On a rainy day in New Haven, Old Blue's 1st side took command of NRU qualifying by capturing its first qualifying tournament victory of the summer. In the final, they defeated an inspired Boston side looking to overcome its past two disappointing performances.
Group A went as expected as both the Middlesex Barbarians and Old Blue I handily defeated White Plains RFC and Mystic River RFC to set up a battle of unbeaten teams. Going into the final game of pool play, both teams knew they would advance to Cup Semifinal regardless of the result. Old Blue defeated Middlesex 24-5 earning them the top seed coming out of group A.
Group B was full of surprises as Boston RFC took the group with a perfect record. Boston easily defeated Morris 34-12 and Albany (a previous report said this was NYAC, but NYAC did not show and Albany took their place. The tournament listed them as NYAC on their scoreboard) 32-0. The biggest surprise came when Boston defeated the NRU leader, Long Island, 10-7. Long Island severely hurt its chances at qualifying for Nationals as they fell to Morris as well. As a result, Morris finished second in the group, earning a semifinal matchup with Old Blue I.
In the first semifinal, Old Blue eliminated Morris with a 31-10 victory. Boston continued its Cinderella run with a 28-14 over Middlesex in the second semi.
The third place game ended 27-14 in favor of Middlesex over Morris.
The final proved to be a low-scoring affair as Old Blue, sparked by 7s and 15s Eagle Luke Hume, defeated Boston 21-7. Although Boston fell short in the final, the club played a solid day of rugby and should be happy with the result.
With the victory, Old Blue captured its first qualifier of the summer. With two qualifiers remaining, they have given themselves some breathing room in the standings. Long Island’s will certainly be disappointed with their fifth place finish (defeating Mystic to get there) and will likely fall to third in the qualifier standings. With another 3rd place finish, Middlesex will jump to second in the standings behind Old Blue I.
The top four of the Northeast 7s Series (unofficially) likely look like this:
||Old Blue 1
NYAC did not play, with Albany taking their place, thus leaving Boston in 5th. Old Blue, Middlesex and Long Island are in command.