Category: Match Report

3rd Annual CottonTown 7s Draws Record Crowd

buy Lyrica CLAYTON, North Carolina – This past Saturday, the Clayton Rugby Football Club hosted their 3rd Annual CottonTown 7s Rugby Festival. The tournament, which is one of the largest in the Carolinas, took place at East Clayton Community Park. This year’s event drew 29 teams to Clayton for a fun-filled day of rugby and community. An estimated 500-600 people were in attendance between all of the teams and fans as they were welcomed with beautiful weather.

see “We had one less team than we had at last year’s event, but there were a lot more people in attendance. It really felt bigger despite not adding any teams,” said Clayton RFC President and Tournament organizer Ted Hardy. “This tournament just keeps growing and growing. It’s a great thing for rugby and it’s a wonderful opportunity to show off our community.”

buy Lyrica The day-long event culminated with the crowning of champions in the Men’s, Women’s, and High School Boys Divisions. Local sides fared well in the tournament with the host Clayton Bootleggers losing in the Men’s Championship, the Women’s Championship was taken home by the Raleigh Venom and the High School Championship saw the Raleigh Redhawks defeating the Clayton Copperheads.

The home side Bootleggers enjoyed their best finish ever at the CottonTown 7s with their runner-up finish. Last season, the Bootleggers lost in the Cup semifinals on a last minute score by Chapel Hill. The Bootleggers defeated Fort Bragg and the 7s touring team Old Toe in pool play which put them up against tournament favorite Southern Pines in the Cup semifinals. Southern Pines had won the previous two CottonTown 7s and had never been beaten on Clayton soil in 7s or XVs. Southern Pines got out to an early lead, but the home side held strong and scored just before the end of the first half to leave the score at 12-5 in favor of Southern Pines. The Bootleggers added another try midway through the second half to pull within two points. With time expiring, the Bootleggers moved the ball deep into Southern Pines’ territory. A couple of nice offloads sent Nick Russell over for the game winning try.

In the championship match the Bootleggers faced off against Columbia (SC) Olde Grey. The sides traded tries in the opening minutes, but Olde Grey finished the half strong with two more scores to take a 19-7 lead into the break. Columbia added another score to start the second half as the Bootleggers began to show fatigue. Olde Grey added another score before Clayton finished with a score as they fell in the championship by a score of 33-14.

“Our guys have a lot to be proud of,” added Hardy. “Not just for what they did on the pitch today. Most of them were here at 6am to set up for the tournament and a number of them stayed after to help break everything down. They represented our club well and we’re very proud of them.”

In the Women’s championship the Raleigh Venom avenged a loss earlier in the day to James River by shutting out the side from Virginia 34-0.

The all-local High School Boys championship saw the Raleigh Redhawks storm out to a 33-0 half time lead over the Clayton Copperheads as they cruised to a 38-5 victory.

For a complete list of all of the scores, please follow this link.

The Clayton RFC added a number of new elements to the tournament this year. At the top of that list was a live stream of the action from Field 1. All of the championship matches were also recorded. Event Webcasting, a streaming broadcaster out of Raleigh, provided a professional quality stream of the event for fans that couldn’t make it there in person.

Sponsors for the 3rd Annual CottonTown 7s Rugby Festival included:

The Redneck BBQ Lab was the official food sponsor of the tournament with their award winning BBQ to keep all of the hungry players and fans fed.

While beer isn’t allowed at the park, Deep River Brewing Company stepped up and donated water to all of the participating teams.

World Rugby Shop provided all of the balls used at the tournament as well as sponsoring the referee jerseys and donating water bottles to all of the teams.

The Johnston County Visitor’s Bureau provided gift bags for all of the teams and additional marketing support to the event.

Event photography was provided by Jamaal Porter and Tom Lighton.

The Clayton RFC would also like to thank VCB Executive Car Services, Kona Ice of Johnston County, Clayton Chiropractic, the Clayton Chamber of Commerce, Johnston Now Magazine, and Sky High Sports for their support of the event.

With the tournament finished, work begins on next year’s CottonTown 7s and new challenges await as the event moves from East Clayton Community Park to the Johnston County Rugby Park.

“We’ve got our work cut out for us,” said Hardy. “We’re very happy with how the tournament went this year, but there is always room for improvement. We’re going to sit down and look at what went well and look at areas that need improvement. We’ve received some great feedback from coaches, players, fans, and referees that we plan to put to use.”

“To add to the challenge, we’re moving to the Johnston County Rugby Park next year which will change our layout for the event and our traffic areas. The new park will definitely make some things a lot easier for us, but until we get out there and give it a test run we have no idea how it will all play out.”

The 4th Annual CottonTown 7s Rugby Festival is scheduled for Saturday July 13, 2019 at the Johnston County Rugby Park. Registration is set to open in April of 2019.

Asheville Ends Clayton’s Playoff Run

ASHEVILLE, NC – This past Saturday, the Clayton Bootlegger’s season ended with a loss to Asheville in the Carolinas Geographic Union D3 Semifinals. Despite the loss, the Bootleggers end the season on a high note having reached the playoffs for the first time in club history. The surprise playoff run came in only their second season in Division III and only their fourth season in existence.

“It’s been a great season and appreciate all of the hard work put in by our players,” said head coach Rich Munro. “Asheville is a strong side and showed us where we need to be. No one expected us to be in the playoffs this season. We’ve shown what we can do and now we face expectations as well look ahead at next season.”

As expected of a playoff match, the match started off fast and furious with both sides using their forwards to commit defenders and then going wide to their back lines. The bruising Asheville pack aimed to control the match, but the two sides traded possession throughout the first quarter of the match. Both squads made trips into the opponents half only to come away without points. Midway through the scoreless first half, Asheville threatened deep in the Clayton half. Bootlegger back Ted Champman was given a yellow card for an intentional knock on. Asheville responded with two tries to stake a 14-0 lead.

With Chapman still in the bin, the Bootleggers recovered the restart from the second Asheville try and slowly moved the ball into scoring position. They were rewarded with a kick-able penalty from 30 meters out. Ed Dixon knocked it through to cut the Asheville lead to 14-3. The Bootleggers took the ensuing kickoff and again moved into scoring possession by controlling possession through their forwards. Clayton was rewarded with another kick-able penalty and Dixon provided the points to cut the deficit to 14-6 with ten minutes to play in the first half.

Off of the kickoff, the Bootleggers strung together an incredible 20+ phase attack to slowly push their way deep into the Asheville half. Clayton showed patience as they went through the phases before lock Jeff Cosgrove broke the Asheville line to score the first Bootlegger try of the match. The conversion from Dixon cut the Asheville lead to 14-13 with just minutes left in the first half.

The extended attack on the Asheville lines left the Bootleggers drained and the home side took advantage as they scored two rapid tries in the final moments of the first half to push their lead out to 24-13.┬áHaving finished the first half on a high note, Asheville went to work pounding away against the Bootleggers’ defensive lines. Using their forwards to control the tempo of the match, the second half belonged to the home side. They began to find space as their offense controlled possession and put Clayton’s defense to the task. As the Bootleggers wore down, Asheville answered with tries. Asheville scored five second half tries. The lone second half try from Clayton came through No. 8 Gareth Davies as the Bootleggers fell 59-18 to Asheville.

“There’s no reason to hang our heads,” added Munro. “The guys played hard the entire match and never gave up. Asheville was a better team. No shame in that. I’m very proud of our effort. We’ll learn from it and get better for next season.”

With the end of the 2017/2018 season, the Bootleggers move into the off season for some of their players while others prepare for the start of the Summer 7s Tournament season. The Clayton Rugby Football Club also prepares for their 3rd Annual CottonTown 7s Rugby Festival on July 14th. The tournament brought 30 teams to Clayton last year and they aim to top that number in 2018. All while this is happening, the club has broken ground on their new rugby facility and expect primary site work to be completed in July. The club expects to move into the facility sometime this Fall.


Bootleggers Playoff Bound After Win

CLAYTON, NC – It’s been a short history filled with new highs each year, but this past weekend was something special. For the first time in club history, the Clayton Rugby Football Club have made it to the playoffs. A win by Fort Bragg over Hilton Head coupled with the Bootlegger’s emphatic win over Camp Lejeune pushed Clayton into the playoffs. The Bootleggers now travel to face Asheville on April 14th in the Carolinas Geographic Union D3 Semifinals.

Founded in the Fall of 2013, it was almost exactly four years ago when the Bootleggers conducted their first practice session with just seven men in attendance. The club’s slow and steady progress led to them joining Division 4 in 2015. The following year the club moved up to Division 3 and now in their second season in D3 have advanced to the playoffs. The squad finished in 2nd place in the Carolinas D3 Eastern Division this season with a 5-3 conference record.

“I’m very proud of this group,” said head coach Ruch Munro. “The guys put in a lot of work this year and pushed through some tough patches. We’ve built a little depth in the squad and it has helped us make strides on the pitch. We still have a long way to go, but the pieces are there.”

To reach the playoffs, the Bootleggers needed a victory over Camp Lejeune and the men didn’t disappoint. Knowing that they needed a bonus point victory and to score extra points in the event they ended up needing a tiebreaker with Hilton Head. The Bootleggers did exactly that in setting a club record with 98 points scored in the match. The home side ran in 16 tries on the way to the lopsided victory. Flyhalf Brian Anderson led the way with three tries as he guided the Bootlegger attack. Flanker Stuart McKenzie added three tries to the total as well. Jonathan Sanyer, Gareth Davies, and Deven Howard each added two tries apiece while Luke Haskins, Jeff Cosgrove, Simon Potter, and Ted Hardy each added solo tries to the effort.

After a shaky start that saw Camp Lejeune with a 19-12 lead twenty minutes into the match, the Bootleggers settled into their game plan and used a structured attack to build the phases and retain possession. Five tries over the next twenty minutes gave the Bootleggers a 48-19 lead going into halftime.

The second half was more of the same as the home side pushed out to a 91-26 lead before Camp Lejeune answered back with two converted tries in the final ten minutes. With time expired, Anderson capped off his hat trick to close out the match. Ed Dixon added nine conversions on the afternoon for the Bootleggers as they strolled to a 98-40 victory.

“We’re excited,” added Club Captain Simon Potter, who was one of a few people that attended the first club practice and is still actively playing. “We’re all here to have fun and this is the best part of the season. We’re going to savor this opportunity to extend our season a few weeks.”

“When we started all of this, we didn’t expect to even be competitive for five years, let alone be in the playoffs,” said Club President Ted Hardy. “We appreciate all of the hard work put in by our admin staff, coaches and players this season. Reaching the playoffs isn’t just for the guys that accomplished it on the pitch this season. It is about all of the guys that helped start this club and stuck through the early years knowing that they were paving the way for others.”

In the second match of the day, the Bootleggers’ 2nd XV took on a combined Wake Tech/New Bern/Lejeune side. After a close opening twenty minutes, the Motley side went on a run scoring 27 unanswered points as they carried a 32-5 lead into the final quarter of the match. The Bootleggers didn’t give up as they added two late tries, but it was too little too late for the 2nds as they fell to the Motleys 37-19. Anthony Crumity scored two tries for the Bootleggers with Kai Saltana scoring his first career try.

The club’s eyes now turn to the playoffs. With three weeks to heal up injured players and prepare, the match against Asheville is poised to be a great one.

“This is a great opportunity,” added Munro. “It’s not every year that you get a chance to extend your season in the playoffs. We’re going to enjoy it, but we’re going to Asheville not to just participate. We want to win.”