Saturday, for the first time ever, the Baystate Games in Massachussetts included 7s rugby, with Berkshire United taking the U17 Boys gold medal and Mystic River winning the U19 Boys gold medal.
In the U19 division, Mystic beat the Boston Irish Wolfhounds 21-5 in the final, leaving the Wolfhounds with the silver medal. Boston won bronze, beating Berkshire 26-22 to medal.
In the U17 division, Berkshire had to rely on comebacks in the semifinals and final to win gold. They surmounted a 12-0 first-half deficit to knock off Boston 19-12 in the semis and overcame a 12-10 disadvantage to beat Mystic River 15-12 for the gold. The Wolfhounds beat Boston 21-14 to take the bronze.
"We are very proud of our young ruggers. We are also proud of the tremendous growth we have seen in the sport in our area. Last season there was basically one-to-two 7s tournaments for U19 in the area," said Berkshire coach and director David Colli.
"This season we were honored with competing at the High School Invitational in Philly. Including that venue, we also were able to compete in the Capital District Youth Rugby Leagues High School Olympic Style Rugby Series, two men's qualifiers had U19 divisions (New Haven and Worcester) and then the Baystate Games, we were able to play 32 games since June 1.
"That is totally awesome and the kids grew leaps and bounds. Hopefully with this kind of access, the level of play at the youth level will only continue to increase. That can only bode well for the next Olympics."
Berkshire 17, BN/S 14
Mystic 17, Wolfhounds 0
Mystic 21, BN/S 10
Berkshire 46, Wolfhounds 5
Mystic 20, Berkshire 19
BN/S 19, Wolfhounds 7
Semifinal 1: Mystic 31, Wolfhounds 5
Semifinal 2: Berkshire 19, Boston 12
Bronze Medal: Wolfhounds 21, Boston 14
Gold Medal: Berkshire 15, Mystic 12
Berkshire 35, Boston 5
Wolfhounds 24, Mystic 19
Wolfhounds 22, Berkshire 19
Mystic 31, Boston 5
Wolfhounds 28, Boston 0
Berkshire 12, Mystic 7
Semifinal 1: Wolfhounds 26, Boston 7
Semifinal 2: Mystic 46, Berkshire 0
Bronze Medal: Boston 26, Berkshire 22
Gold Medal: Mystic 21, Wolfhounds 5