S.P. Rugby Wins Bele Chere Sevens Tourney
A short-handed Southern Pines Rugby team outplayed and outlasted 14 other teams to win the 2009 Bele Chere Rugby Sevens Tournament held this past weekend in Asheville.
Throughout the tournament the Southern Pines team overcame injuries and younger opponents to win the title. In fact, the team needed sudden death play in its semifinal and final matches to emerge victorious.
"This is so deserving for our team after so many near wins in the different tournaments we have played in," said Steve Anchor, captain of the Southern Pines Rugby club. "We had guys playing with stitches, who were exhausted and physically drained, so to come away with the championship trophy is a reward for the hard work in not only this tournament but for all the years we have been together."
Traveling with only 11 players to the rugby sevens tournament, the team faced much younger opponents in all of their four games.
Rugby sevens is a modified version of the traditional game where only seven players for each team are on the field at any one time. The game is played for a total of 14 minutes, two seven-minute periods with a one-minute break in between. The game is physically demanding, suiting the more agile and quicker players.
Southern Pines won their two pool games with decisive victories over Triad Rugby (36-0) and the hosting Asheville A team (34-7). In both wins the Southern Pines team gained the attention of the other teams in the tournament with their ability to move the ball quickly and patiently.
The semi-final game was a much tougher battle when the team faced a much younger college team from Charlotte, the Lions. After the regulation 14 minutes, the teams were tied at 19 points apiece, forcing the game into five minutes of overtime. With the score still even at 26 points each at the end of overtime, the game went to sudden death, where the first team to score would win the game. Southern Pines Rugby was able to outlast their younger opponents after scrumhalf Dan Kennedy scooped up a perfectly placed ball from Anchor to score and win the game.
The championship game against Appalachian State University once again had the now-injury-ridden Southern Pines rugby team facing a much younger team. Southern Pines faced even more hurdles, as the championship game would be contested over two 10-minute halves. After regulation time the scores were locked at seven each, forcing the game into an overtime period consisting of two five-minute halves. At the end of the 10-minute overtime period, the scores were even at 14 apiece, forcing the game into another sudden death playoff. The battle endured for a further five minutes before Glenn Nunez finished a back line movement to score the winning try for the Southern Pines team.
The team will now shift their attention to the upcoming fall season kicking off with an away game against Asheville on September 12, followed by their first home game of the season on Sept. 19 against Eno River. For those interested in learning more about the team or rugby, visit www.southernpines
rugby.org or call 910-246-0606.
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