It was a good day for Boston teams at yesterday's Midnight 7s in New York City. Boston banked its second qualifier title this summer after defeating host Old Blue 33-5 in the final, while the Boston Belles rallied from a three-try halftime deficit to beat New York 21-15.
Boston had a pretty easy run through pool play, topping Morris 31-7, Old Blue B 25-5 and Long Island 47-0. New York, which had given Old Blue a run earlier day with a 17-7 loss, bowed out in the semis to the eventual winner. Old Blue was looking good through the early rounds, downing Long Island B 46-10, Village Lions 43-7 and New York. But Old Blue nearly missed out on its championship berth when the team had to wait until overtime in its semfinal against Long Island before advancing.
Old Blue exposed its vulnerabilities in that semifinal, and Boston was ready to take advantage in the final. Boston made Old Blue pay dearly for any lapse in defense or unforced error, and did well to stilfe the host's potent offense.
"One thing that impressed me the most was the level of depth the team displayed throughout the whole tournament," Boston coach Kevin Immonie said. "I never started the same side, trying out different subs in positions, and the level of play never dropped. It astounds me."
Boston was without key playmakers Mark Sutton, who's still recovering from injury, and 7s Eagle Kyle Marshall, but the veteran-heavy squad still played impressively. Epeli Mara was the standout on the day. He had played with Boston a couple of years back, moved to Vermont and now is back with his old team after playing a few months of 7s in Fiji. Derrick Wavomba-Isoka and Duran Vota were impossible to contain, and newcomer Blake Creighton was a nice addition to the team.
The win over Old Blue was its second this summer season and has solidified Boston's status as the top 7s club in the Northeast. is hoping it can take two teams to the NRU championship on July 23. The team heads to New Haven this weekend to add to its points total.
In the women's bracket, Boston Belles and New York established themselves as the favorites early on. Both went 3-0 throughout pool play. New York had a slightly easier run to the knockouts, shutting out Village Lions B, Boston Belles B and Suffolk Bull Moose 116-0. The Belles banked to big wins against Empire State (42-0) and New York B (52-0). In its third pool play game, the eventual tournament winners played the Village Lions to a 14-all tie at half before adding another two tries in the second stanza for the 28-14 win.
The two Belles sides had to face each other in the semifinals, with the senior side coming out on top 32-0, while New York ended the Village Lions' run with a four-try shutout.
In the final, New York ran out to a 15-0 halftime lead.
"We got off to a slow start," Belles' vice captain Kelly Seary said. "New York was able to find gaps in our defense and turn forced errors into points early on. We didn't execute well or stick to our game plan in that first half, and at the break, we committed ourselves to making those adjustments in the second half."
Early in the second half, New York's Phaidra Knight was yellow-carded, and the Belles used the advantage to build some momentum for a comeback. The Belles got on the board during the sin bin as Danielle Miano ran in the first try, and then with 30 seconds to go, Jess Peterson ran in another try. Seary converted both for the one-point deficit.
New York was penalized on a scrum inside the Belles' half, and the team worked the ball out to center Miano, who attacked upfield, slipped away from her defender, drew in the wing and offloaded to speedster Ashley Clancey. Clancey got around the corner to score a 50-meter try on the last play of the game. Seary's expert boot added the final touch with her third conversion of the final.
"The final was a great test for us," Seary said. "It highlighted areas that we need to work on over the next few weeks and, perhaps more importantly, it tested our resolve. I was really proud of us for not getting down on ourselves. We all believed that we could win and played through until the final whistle."
The Belles had finished second (to the Northeast Senior All Stars) at South Shore 7s, the first Northeast qualifier, and now lead the standings. New York received its first points of the season, having missed the Massachusettes tournament, and the Village Lions finished third on points differential. The next qualifier occurs at Cape Cod 7s.
Midnight 7s - New York City (NRU Qualifier)
Old Blue 46-10 Long Island B
Old Blue 17-7 New York
Old Blue 43-7 Village Lions
New York 35-5 Village Lions
New York 36-17 Long Island B
Village Lions 22-19 Long Island B
Boston 31-7 Morris
Boston 25-5 Old Blue B
Boston 47-0 Long Island
Long Island 27-10 Old Blue B
Long Island 22-5 Morris
Old Blue B 22-17 Morris
Old Blue 22-17 Long Island (OT)
Boston 34-0 New York
Boston 33-5 Old Blue
New York 27-0 Village Lions B
New York 39-0 Boston Belles B
New York 50-0 Bull Moose
Boston Belles B 43-0 Bull Moose
Boston Belles 24-0 Village Lions B
Bull Moose 10-5 Village Lions B
Boston Belles 42-0 Empire State U19s
Boston Belles 52-0 New York B
Boston Belles 28-14 Village Lions
Village Lions 29-0 New York B
Village Lions 27-7 Empire State U19s
New York B 25-7 Empire State U19s
New York 24-0 Village Lions (18)
Boston Belles 32-0 Boston Belles B (28)
Boston Belles 21-15 New York