The Drinkin Park 7’s squad kicked off their tournament schedule this summer out at sunny Schiller Park for Shipwreck 7’s. With a bench as deep as most 7’s rosters, the lightly practiced team was up against all the usual Chicago area suspects.
The pool draw for the day was CRC Mens and Fox Valley. Fox Valley was up first and after a slow start, the team settled in and started putting together a few exploratory runs. A scrum wide left forced Fox Valley tight on defense and after quality passing from Pasta and Erik, Liam was off to the races for a 60 meter try. Timmy pinned his ears back twice and finished off long probing runs that Garwood capped with quality conversions. In the end, Park wins 33-12.
Next up was the newly minted CRC Mens, a combination of a few local squads. The legs were starting to loosen up in this match and the boys jumped out to an early lead scoring in the first 30 seconds of the match. Try after try came from well over 30 meters out. In addition to the punishing offense, the defense denied a rhythm to CRC; especially after Luke Kirby laid a crushing cutback hit. CRC managed to squeak in a score as time was expiring to bring the final to 42-7.
This concluded the pool play for the day and Drinkin Park awaited their quarter final draw. Coming out of pool play as the clear and away overall #1 seed, the team was up against Blaze A for the Quarters. As expected the Blaze were well drilled and disciplined, but Drinkin Park’s speed and finesse was too much for the Lemont boys to handle. By the final whistle, Park was cruising into the semis beating the Blaze by 40 points.
Due to a scheduling mix up Park played back to back, meeting the Woodsmen in the Semis. With the short rest the adrenaline was still pumping and Park jumped out to an early lead and never stopped. Liam led the way with a full hattrick while Timmy put together quite a few quality serpentine runs. The bench added even more in the second half while the starting 7 were taking a rest with the finals were coming up next.
The South Side Irish fielded a very young and athletic squad, the first real test for Park all day. The Irish struck first going up 7 shortly after the start of the match, but a great connection from Garwood to Shawn switching back inside leveled it up. Both defenses were applying pressure and causing sloppy ball with more scrums than we had the rest of the day. The score stayed level until the final moment of the first half when Liam broke to the outside and put Park up a score. Drinkin Park started the second half with momentary lapses of judgement, and before anyone knew it we were down two tries. We maintained possession and had fought out a few long probing runs. Erik almost broke one through but was caught 5 meters out. The South Side bungled the line out though and Park regained possession swinging it out wide. An unfortunate knock during a guaranteed score led to a scrum as time was nearing the end. Garwood pounced on a sloppy ball to put park down 9 in the waning moments. Unfortunately by the restart time was expired and Park walked away with 2nd place for Shipwreck 7s.
All in all an offensive day that saw us use our width effectively, but fatigue and momentary lapses of discipline caught us when it mattered most. Drinkin Park regroups and heads into the Highland Games hungry for 1st.
Try Scorers: Liam 7, Timmy 6, Shawn, 5, Garwood 4, Erik 3, O’Malley 2, Fran 2, Owen 1, Jordan 1
Conversions: Garwood 9, Liam 5, Erik 2, Owen 1
Defensive MVP: Jake Laux