Lessons Learned at King of the Hill 7s

CHAPEL HILL, NC – This past weekend, the Clayton Bootleggers made the trip to Chapel Hill to play at the King of the Hill 7s, hosted by the Chapel Hill Warriors. The tournament, an eight-team event, was in its second year of play and has turned into a very competitive tournament. The Bootleggers learned how competitive the tournament can be the hard way on Saturday. Of the eight teams in the tournament, Clayton was the only side that plays as a social team. The other teams at the tournament have all played in the club or premier divisions at other events.

While the going was expected to be tough going in, the Bootleggers chose to look at the tournament as an valuable learning tool. To makes things even tougher, a few key players were missing from the lineup leaving a very inexperienced squad to play the club’s toughest tournament of the Summer.

The tournament started with Clayton taking on eventual tournament champions Raleigh Vipers. The Vipers punished the Bootleggers for their inexperience as they were shutout 45-0.

Things only got marginally better in the second game as Clayton faced off against the host, Chapel Hill Warriors. Clayton were able to get on the scoreboard with a try and conversion from Chris Crumity, but the result was similar as the Bootleggers fell 31-7.

Clayton’s final pool opponent was Southern Pines, a squad that roughed up the Bootleggers at Queen City a few weeks prior. Despite being shutout again, Clayton produced some of their better rugby of the entire day holding Southern Pines scoreless in the second half in their 17-0 loss.

The losses dropped Clayton into the Bowl competition where they faced off against UNC Alumni in the Bowl Semifinals. Clayton hung in for a little bit, but UNC was too much as the Bootleggers dropped their final game of the day 31-12. Anthony Crumity and Jesse Rinehart scored for the Bootleggers with Chris Crumity adding one conversion.

It was a hard learning experience against the best opposition the team has seen in their two Summers of playing 7s.

“Fitness was our Achilles heel,” said Jesse Rinehart. “Overall the team made great improvements as the day went on.”

“This tournament was important to expose our players to better sides,” said Club President Ted Hardy. “We needed to show the guys what it takes to play at that level. I think everyone that made the trip learned a lot.”

Clayton has one tournament left on their Summer tournament slate as the team heads to the beach to play in the Blackbeard 7s on August 8th.

Tournament Roster

Brendan Fitzpatrick (Captain), Jon Ryan, Jon Rogers, Jesse Rinehart, Luke Haskins, Anthony Crumity, Chris Crumity, Adam Hester, Walter Webster, Matt Koczanski

Raleigh Vipers 45 Clayton 0

Chapel Hill Warriors 31 Clayton 7

Tries: C. Crumity

Conv: C. Crumity

Southern Pines 17 Clayton 0

UNC Alumni 31 Clayton 12

Tries: A. Crumity, Rinehart

Conv: C. Crumity