We are approaching Week 6 of the TOLA 7’s competition, and it’s shaping up to be an exciting finale. Weeks 4 and 5 took place in Houston and The Woodlands, guaranteeing heat, humidity, and just a little rain. Week 6 changes up the venue, coming to the central part of Texas – Burr Field, home of the Austin Blacks. More information on the TOLA 7’s structure and schedule can be found here.
Below are the top 4 standings after the first five weeks, while the updated and full standings can be found here. An interesting change to the TOLA format after an expanded competition has only each club’s top four results counted towards the points. Currently this only affects the Austin Huns and Grand Prairie who have participated in all five tournaments.
Another tournament in the books for the women’s clubs shakes up the standings. After a disappointing cancellation due to weather at Battle on the Bayou 7’s, the women’s teams came out strong at Cherrybone 7’s in The Woodlands, TX.
The Austin Valkyries continue to dominate in the standings, and took home second from Cherrybone. Austin has the largest pool of active players this season and a ton of talent. Each tournament they seem to switch up the rosters, and it keeps working. This weekend River City 7’s will be held in their own backyard, so expect Austin to be fueled by the home crowd and post some big numbers.
Taking home the spoils from Cherrybone were the sHARCs, the women’s branch of the Houston Athletic Rugby Club. sHARCs swept through pool play and as the top seed, had an automatic bye into the Semi-Finals. There they took down Bay Area and then met Austin in the final where they repeated their win from earlier in the day. While sHARCs can’t jump Austin in the standings from this weekend alone, two weekends of wins in a row would be something to take note of.
Dallas Harlequins are not posting a side in Austin this weekend, which will likely drop them out of the top four come next week. These ladies had a great outing in The Woodlands, taking out Bay Area and Round Rock Rage, giving them an automatic bye into the Semi-Finals as well. There they fell to the Austin Valkyries, setting up a third place match against Bay Area.
Some things just get better with time – a nice aged cheddar, a fine wine, and the Grand Prairie Mavericks. That’s right. The boys from Grand Prairie have been on the up and up for weeks, and finally were rewarded with the gold and glory from Cherrybone 7’s. Grand Prairie danced through pool play, posting some scores we actually weren’t sure came from only 14 minutes of play. Then they took down The Woodlands 33-14 in the Semi-Finals and met Rugby HTX in the final, in a rematch of an earlier pool play game. Rugby HTX corrected some of their mistakes from earlier in the day, but Grand Prairie took home the win 17-7. Now do you think that this is it? Grand Prairie has peaked? Absolutely not. These lads are going for the big finale and anyone above them in the standings better watch out.
Like Grand Prairie, the Austin Huns are the only other side to have entered into all five tournaments thus far. This allows them to drop their lowest standing, which was a 3rd place finish at Cherrybone. The boys in blue could do with a few more Championships to lengthen the space between them and Dallas Rugby, who are anxiously nipping at their heels. With a quasi-home tournament* this weekend, the Austin Huns are poised to dominate.
Taking home the belt from the Battle on the Bayou was the Dallas RFC. Their roster definitely leaned towards size on the weekend, but it managed to be the smallest players that had the biggest impact. Dallas understands the challenge laid down for them this weekend in Austin, if they can take home the win, they will jump the Austin Huns in the standings and sit on top of the table. Grand Prairie is in their pool and sits squat in the way of this. That’s a match-up you won’t want to miss.
Rugby HTX jumped a couple of spaces in the standings and now sit in the top four. After a second place finish at Cherrybone, the boys from Houston are making a late surge to disrupt. Gaining back a few of the Houston Sabercats players, the roster looks good entering into River City 7’s. Notable from Cherrybone was their 21-19 Semi-Final win over the Austin Huns, a close shave that launched them into the final against the Grand Prairie Mavericks. Rugby HTX has a tough pool in Austin, matched up against the Austin Blacks, the Austin Huns, and Dallas Rugby’s 2nd side. If they come prepared, they are more than equipped to make it out alive.
Remember, only the top 4 results per team are being counted, so the top of the table teams are looking for those cup final wins and nothing more. Updated standings are always available here.
*The tournament is hosted by the Austin Blacks but since Burr Field is about 2 miles from Nixon Lane, it’s close enough to home. All complaints will be ignored. – Kat