Druids Fall Just Short of the Cup in Thrilling Grand Final at Todd Miller Memorial 7s

The Druids opened 2012 in promising fashion at Longwood University’s Todd Miller Memorial 7s tournament, winning their pool and a semifinal before coming off second-best by the thinnest of margins agains the hosts in the tournament’s grand final.  A sudden-death 24-19 loss to Longwood wrapped up a strong performance for the Druids in their second-ever tournament appearance.

The Druids won their pool with three wins over Rappahannock (a late addition to the list tournament participants), a Longwood reserves side, and Warrenton, which earned then a place in the tournament’s semifinals againt Virginia Military Institute.  A semifinal win put the Druids in a championship showdown with hosts Longwood, who had been unbested on the day and were still no doubt feeling the momentum of a creditable performance in the consolation rounds of the USA Sevens Las Vegas Invitiational earlier in the month.

The Druids took an early 7-0 lead in the grand final with a converted try from Alan Rhodes, who has been playing his trade as a midfielder with invitational sides from Virginia to Dubai in recent months, but Longwood managed to draw level at 7-7 by the half and took a 14-7 lead in the second half.  The Druids brought the scores level again at 14-14 through a converted try from Mark Seiss, on loan from the Washington Irish.  Longwood pulled ahead once more with an unconverted try to bring the score to 19-14, but Rhodes crossed the whitewash once more at the death to give the Druids a chance at a last-second win.  A missed conversion left the scores drawn at 19-19, forcing extra time, but not for long.  Longwood pounced on the opening kick  of extra time to run in a try, a 24-19 grand final win, and the tournament cup.

The Druids thank Longwood for hosting an excellent memorial tournament and a massive grand final match, as well as the other participating teams and referees Chris Davis, Sean Kelly, and Stuart Willis.  With seven-a-side tournaments in short supply during the early months of the year, the immediate future will see the Druids disperse to their home clubs while awaiting their next chance to join up later in the year.

Druids Match Results at Todd Miller Memorial 7s:

Pool Matches:
Druids 45 Rappahannock 0
Druids 28 Longwood Reserves 7
Druids 10 Warrenton 0

Druids 29 VMI 5

Grand Final:
Longwood 24 Druids 19 (XT)

Druids Roster for 2012 Todd Miller Sevens Tournament:

Craig Bucher (Druids) (3 Tries)
Max Erwin (Roanoke) (2 Tries)
Kurt Goddard (Roanoke) (4 Tries)
Jason Gordon (Roanoke) (1 Try)
Matt McCarthy (Blacksburg)
Bobby Middaugh (Roanoke) (2 Tries)
Joe Pallante (Blacksburg) (1 Try)
Alan Rhodes (Blacksburg) (5 Tries)
Mark Seiss (Washington Irish) (4 Tries)
Martin Sexton (Blacksburg) (2 Tries)

Coach: Perry Pence (Druids)