Cardiff Metropolitan University won the BUCS Sevens Men’s Championship, beating Durham 27-12 in Leeds.
Tries from Jack Fielding, Corey Whane, Tom Morgan and John Humphreys in the second-half were enough to see off Durham and claim the title.
The Premier South A side clinched the trophy following a lively final with Durham which saw two yellow cards produced. Durham had taken the lead through Rory Hardman and it looked like the north-east would push on from their great start when Cardiff Met went down to six men midway through the first period.
However, Rob Stevenson was sin-binned for Durham just before the interval and Cardiff Met seized on that opportunity as they levelled things up before half-time with their first try of the final.
From there, Durham never really recovered and got off to the worst possible start in the second-half when Fielding darted over having capitalised on their extra man advantage. Even when Durham were back to their full complement, Cardiff’s pressure continued as Whane touched down.
George Trick did get Durham’s second try of the final, but the hammer blow was delivered by Morgan soon after as he smashed his way over to all but seal the win for Cardiff. The icing was then put on the cake for the Welsh side when from a turnover, Humphreys raced clear to dot down and secure the trophy.
Elsewhere in the competition, Hartpury College beat BUCS Trophy 7s winners Newcastle 17-14 to take the plate.
The men’s competition was divided into four groups of four with the top two from each pool advancing into the quarter-final stage.
On an afternoon where the weather was unpredictable, so were the results in the Men’s group stages as some of the tournament favourites fell at the first hurdle.
From Pool A, Hartpury College could only finish third with just one win to their name which meant Bath and Nottingham Trent progressed into the last eight. In Pool B, there were no upsets as finalists Cardiff Met and Durham qualified with Met beating Durham 22-0 to win all three group matches.
However in Pool C, BUCS XV a-side Champions Exeter also failed to make the quarter-finals as Cardiff and Bristol advanced from that group while Leeds Beckett also missed out on the last eight as Loughborough and Northumbria entered the knockout rounds from Pool D.
With the some of the big teams heading into plate competition, this year’s BUCS 7s Championship was certainly now anybody’s for the taking. The quarter-final stage highlighted the strengths of some of the stronger sides left in the tournament as three of the four pool winners made it into the semi-finals.
Bath, who were starting to show their class, thrashed Northumbria 40-0 while Cardiff Met eased past Bristol 21-5 and Loughborough beat Nottingham Trent 41-12. The other semi-final saw eventual runners-up Durham come through unscathed against Pool C winners Cardiff after a 38-12 win.
On to the last four where one of the real surprises took place. After finishing fourth in the XV a-side competition this season, Cardiff Met’s campaign ended at the quarter-final stages when they lost to Loughborough. Loughborough were certainly one the favourites to win this 7s tournament, but were stunned by Cardiff Met who exacted their revenge with a 19-0 win to reach the final.
In the second semi-final, a last gasp Durham try saw them beat Bath 21-15 in a pulsating encounter to set-up a rematch of Pool B’s top clash from earlier in the afternoon.
I’m not sure many people would’ve expected Cardiff Met v Durham to be the final in Leeds. The likes of Exeter, Loughborough, Hartpury and Bath had all fallen by wayside, but both Cardiff Met and Durham fully deserved their place in the final.
Cardiff Met headed into this final with a 100 per cent record, but that immediately looked under threat when Hardman scampered over for Durham. That record was then put to the test once again when Met were reduced to 14 men.
However, the tide then turned when Stevenson was yellow-carded to the outrage of the Durham bench. Cardiff Met then hit back before the break despite Durham shading proceedings.
Cardiff flew out of the blocks in the second period and scored a quick fire double through Fielding and Whane before Trick gave Durham some hope.
But, all that hope disappeared as Morgan and then Welsh crossed for Met to seal the title for Chris Davey’s men.
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