Double disappointment in title quest
There was double disappointment for Bermuda rugby as both the men’s and women’s teams suffered final defeats in the annual Bermuda Rugby Ariel Re Sevens Tournament at the National Sports Centre at the weekend.
The Bermuda Stars Men’s first team enjoyed a blistering start to the tournament, which consisted of 18 teams, 13 men and five women, winning all of their group games.
They kicked off with a 25-5 success over Rowan University, before clinching further victories against Colgate University II 57-0, Columbia University 24-7, and Loyola University 17-7 to top their group and progress through to the semi-finals.
There they met Loyola University once again and just as they had in the group stages, prevailed, this time winning 26-15. In the semi-finals, they met another familiar opposition in Columbia University, and while it was a closer encounter than in the group stages, Bermuda Stars managed to clinch a narrow 12-7 success to reach the final, where they faced Norwich Maroon.
However, they were unable to maintain their unbeaten run of form, falling at the final hurdle, suffering a hard-fought 10-5 defeat as the visitors took the honours.
The Bermuda Stars Men’s second team settled for an overall seventh-place finish. Having beaten Chesapeake II and Ohio State University and suffering a loss to Norwich Gold in the group stages, they managed to progress to the quarter-finals but fell to Columbia University in a 26-19 loss.
Bermuda Stars Women’s team kicked off the tournament in scintillating fashion, beating Rowan University 25-5 in the day’s opening encounter.
They failed to build on the momentum of that victory in their second match as they slipped to a convincing 27-0 defeat at the hands of Humber’s first team, but they regrouped to end the day on a high with an emphatic 37-0 victory over Colgate’s second team.
Further victories followed, with a 20-7 win over Humber College II and a 32-0 success over Colgate University first team, resulting in the team progressing to the final.
However, just as they had in the group stages, they went down again to Humber College first team, suffering a 22-5 defeat.
Rowan University clinched the Men’s College Bowl after overcoming Chesapeake II 22-12 in the final, while in an all Bermuda Kids Cup final, the under-13s beat the under-14s 20-15.
Despite the defeats, Jamie Barnwell, the women’s Sevens coach and men’s 15 national coach, hailed the efforts of the two teams and the tournament as a whole.
“Obviously, there are mixed feelings for the teams but it is a really good achievement for both to reach the final,” he said.
“Of course, it is nice to win. Both teams did a great job and all credit to the winners who did brilliantly on the day.
“It is the furthest the women have reached in a while but the real positive for me is that five of the 12 players came from the new academy which only started in January.
“The tournament as a whole was fantastic. It was a first for me and I can see why it’s seen as such a great tournament.
“The organisers did a great job and it was a brilliant couple of days for everybody involved.”