Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Rookie Rugby Round-Up: Fall Fun Sevens in Cleveland

The four-week sevens league put on by Rookie Rugby Cleveland comes to a close this Saturday, and the competition throughout the divisions has taken an interesting turn. Top to bottom, there have been upsets, nail-biters and blowouts. Suffice to say, there has been action for everyone to enjoy, and the final weekend should be no different.

Starting with the Fifth and Sixth Grade League, Brunswick sits atop the table with 23 overall league points. More notably, Arrupe is barely in second place with 21 tournament points. Since the first week of competition, Brunswick went three-for-four and barely bested Strongsville, who sits in third place with eight tournament points. Arrupe, on the other hand, has gone undefeated in the past two weeks of competition, collecting a 12-point win over Brunswick and close victories over Rocky River and Strongsville. The division has turned into a nail-biter from top to bottom, with two points separating the top two teams and four matches decided by five points or less in the last two weeks.

On Sunday, Brunswick will face Rocky River, followed by Arrrupe versus Strongsville. So far this season, Brunswick has taken both matches against Rocky River. Between the two matches, Brunswick has posted over sixty points on Rocky River while only conceding 20, a stat that would put Sunday's match squarely in favor of Brunswick. Arrupe beat Strongsville both times the two met but that won't yield the new squad much momentum because each match was decided by five and two points, respectively. The result of this match will be exciting, whether it's the upstart team going three-for-three or Strongsville rebounds after a tough two weeks. The final week of this division will be nothing short of electric.

In the Girls' League, Highland has come out on top to unseat the Jr. Jaguars, who looked to be the team to beat after the first week of play. Highland split its first two matches of the season, dropping one to the Jr. Jaguars. Since then, Highland has been on a tear, taking scalps in the last four matches and downing opponents in grand fashion. In all, Highland has outscored its opponents 116-22. The highlight of this statistic is that Highland put up over 30 points in each match against the Jr. Jaguars, the team that beat Highland in the opening match of the season.

The matches for Sunday will start out with the Jr. Jaguars facing off against Brunswick, giving Highland a bye since there are three teams in this division. Highland will face the winner of the day's opener, followed by a third match to put the final seal on competition. With this division, the first match may decide who takes top honors in the division. The Jr. Jaguars have taken two of the three run-ins with Brunswick so history is on their side; and if the Jr. Jaguars win again on Sunday it will set up an interesting encounter with Highland again. However, if Brunswick wins, they will face Highland and have a much steeper hill to climb to get to the top. While the scores have gotten increasingly closer, Highland has beaten Brunswick in every encounter so far this season. Even though, Highland is firmly on top of the standings, everything is far from decided.

In the First Division for the Seventh and Eighth Grade Boys Highland has a stranglehold on first place. Highland has 28 total tournament, twice as many as Rocky River's first side, which is in second place. Over the past two weekends, Highland's boys put up over 40 points on Brunswick and over 20 points on both of Rocky River's sides. Between Rocky River's two sides, they have only amassed three wins in the last four weeks - in one the A side defeated the B side.

In the first matches of the weekend, Highland will face Brunswick and the Rocky River teams will essentially scrimmage one another. If the past couple of weeks are any indication, the main event will pit Highland against Rocky River's A side. Highland was convincing in both of its victories over Brunswick earlier in the season, while Rocky River's A side bested its counterpart in a close match in the second round of competition.

The action starts Sunday, November 15, on the campus of Saint Ignatius High School with the young bucks taking the field. For the latest scores and stats, as well as information regarding the spring season, visit the Rookie Rugby Web site.

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