Thursday, March 17, 2016

Austin Blacks Win Inaugural Gold Cup

The Austin Blacks entered last weekend's final Gold Cup matches with a lead and in the end with two wins over the Kansas City Blues and Metropolis the Blacks won the competition. The Gold Cup, which pits the two top teams from the Midwest and Red River from the previous season against each other, was designed to give top teams in the middle of the country more high level games. When all is said and done the Blacks, Blues, Metropolis, and Dallas Reds will all have had four extra matches that they wouldn't have had playing in their respective divisions.

For the Blacks it started on Saturday with a 38-14 win over Metropolis. They team got contributions from several players, including tries from Matt Radzavich (twice), Sam Rooke (twice), Tim Howard, and Stephen Jones. With that win the Blacks clinched the title with a match to spare. The Blacks then closed out their tournament with a 40-24 win over the Kansas City Blues. Once again it was Rooke doing much of the scoring finishing with a hat-trick. Jones had two tries of his own.

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Finishing in second place was the Dallas Reds. They were third heading into the weekend but with a tight win over Metropolis and a win over the Blues they moved up to second. The win against Metropolis was the closest at 36-34. Training by 13 late in the half Metropolis mounted a comeback and nearly prevailed with a draw only to see their conversion go off the posts. Blake Boulton had a couple of tries for the Reds as well as a penalty and a number of conversions. In the other match the Reds beat the Blues 27-17.

Overall, the Gold Cup has to be considered a success. It delivered on its objective of delivering a higher standard of matches and it upped the level of play for all teams involved. 

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