Norwich won its third straight 7s National Championship Saturday in Greensboro, NC, beating James Madison 17-10 in the final.
The tone for the contest was set when Norwich looked to be clean on the wing and a James Madison’s Chelsea Wilkins came in and blew her up. The Dukes capitalized on that possession, and it was Wilkins who went in for the score.
Norwich was meters away from leveling the table with about three-and-a-half minutes to play, but a knock on gave JMU the ball back with its heels on the try line. The Dukes reversed field position with a run up the right touch line before being knocked into touch near midfield.
The Cadets regained the ball, and again looked to be ready to score, but were caught by desperate James Madison defense, and the Dukes took the 5-0 lead into intermission.
JMU extended the lead shortly into the second half when Kayla Cook finished off an impressive team movement with a fend and score. The Conversion was missed, but the Dukes led 10-0.
Norwich finally got on the board with six minutes to go when Joya Clark managed a sneaky offload to Hannah Bell, who dove in for the score. Norwich was within just five at 10-5. Clark and her aqua blue scrum cap weren’t done, exploiting the space just off a ruck for Norwich’s second try. This one was scored just under the posts, and the successful conversion put the Cadets up 12-10.
As fatigue grew, James Madison withered. And a Duke knock on deep in the wrong end resulted in an attacking Norwich scrum. The Cadets swung the ball wide to Rebecca Bernheim, who ran in for the decisive try. The conversion was missed, making it 17-10. There was one more kickoff, but James Madison couldn’t make anything happen.