The women’s qualifier pool of the South Shore 7s tournament on June 18 in Braintree, Mass. was dominated by the NRU Developmental side, which went undefeated on its way to the cup title.
The qualifier pool was made up of the NRU Developmental side, Boston Belles, Falcons, Boston Women, Village Lions and Northland. Right behind NRU were the Boston Belles, who only lost two matches, both to NRU, in the first and last women’s matches of the day.
NRU beat the Belles in the cup final, 24-5, in a match that was closer than the score line indicated. NRU got on the board quickly with a converted try and regained possession of the ball after the kickoff to force their way downfield for an unconverted score. The Belles had a chance to respond when they intercepted an NRU pass but NRU got the turnover and scored again by fighting through a tackle with determined running, making the score 17-0 at halftime.
NRU showed their discipline by defending in a line and forcing the Belles back on the next possession. The Belles managed to score when the scrumhalf took the ball off a scrum and shot the gap to sprint over 50 meters for the try. The conversion sailed wide and the score stood at 17-5.
NRU added one more converted try by outpacing the Belle defender down the left sideline and into the try zone. Both teams had excellent days on the pitch but NRU forced contact and played on their terms while the Belles looked to avoid contact. “They drew us into contact, we were trying to avoid contact,” Belles coach Bryan Hamlin said. “Obviously they’re very strong at the breakdown and they did a very good job of stealing the ball from us in contact. We didn’t get our hands on the ball enough.”
In the plate final, Falcons faced off against Northland in a match that was only decided in the final moments. The teams looked evenly matched and tied when they met in the pool stage, but the Falcons pulled out the win at the end, 29-24.
Northland started off the match well by kicking off and regaining possession after a few Falcon phases. They took advantage of the turnover by scoring quickly and converting it for a seven-point lead.
Falcons wasted no time in responding by returning the ensuing kickoff down the left wing for a try that went unconverted.
Northland used good hands and slick offloading to extend their lead to 14-5 at halftime.
Falcons were hurting themselves in the first half by knocking the ball on and not taking advantage of their scoring opportunities, but that changed in the second half. They scored soon after the kickoff and landed the conversion to close the gap to two points.
Falcons had another chance to score but a foot in touch ended the threat. They won the lineout in Northland territory however and one pass saw the flyhalf cross the line. The conversion was good and the lead switched hands, 19-14 to Falcons.
Northland fielded the kickoff and kicked to space in the Falcons’ half. A good chase by a Northland player resulted in the pick up and try, but the conversion fell short, leaving the match tied at 19.
Falcons answered by spreading the ball left to the touchline before passing back inside for another try. A missed conversion brought the score to 24-19.
With time running out, Northland had to score quickly and did just that, popping the ball up from the ground to keep possession alive and gain ground before finding a gap to score. Northland could’ve gained the lead but the conversion missed and the score was tied at 24.
With time left for one last possession, the Northland kickoff rolled into the Falcon try zone where a Falcon player touched down the ball. Falcons took the quick tap at the 50-meter line and worked the ball left to space where the winger slipped a tackle and scored the decisive try.
The bowl final saw the Village Lions take on Boston Women. Neither team registered a win in pool play, but the Lions found their stride for a well-earned 26-5 win.
Boston Women started the match off better than their previous ones, earning a penalty deep in their half early on. They kicked from this and chased well to recover and sprint over for the try. The conversion missed and the Boston Women held a 5-0 lead.
Following this, the Lions turned it on to score three converted tries. They crossed from 40 meters out, recovered their own kickoff to score and sprinted around the outside of the Boston defense. Boston found themselves in a 16-point hole late in the match.
Boston did manage a consolation try before the Lions slammed the door shut with another try. The conversion missed but the Lions had already won.
For a full list of women’s qualifier scores from the South Shore 7s, go here.