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1997 Cowtown VII's Tournament

A 1997 Western RFU Championship Qualifier

Saturday, June 21, 1997 at Gateway Park, Fort Worth, Texas

By Bots Hulen

The 1997 Cowtown 7's Tournament, hosted by the Fort Worth RFC, was a resounding success as weather, competition, and the best pitches in Texas combined for a great event. This year's tournament was a Western Championship Qualifier and attracted the most teams (16) in recent memory.

Cup Championship Results

Oklahoma University RFC took home the cup championship trophy, as well as a Western RFU Championship bid, with a 27-12 win over Austin RFC. The score does not properly represent how evenly matched the teams were, as numerous fans watching the game were under the impression Austin had the victory until the final whistle blew and OU began celebrating.

Austin advanced to the cup championship bracket with a 3-0 record in pool play, winning by a combined score of 125-14 over the Dallas Blues, the University of Dallas, and Texas Tech. OU advanced with an equally impressive run in pool play, winning 90-19 over Houston RFC, Fort Worth-2, and Arlington-2. The other pool winners were a very fast Texas A&M team (3-0, 71-12) and Arlington-1 (2-0-1, 92-26). These four teams advanced to the final four, showing the skill demonstrated by Fort Worth in seeding the pools. The other cup qualifiers were Alamo City, Houston RFC, the Dallas Harlequins, and the University of Dallas.

The semifinals for OU and Austin were hard fought matches, showing the depth of Texas Rugby in 7's this year. After winning every game in Texas last year, Arlington has met much tougher competition this year with a finals loss at Dallas 7's to Dallas RFC, and a semifinal loss to Austin at this tournament. Austin took the match with a well deserved 20-12 victory. In the other semifinal, OU outlasted the quick A&M team, 14-7.

Austin____________38
Austin________20
Alamo City_________0
_Austin__12
Arlington-I_______19
Arlington-I___12
Houston____________7
Oklahoma U RFC
A&M_______________191997 Champions
A&M____________7
Dallas Harlequins__5
_OU______27
OU________________40
OU____________14
U Dallas___________0

Man of the Match

The "Man of the Match" trophy turned out to be a completely politically incorrect term. However, the choice was clear as Sarah Way from Lubbock and Texas Tech outclassed all others, playing matches with Fort Worth and the Houston Old Boys. In Fort Worth's match against OU, Sarah set up Fort Worth's first score with a diving tackle, causing an errant pass intercepted by Fort Worth, who raced for the score and a 7-0 lead. Sarah played all her matches with her characteristic "never-quit, I'll tackle anybody" attitude. Sarah was the consensus winner as shown by the cheers received at the awards ceremony. Congratulations, Sarah!

Plate Consolation

In the consolation plate bracket, Fort Worth-1 took the trophy with a win over the Houston Old Boys, and the OU All Fats outlasted Denton for third. Both matches were hard fought, run till you puke, never say die, give it 110%, never quit, no quarter, 1-0 forfeit matches. In retrospect, these teams should have been made to compete in a drinking contest for their trophies. The girth of the All Fats and Fort Worth would make the final a toss-up.

Houston Old Boys__47
Old Boys______7
Fort Worth-II______0
Old Boys____0
Arlington-II_______7
OU All Fats___0
OU All Fats_______15
Fort Worth RFC
Dallas Blues______121997 Plate
Denton_______12Champions
Denton____________17
Ft Worth-I__1
Fort Worth-I______42
Fort Worth-I 33
Texas Tech________12

Final Thoughts

OU, Austin, and Arlington are each impressive sides, but A&M was particularly surprising. With only college players (some recent graduates), A&M put on a show with a 3-0 pool record, and a quarterfinal victory over the Dallas Harlequins. As in their pool play, A&M met a 'Quins team that was obviously more experienced, but the sheer speed of the A&M team won the game.

OU was also successful with their second side, the OU All Fats, taking third in the plate consolation bracket. OU considered going to the qualifier in St. Louis, expecting weaker competition, but proved their mettle against the best competition in the West instead.

Fort Worth now concentrates on the 1997 Cowtown 15's Kickoff Classic, to be held on October 4-5. As the first major 15's tournament next season, it has traditionally been the tune-up for Texas' cup match season. Click here for more information.

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