Category: Tournament Recap

Bootleggers Win Blackbeard 7s

ATLANTIC BEACH, North Carolina – It wasn’t the traditional setting for a rugby tournament, but the beach played a big role this past Saturday as the Blackbeard 7s Beach US Open Rugby Championship took place on Atlantic Beach. Founded in 2011 by Brian Whalen, the Blackbeard 7s brings together teams from far and wide to play rugby in the sand. This year marked a transition for the event as the Clayton Rugby Football Club took over as hosts for Blackbeard.

“This event has always been near and dear to our club,” said Clayton RFC President Ted Hardy. “This event has so much potential. It’s hard to beat the ocean as a backdrop for a tournament and Blackbeard is a great way to close out the 7s season. We’re looking forward to building upon the success that Blackbeard has already achieved.”

This year, teams from throughout the Carolinas turned out to compete for the Men’s and Women’s Divisions titles. At the end of a fun, but hard, day of rugby only two sides were left standing. Camp Lejeune won the Women’s Division while the host’s took home their third Blackbeard title in the past four years. Lejeune steamrolled opponents throughout the day before facing off against the Majestic Unicorns touring side out of South Carolina. After a back and forth first half, Lejeune pulled away in the second half to win 29-22 and claim the Blackbeard title.

The Bootleggers had a similar path as they rolled into the championship where they faced off against Fort Bragg. The Bootleggers stormed out to an early lead, but Fort Bragg came storming back in the second half. The lead proved insurmountable as the Bootleggers were victorious by a score of 31-19. The Wombats, Clayton’s Old Boys team, finished in 3rd place while the Baby Wombats (young Bootleggers) placed 5th.

Blackbeard closes out a busy summer for the Bootleggers who hosted two tournaments and played in a total of five tournaments. The club now starts into pre-season training for the 2018/2019 XVs season.

Plans have already begun for the 2019 Blackbeard Beach 7s as the Clayton RFC plans to grow the event into one of the go-to social tournaments on the East Coast.

“We have such beautiful beaches and entertainment here along the North Carolina coast. We have no doubt that Blackbeard can become a destination tournament,” added Hardy. “Carrying on the Blackbeard legacy means a lot to us. We were honored that Brian approached us to host the tournament. We’re going to do our best to carry on the tradition and provide a great tournament to close out 7s season.”

Blackbeard 7s founder Brian Whalen agrees, “The future looks bright for Blackbeard 7s Beach US Open Rugby Championship Tournament. Thank You Clayton Bootleggers Rugby Football Club for a job well done!”

Stay tuned for more information on the 2019 Blackbeard 7s Beach US Open Rugby Championship. Tournament dates and registration will be announced around the New Year. The Clayton RFC plans to expand the tournament field and hopes to add an Old Boys Division next year.

3rd Annual CottonTown 7s Draws Record Crowd

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.

“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.”

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.

CottonTown 7s Crowns Champs

CLAYTON, NC – Another year, another great CottonTown 7s Rugby Festival is in the books. After hosting 18 teams for the inaugural tournament in 2016, the Clayton RFC brought in 30 teams for this year’s event. The tournament packed out East Clayton Community Park making it one of the largest summer tournaments played in the Carolinas. Over 60 matches were played throughout the day as the CottonTown 7s Crowned Champions in four separate divisions.

The Men’s Division started the day with fifteen teams. After the conclusion of pool play, teams were seeded based on their results into the Club Division and the Whole Hog (Social) Division. The Club Division was a hotly contested group that included the hometown Bootleggers who picked up the #3 seed after going undefeated in pool play. The Bootleggers soared past Camp Lejeune 36-10 in the quarterfinals, but ran up against a tough Chapel Hill side in the semifinals. The clubs were deadlocked at 19-19 when Chapel Hill scored a last minute try to move onto the finals with a 26-19 win. On the other side of the bracket, Southern Pines and Charlotte, who are both representing the Carolinas at the South 7s Championship next week, met in the semifinals. Southern Pines advanced to the championship with a 26-10 win. Just as the Club Championship was set to begin, weather struck and the match was delayed due to the lightening policy. In the true spirit of rugby, both clubs agreed to Co-Champion status instead of waiting out the storm to play the last match. Triad took home the Bowl (consolation bracket) title in the Club Division with a narrow victory over the Charlotte Barbarians. In the Whole Hog/Social Division it was the Tobacco Road Hobos, a group of NC State Alumni, that took home the title with a narrow victory over Fort Bragg. New Bern took home the Bowl trophy in the Social Division with a win over the Carolina Colts.

The Women’s Club Division was a new addition to the tournament and it was a great one. Six teams made the trip to Clayton this season and made for a welcome addition to the festival. The SheWolves and Camel Toes topped each of their respective pools getting an automatic bye into semifinals. The SheWolves, made up of NC State players, took on the Lady Toes in their semifinal and came away with a 36-0 victory to advance to the championship game. The Camel Toes took on Raleigh in the other semifinal and dispatched the Vipers to advance to the finals. In the Championship game, the SheWolves and Toes battled back and forth with a late score from the Toes sealing a 24-21 win and the title. The Columbia Bombshells took home the Bowl trophy in the Women’s Divisions.

The High School Division featured some of the top up and coming players in the Carolinas. Coming out of pool play, Myers Park and Chapel Hill were the top two seeds in the tournament. Both sides continued their strong play all the way to the championship match. Myers Park toppled the local Clayton Copperheads in the semifinals to advance to the title match. Chapel Hill took down South Mecklenberg to pave their way into the finals. The Championship match didn’t disappoint as the two sides traded shots with the match coming down to a conversion as Myers Park won the High School Championship with a slender 28-26 victory. In the High School Bowl final Cape Fear defeated the North Raleigh Redhawks.

“It was a great day for rugby,” said Clayton RFC President Ted Hardy. “I’d like to thank all of our volunteers and sponsors for their support. I’d also like to thank all of the teams, coaches, players, fans, and vendors that made this a wonderful event. I’m not sure how we’re going to top this one next year, but we’re sure going to try.”

Tournament sponsors for the CottonTown 7s include Deep River Brewing Company, World Rugby Shop, and the Johnston County Visitor’s Bureau. The 3rd Annual CottonTown 7s Rugby Festival has been set for Saturday July 14, 2018. Stay tuned for details as they become available early in 2018. The Clayton RFC is aiming to make the next CottonTown 7s the first big event hosted at the new Clayton Rugby Park.

2nd Annual CottonTown 7s Scores

Field 1
Game Kickoff Division Pool Team 1 Score Team 2 Score
1 900 Men’s A Clayton 38 New Bern 10
2 920 Men’s B Charlotte 21 Fort Bragg 0
3 940 Men’s C Camp Lejeune 38 Clayton OB 7
4 1000 Men’s A Clayton 24 Barbarians 0
5 1020 Men’s B Charlotte 24 Triad 21
6 1040 Men’s C Camp Lejeune 17 Columbia 26
7 1100 Men’s A Barbarians 22 New Bern 12
8 1120 Men’s B Triad 14 Fort Bragg 5
9 1140 Men’s C Columbia 34 Clayton OB 7
Game Kickoff Division Title Team 1 Score Team 2 Score
10 1200 M-Social Cup Quarterfinal #9 Seed – Hobos BYE
11 1220 M-Social Cup Quarterfinal #10 Seed – Colts 12 #15 Seed – Clayton OB 22
12 1240 M-Social Cup Quarterfinal #11 Seed – Bragg 45 #14 Seed – Wombats 0
13 1300 M-Social Cup Quarterfinal #12 Seed – New Bern 7 #13 Seed – Old Toe 17
14 1320 M-Social Bowl Semifinal New Bern BYE
15 1340 M-Social Bowl Semifinal Colts 34 Wombats 10
16 1400 M-Social Cup Semifinal Hobos 36 Old Toe 14
17 1420 M-Social Cup Semifinal Clayton OB 7 Fort Bragg 34
18 1440 M-Social Bowl Final New Bern 12 Colts 7
19 1500 M-Social Cup Final Hobos 22 Fort Bragg 17
Field 2
Game Kickoff Division Pool Team 1 Score Team 2 Score
1 900 M-Club D Southern Pines 29 Hobos 5
2 920 W-Club A Raleigh 21 Southern Pines 21
3 940 M-Club E Chapel Hill 59 Wombats 0
4 1000 W-Club B Old Toe 17 SheWolves 26
5 1020 M-Club D Southern Pines 47 Old Toe 10
6 1040 W-Club A Raleigh 0 Camel Toes 36
7 1100 M-Club E Chapel Hill 45 Carolina Colts 0
8 1120 W-Club B Old Toe 12 Columbia 20
9 1140 M-Club D Hobos 31 Old Toe 26
10 1200 W-Club A Camel Toes 37 Southern Pines 7
11 1220 M-Club E Carolina Colts 22 Wombats 7
12 1240 W-Club B SheWolves 19 Columbia 10
Game Kickoff Division Title Team 1 Score Team 2 Score
13 1300 M-Club Cup Quarterfinal Chapel Hill 29 Barbarians 7
14 1320 M-Club Cup Quarterfinal Southern Pines 36 Triad 10
15 1340 M-Club Cup Quarterfinal Clayton 36 Lejeune 10
16 1400 M-Club Cup Quarterfinal Columbia 12 Charlotte 24
17 1420 M-Club Bowl Semifinal Barbarians 24 Lejeune 14
18 1440 M-Club Bowl Semifinal Triad 28 Columbia 10
19 1500 M-Club Cup Semifinal Chapel Hill 26 Clayton 19
20 1520 M-Club Cup Semifinal Southern Pines 26 Charlotte 10
21 1540 M-Club Bowl Final Barbarians 17 Triad 24
22 1600 M-Club Cup Final Chapel Hill Southern Pines
Field 3
Game Kickoff Division Pool Team 1 Score Team 2 Score
1 900 HS A Cape Fear 7 Chapel Hill 24
2 920 HS B Thunder 5 Clayton 19
3 940 HS C Tropic 7 Redhawks 33
4 1000 HS A Cape Fear 7 Birds of Prey 26
5 1020 HS B Thunder 19 South Meck 19
6 1040 HS C Tropic 7 Myers Park 45
7 1100 HS A Chapel Hill 33 Birds of Prey 12
8 1120 HS B Clayton 10 South Meck 22
9 1140 HS C Redhawks 0 Myers Park 35
Game # Kickoff Division Title Team 1 Score Team 2 Score
10 1200 HS Bowl Play In Cape Fear 22 Tropic 5
11 1220 HS Bowl Semifinal Redhawks W Thunder
12 1240 HS Cup Semifinal Myers Park 33 Clayton 0
13 1300 HS Bowl Semifinal Cape Fear 22 Birds of Prey 7
14 1320 HS Cup Semifinal Chapel Hill 29 South Meck 0
15 1340 W-Club Cup Quarterfinal Southern Pines 10 Lady Toes 31
16 1400 HS Bowl Final Redhawks 12 Cape Fear 26
17 1420 W-Club Cup Quarterfinal Bombshells Raleigh W
18 1440 HS Cup Final Myers Park 28 Chapel Hill 26
19 1500 W-Club Cup Semifinal SheWolves 36 Lady Toes 0
20 1520 W-Club Cup Semifinal Camel Toes W Raleigh
21 1540 W-Club Bowl Final Southern Pines Bombshells W
22 1600 W-Club Cup Final SheWolves 21 Camel Toes 24