Druids Nab the Cup in Asheville

In its fifth sevens tournament since being founded in late 2011, the Druids invitational sevens rugby team won its first championship cup at the Asheville Sevens rugby tournament Saturday, July 21.  After making two previous finals and finishing in the top four twice more, the Druids posted an unblemished 5-0 record at the Asheville tournament to finish first on the day.

Based in Blacksburg, Virginia, but welcoming players from all over the region, the Druids traveled to Asheville with heavy representation from Virginia Tech and Blacksburg-based independent players, as well as contributors from the University of North Carolina and East Carolina University.  With some players not having worked together since the Druids’ last appearance and some players new to the team, the Druids worked out the kinks early en route to a 40-7 win over neighbors Blacksburg to open pool play.  Next, the team put together a solid 43-0 victory over Appalachian State University, but the going was much slower in the Druids’ final pool match against Charlotte (a second-tier team representing the club, though, as Charlotte’s first-grade team was at the USA Rugby South championship tournament winning a place in the national championship rounds).  Having only lost two matches in two tournaments so far in the summer, both to Charlotte teams, the Druids were able to finally break the Charlotte hoodoo with a tight 14-7 win to go undefeated in pool play and advance to the cup rounds.

Having survived Charlotte, the Druids were able to scratch out a little more breathing room in the knockout rounds, defeating Greenville, South Carolina, 40-12 in the cup semifinal and getting by the University of South Carolina 26-5 in the cup final.

The Druids’ first cup victory also marked the Druids’ last scheduled tournament of the summer, but locally-based players will continue to train at the Virginia Tech Drillfield Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. as they consider late-developing tournaments and training events.  More tournaments will also await the Druids in the late autumn and early winter while the team’s representatives are on hiatus from upcoming fifteen-a-side duties with their local teams.

Druids’ Roster at Asheville Sevens:

Mike Barlow (Virginia Tech)
Craig Bucher (Druids)
Paul Caron (Virginia Tech)
Brett Fontaine (Druids)
Daniel Germroth (Virginia Tech)
Kenny Green (Virginia Tech)
Jeff Houston (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)
Amir Khan (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)
Joe Pallante (Druids)
Donny Tran (Virginia Tech)
Richard Van Valkenburgh (East Carolina University)
Bill Whalen (Virginia Tech)

Coach: Perry Pence (Druids)

Druids Match Results at Asheville Sevens:

Pool Match 1: Druids 40, Blacksburg 7
Khan 2T 3C
Houston 2T
Caron 1T 1C
Van Valkenburgh 1T 1C

Pool Match 2: Druids 43, Appalachian State University 0
Khan 2T 1C
Caron 1T 2C
Van Valkenburgh 1T 1C
Barlow 1T
Houston 1T
Pallante 1T

Pool Match 3: Druids 14, Charlotte 7
Khan 2T 2C

Cup Semifinal: Druids 40, Greenville 12
Khan 2T 2C
Houston 2T
Van Valkenburgh 1T 2C
Pallante 1T
Caron 1C

Cup Final: Druids 26, University of South Carolina 5
Caron 2T 1C
Houston 1T
Whalen 1T
Khan 2C