Sixteen Men’s teams and five Women’s teams descended on the newly eagle-free Lake Highlands Park last Saturday, kicking off the TOLA 7’s season with the opening tournament, Lone Star 7’s, hosted by the Dallas RFC. This tournament is key, it’s the first look of who’s come to play and who’s come to win – crucial information when the qualifying tournaments roll around. The rest of the TOLA and RRRC qualifying schedule for summer 7’s can be found on the Texas Rugby Union website. So who came to win at Lone Star 7’s? Read all about it below.
The year is starting off strong for the Women’s clubs in Texas as five teams entered into Lone Star 7’s, creating a full round-robin for each team to play four matches. Last year, many of the women’s brackets were canceled due to lack of registrations, so for five just from North Texas, we’re hoping this trend continues the rest of the summer.
The Lady Quins took home the spoils, with a perfect record of 4-0. This record didn’t come easy though, as Maulgaritaville kept the score low and close at 12-5, and later the Dallas RFC fell by just two points in a 26-24 barn burner. Grand Prairie was second, with a 3-1 record, losing to the Quins in the opening match of the day 24-5. Maulgaritaville ended 2-2, their most impressive win a whopping 40-7 over Alliance. The scoreboard didn’t reflect well for Dallas, whose impressive ability to score in every match still had them falling at the final hurdle as they finished 1-3. Alliance leaves with a lot of experience and a single TOLA point for entering the tournament; which leaves them one point ahead of everyone else who stayed on the couch at home.
A full sixteen team bracket for the men gives us a bit more information to play with.
This pool housed the top seed from last year, taking 5th at Club Nationals, the Austin Huns-White (their first side). Filling out the pool were Dallas-White (their second side), The Woodlands, and the Waco Wombats.
The Austin Huns went 3-0 on the day, smoothly dispatching the Wombats and The Woodlands, and taking down a strong Dallas team 24-12. The Woodlands upset Dallas in their first match of the day 12-10, allowing them a 2-1 finish. Dallas went 1-2, and the Wombats 0-3.
The hosts Dallas-Red (their first side) were top seeded in this pool, followed by Austin Huns-Blue (their second side), OKC Crusaders, and the East Texas Armadillos.
Dallas held all three opponents scoreless in pool play, stacking up a massive 132-0 differential in three matches. The Huns went 2-1, taking down a strong OKC side before whomping the Armadillos. OKC took third in the pool with their 29-7 win over the Armadillos, who finished last.
Our favorite no-longer dark horses, Grand Prairie 1 topped Pool C, with the Primates (Gorilla’s second side), West Houston, and Denton.
Grand Prairie’s theme of pool play was “everyone gets 1 converted try and no more”. They went 3-0, but did allow all three opponents to score a single converted try. Sure it only happened three times, but it’s still weird right? Denton impressed on the day, going 2-1 after being ranked last in the pool, including a narrow win over West Houston who ended 0-3. The Primates were 1-2, a 10-point win over West Houston but losses to Denton and Grand Prairie. Pool C was our favorite to watch, as everyone scored points in all matches.
Perhaps the most competitive pool on paper, the Austin Blacks were slotted with the Dallas Harlequins, Grand Prairie 2, and Alliance.
The Austin Blacks blanked their first two opponents, then defeated an incredibly strong Dallas Harlequins side 26-19. They finished undefeated, with a trip to semis on the line. The Dallas Harlequins were 2-1, with big points scored over Grand Prairie 2 and Alliance. The Maverick second side chalked up a win over Alliance, who finished at the bottom.
In the Shield rounds, our previously winless teams battled it out for a chance at hardware. Alliance and West Houston got their first wins on the day over the Wombats and the Armadillos. Apparently it was just not a good day to have a team named after an animal. The Shield final was all West Houston, as they won 28-0.
The third place teams in each bracket participated in the Bowl rounds. Dallas-White snuck by Grand Prairie 22-19, while the Primates beat the Crusaders 36-12. In the Bowl final, it was the hosts who pulled away at the end, Dallas-White lifting the trophy.
The Plate final rounds saw the Harlequins dismantle The Woodlands by double digits, and Denton just sweeping past the Huns-Blue by three points. The Harlequins powered over Denton in the final, with an impressive 28-7 win, earning them a bonus point in the TOLA standings.
The ever-thrilling cup rounds had a classic Austin derby on one side, and a North Texas 7’s rivalry on the other. Dallas-Red continued their trend of keeping opponents scoreless as Grand Prairie fell 40-0 in a tough match. The Austin Huns-White had to sweat a bit more, as the Austin Blacks came on them fast and furious. A thrilling match ensued, the Huns coming away with it 17-12. Then suddenly, it was deja vu, the Huns versus the Dallas RFC in the Lone Star 7’s final. Possibly still licking their wounds from last years’ overtime win by the Huns; the Dallas RFC were fired up and ready to go. However the Huns knew what victory tasted like, and they wanted more. It was Dallas, it was Austin, it was Dallas, it was really really hot. At the end it could only be one, and it would be the Austin Huns who would bring the trophy back home down 35 thanks to a conversion, 19-17 final.
The next TOLA tournament of the season is this weekend in Austin, TX – Bloodfest 7’s. This is where our RRRC Qualifier-seeking teams split off from the rest of the TOLA competition, so expect these standings to change come next week.