. Garrett Wilson, Carlisle.1st “B” feature (top five) – 1. Kile; 2. Kay; 3. Elliott; 4. Zogg; 5. Bauman; 6. Roberts; 7. Smith; 8. Walker; 9. Gross; 10. Todd Inman; 11. DeMey; 12. McGrath; 13. Jarrett Brown.2nd “B” feature – 1. Carter; 2. Rust; 3. Jason Murray; 4. Kyle Brown; 5. Banks; 6. Madigan; 7. Wilson; 8. Rivera; 9. Hall; 10. Rosevear; 11. Sauerman; 12. Christensen.Northern SportMod feature – 1. Curtis Van Der Wal, Oskaloosa; 2. Tim Plummer, Norway; 3. Brayton Carter, Oskaloosa; 4. Randy Roberts, Boone; 5. Carter VanDenBerg, Oskaloosa; 6. Cody Olsen, Omaha, Neb.; 7. Brett Lowry, Montezuma; 8. Sam Wieben, Dysart; 9. Dusty Masolini, Des Moines; 10. Ethan Braaksma, Newton; 11. Cory Van Zante, Sully; 12. Johnathon Logue, Boone; 13. Adam Shelman, Ames; 14. Colton Livezey, New Sharon; 15. Jake McBirnie, Boone; 16. Taylor Musselman, Norwalk; 17. John Watson, Des Moines; 18. Thomas Egenberger, Des Moines; 19. Trenton Brink, Bussey; 20. Bill Wears, Des Moines; 21. Shawn Cooney, Des Moines; 22. Brian Kauffman, Cedar Rapids; 23. Brian Efkamp, Ankeny; 24. Logan Anderson, Oskaloosa.1st heat (top three) – 1. Plummer; 2. Roberts; 3. Olsen; 4. Livezey; 5. Logue; 6. A.J. Johnson, Oskaloosa; 7. Josh Sink, Stanton; 8. Wieben; 9. Taylor Inman, Altoona; 10. Brandon Bach, Des Moines.2nd heat – 1. McBirnie; 2. Van Der Wal; 3. Cooney; 4. Efkamp; 5. Brian Luedtke, Norway; 6. Masolini; 7. Egenberger; 8. Musselman; 9. Tyler Inman, Altoona.3rd heat – 1. Carter; 2. Shelman; 3. Wears; 4. Logan Anderson; 5. Watson; 6. Ed Hamilton, Atlantic; 7. Brink; 8. Preston Gigax, Omaha, Neb.; 9. Robert Moore, Maxwell.4th heat – 1. VanDenBerg; 2. Van Zante; 3. Lowry; 4. Kauffman; 5. Braaksma; 6. Brandon Patava, Des Moines; 7. Tony Johnson, Oskaloosa; 8. Tom Lathrop, Ottumwa; 9. Blair Simmons, Des Moines.First “B” feature (top six) – 1. Logan Anderson; 2. Livezey; 3. Logue; 4. Watson; 5. Wieben; 6. Brink; 7. Moore; 8. Sink; 9. Taylor Inman; 10. Bach; 11. A.J. Johnson; 12. Hamilton; 13. Gigax.Second “B” feature – 1. Masolini; 2. Braaksma; 3. Musselman; 4. Efkamp; 5. Egenberger; 6. Kauffman; 7. Patava; 8. Lathrop; 9. Simmons; 10. Tyler Inman; 11. Tony Johnson; 12. Luedtke.