Highland 7’s Champions
A new look Drinkin Park Squad traveled out to Aye-tasca for the annual Scottish Highland Games Tournament. The bagpipes were blowing, as well as the weather, making for a wet and rainy day. Due to some availability issues, the squad for this tournament rolled out 7 new faces when compared to last week’s Shipwreck roster.
First up for the day was The Old Nags. A high school “Old Boys” alumni team that showed great athleticism and skill. The rain started coming down right at the kick off and turned what was looking to be a battle between the two teams’ speed into a defensive battle. The Old Nags struck first, dotting down a score just a few minutes in, but Drinkin Park responded quickly when Pasta tied it up at 5s. Baker followed through just a minute later, and with the a successful conversion it put Park up by 7. The Nags kept on the attack and dotted down another try at the end of the half, but with a failed conversion Park held the lead. The 2nd half was wet and sloppy and featured more set pieces than desired, with both sides trading knock ons. Park’s defense held and squeaked out a 2 point victory to start the day. 12-10
Next was the Draconian Lawyers, the newly combined Chicago Dragons and Chicago Lawyers squad. While athletic and ready to put in the hard work, Drinkin Park was disciplined and too much for the Lawyers to handle. Ollie and Baker put Park up 10-0 in the first three minutes with Mike capping off the first half with a cheeky poke kick and run off of a dropped Draconian pass. Park went into the half up 17-0. Liam finished off the last score of the match just to start the half and then we settled in on defense to finish out the match up 22-0.
Baker and Togher single handedly ate up minutes on the clock with a failed 80 meter run, sapping their energy but the clock as well.
The next opponent was the Woodsmen. Drinkin Park met them in the Semi Finals the week before, and easily dispatched them by 40 points. This Highland match was quite the opposite. The Woodsmen struck first and were up 5-0 before Park had a true possession. After the restart Bobby hit a perfect gap and finished off the run to even it up at 5 all. Instead of playing a calm and focused defense, we chose the hard route and were caught out of sorts with players scrambling to catch up. Even with the exhausting scramble defense, the Woodsmen were unable to capitalize on Park’s mistakes. However, the few moments we had the ball, we found ways to put points on the board. Baker found a seam in the fifth minute to bring the lead to 5. A quick halftime regroup found Bean fighting back the ravages of time to put in two scores giving Park enough points to finish out the match. The Woodsmen answered one of them but their time was slipping away. Baker and Togher single handedly ate up minutes on the clock with a failed 80 meter run, sapping their energy but the clock as well. The Woodsmen had a final, threatening, break away, but was quickly snuffed out by a crushing tackle from Luke Mechling and Bobby to close it out.. Park wins 20-10
Going 3-0 on the day and as top seed, Park was into the Final against a familiar Highland Games foe, the Krackens. Kicking ourselves for failed discipline in earlier matches, Drinkin Park focused on doing the simple things right. From the first whistle it was clear the demons from the earlier match were exorcised. Our defensive efforts smothered anything the Krackens attempted, trapping them near the sidelines and forcing mistakes. Park put in four tries in quick succession going into the half up 28-0. The strong defense led to quick strikes on offense with the whole team contributing. Brian Burke finished off two runs after shedding a few tackles, Jordan, Liam, and Mike added to the score. Bean pulled a tally in each stat line racking up a try, assists, and a conversion. Togher showed off his generous nature and led the day with three assists in one match. A full team effort on defense and offense ended with Park winning 55-0 over the talented Krackens.
Trys: Liam (3), Baker (3), Bean (3), Mike (3), Bobby (2), Brian (2), Jordan (1), Pasta (1), Ollie (1)Conversions: Bean (2), Liam (2), Togher (1)