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Berks County RFC - Inspiring Berks County Youth to fall in love with Rugby, the fastest growing sport in America! Berks County Rugby Football Club exists to play, promote and grow the sports of rugby union and sevens rugby to the youth in the greater Reading PA region.
At Berks County Rugby Football Club everyone is welcome. Designed to develop both beginners and experienced players of all skill levels, we train boys and girls grades 5th - 12th (Youth U13, Junior U15 and High School) to play one of the most challenging and enjoyable sports in the world: RUGBY! Rugby has a place for all body types: small and fast, big and strong, tall or short. Although rugby is wildly popular around the world, relatively few people in the U.S. are familiar with rugby, so we start from the beginning so everyone can learn. Even though it looks like chaos to begin with, after a few weeks of practice and a game or two, even beginners “get it” and have a lot of fun!
A hugely competitive Boys Fall 7s Championships ended in driving rain and mud, and no excuses as Berks County pulled off two upsets to win the title.
Berks, St. Joseph’s Prep, Conestoga, and La Salle all came into the tournament with a legitimate shot at winning it all. Conestoga had some impressive power runners and a strong defense. La Salle had depth for days and shifty runners. St. Joe’s had the best kicking game and a really polished sevens approach. Berks had pieces of all of that (maybe not the kicking game … until they needed it).
Berks went into the final tournament with a 13-1 record, and yet with Lasalle going 8-1 (participating in fewer tournaments), St. Joe’s 7-3, and Conestoga at 14-4, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who automatically pegged Berks as the favorite.
Conestoga started off well with a clear 21-5 win over Hempfield. They followed that up with a 27-10 win over Bishops Shanahan in which they fell behind early. Shanahan’s scrumhalf Matt Harper was a sparkplug for that team all day long and needed constant attention. But with Ryan Cammaratta scoring key tries and Eli Ross combining an ability to bust through tacklers and distribute when he drew too much attention, Consetoga looked in control.
La Salle played some exceptional defense, beating Cumberland Valley 33-10, and then holding off an effective West Shore team 7-0.
But Aiden Bretschneider acknowledged that his team had a target on its back.
“Being one of the only school teams here, we’ve beaten these teams before, so they’re out for revenge,” said the big La Salle forward.
“The culture on this team is one of the things that keep as at the top,” added Kevin Corso.
St. Joe’s used their rangy runners and ability to kick to space to torch Blackthorn 36-7. Berks did much the same, 24-5 over Blackthorn. They went wide quickly and were relatively sure-handed on a wet, muddy day. That set up the clash between two teams who could go all the way.
The game would go back and forth. St. Joe’s led. Then the combination of Cole Boyer, Turk Baum, and Matt Cleland produced two tries and a 12-5 lead for Berks. St. Joe’s came back but conversions were hard to come by on the wet ground, as the ball didn’t bounce well. Conversion no good, and Berks held on 12-10.
So the three pool winners went through to the semis along with St. Joe’s, the best 1-1 team with a +27 points difference (West Shore was +12 and Shanahan was -10).
In the semis, once again St. Joe’s was in a back-and-forth game. Ross made a couple of key plays, including setting up the game-icing try, while Cammarata just had a nose for the tryline. Conestoage 28, St. Joe’s 17.
For La Salle vs Berks it was tight all the way. After no score in the first half Berks managed to get one over, only to see La Salle come back with a breakaway that ended with everyone shoving the pile over. That made it 7-7.
With time running out, Berks then produced probably the try of the tournament. It was just a snappy piece of rugby. Baum cut through the middle, set the ruck, and Aiden Pavlek found Boyer, who set up Cleland with a perfect commit-and-offload for the game-winner 12-7.
So on to the final. Berks started the game with the ball and working it side to side, but Cammarata anticipated the ball coming back inside and intercepted the pass to go in for the try. However, as he tried to center the ball the Conestoga player injured his ankle and, unfortunately, could not continue. That was a huge blow to Conestoga. Berks, playing without Baum who picked up an injury in the semis, opted to key on Ross thereafter and, for the most part, that worked.
Berks went back to moving the ball and patiently waiting for an opportunity. it came and Boyer raced through a gap for 80 meters to make it 7-5. Then, perhaps the key moment. With the half almost up, Conestoga was threatening. Berks won a scrum near their tryline but were still under significant pressure. Jake Stelluti, in for Baum, saw there was no sweeper and booted the ball downfield.
The chase was on. Cleland got to the ball first and hoofed it further downfield. He then expertly scooped it up and hydroplaned over the line for a dramatic score.
That was a heartbreaker for Conestoga, as they went from potentially creating a try from defensive pressure to being scored upon 95 meters the other way.
Now Berks had the lead 12-7 going into halftime.
The second half began with Berks getting a yellow card for an intentional knock-on, and Conestoga punishing them with a try for Roma Cammaratta to make it 12-12.
But Berks replied with Pavlek setting up Boyer for his second on a huge run down the sidelines. That made it 17-12, and as the Berks team resolved to keep possession and run out the clock, Boyer saw now cover on the weak side, picked up, and was in at the corner for the 22-12 win.
Both Conestoga Head Coach Chris Ryan and Berks Head Coach Greg Stelluti agreed that the kick-and-chase try at the end of the first half was a key turning point. Conestoga, ready to win the physical battle as they had in the semis, found themselves instead chasing phantoms on the sideline, while Berks was giving as good as they got at the contact point.
An upset? Maybe, maybe not. But it was fun.
Berks County Rugby battled back from a slow start to win the New York 7s High School Premier Championship Saturday at Randall's Island in New York City.
On a cold, windy day on the East River in Manhattan, Berks Rugby opened up pool play at 8AM against Aspetuck Rugby.
With the temperature in the low 20s at kickoff, Berks found themselves starting cold and were down 12-0 after missed tackles on Aspetuck’s first two possessions. Berks settled down and kept the score 12-0 through the end of the first half.
Berks opened the 2nd half with a try by Steven Flinton and they continued to pressure Aspetuck and were soon rewarded with a scrum at the Aspetuck 5-meter line. A strong scrum by Aspetuck earned them a steal and a 95 meter try by scrumhalf Carson Hill extending Aspetuck's lead to 17-5.
But 7s tournaments have a way of surprising you as the day goes on. Aspetuck lost their next game, 26-10 to Canada's Upright Rugby Rogues, and that set up a crucial clash between the Rogues and Berks.
Berks came out with fierce intensity and put Upright Rugby under immediate pressure by stealing the kickoff. After a couple of quick phases, Steven Flinton found space on the outside and dotted it down in the corner for a 5-0 lead. Continuous pressure on Upright paid off with two tries by prop Diohnny Ruiz and that put Berks up 15-0 at the break. The second half started much like the first, with plenty defensive pressure and some bone-crunching hits. Putting in standout defensive efforts were Cole Boyer, Leo Delannoy, Aiden Pavlek, Anthony Bourassa, Turk Baum, Jeremiah Thompson, Eli Ross, and Jake Humphrey. Eventually, Berks broke through again with another try by Flinton. The final score was 22-0 Berks.
After the game, Berks coaches, Greg Stelluti, Bill Pepper, and Paul Shingleton all agreed that it was the best game of 7s they have ever seen a Berks team play. Certainly shutting out Upright is no easy feat.
With pool play completed the top 4 teams were reseeded for the semifinals. Berks drew a rematch with Upright Rugby in their semifinal game, while the other semifinal saw RugbyPA All-State matched up against Northeast Academy.
Berks came out in the semifinal just like they finished against Upright in pool play, with dominating defense and good movement of the ball across the field. Two tries by Diohnny Ruiz, who scored four on the day, and one from Steven Flinton gave Berks a 19-5 victory and a trip to the final where they would see their home state of Pennsylvania’s All-State team.
In the final, Berks found themselves down 7-0 within the first two minutes with a try by LaSalle’s Mike Boyle. Berks responded quickly with another try by Flinton on the wing. Cammarata’s conversion made it 7-7.
RugbyPA came right back with another converted try making the score 14-7. A quick response by Berks, Leo Delannoy, tied the score 14-14 heading into halftime.
Berks came out in in the second half and started to apply the pressure they had been using successfully in their previous games. This led to Flinton’s 6th try on the day and a 19-14 Berks lead. After a RugbyPA turnover, Berks put on the pressure within 10 meters of the RugbyPA tryline. They were finally rewarded with a converted try by Cammarata. The final whistle blew with Berks taking the cup championship 26-14.
Flinton, no surprise, was named the MVP.
Berks County Rugby won the second in the fall series of RugbyPA 7s tournaments on Sunday defeating Gonzaga I in the final.
Hosted by Knightmare Rugby in Hempfield, Pa., the Boys tournament had two pools: Pool A was Berks, Gonzaga I, Bishop Shanahan, and West Shore United, while Pool B was Hempfield, Cumberland Valley, Conestoga. and Gonzaga II.
Berks won all three pool games and the final. The team is now 9-0 on the season, after having finished 5-0 in the first RugbyPA 7s tournament, hosted by Millersville University September 19.
Pool play started with a do-or-die match between Berks and Gonzaga I, and it did not disappoint. In the beginning, both teams had the jitters but then settled into tough defense. Gonzaga I opened the scoring to go up 5-0. Berks answered quickly with a long run for a try by sophomore Matt Cleland to end the half. The conversion was good and Berks led 7-5. In the second half, Berks added another try from junior Baylor Kobularcik to extend the lead to 12-5. Berks dotted down one more try to end the match 17-5.
In match two of pool play, Berks squared off with West Shore United. Berks started fast and never let up. The final score was 33-5 in favor of Berks. Tries were scored by Cleland, Jeremiah Thompson, Jake Humphrey, Ryan Roman, and Kobularcik. Cleland was 4-for-5 on conversions.
Match three of pool play put Berks up against a perennial 7s power in Pennsylvania, Bishop Shanahan. Berks started out fast once again and put continuous pressure on the younger Shanahan side. At the final whistle, Berks won 43-5. Try scorers were Cleland, Cole Boyer, Erik Long, Thompson, Roman, Jax Shingleton, and Wyatt Slostad.
At the end of pool play, Berks won Pool A and Gonzaga II won Pool B. However, Berks and Gonzaga agreed to have Berks and Gonzaga I, instead of Gonzaga II, play for the championship.
Berks struck first in the final match, with a try by Jake Stelluti. That try was quickly followed with a try from Cleland to extend the lead to 14-0. Unfortunately, Cleland sustained a minor injury on the play and Berks lost its leading scorer for the rest of the match. Gonzaga I finished the half with a converted try to cut the lead to 14-7.
In the second half, Berks started out just like in the first half. A beautiful movement saw Boyer make a long break before offloading to a streaking Long, who finished off the try and extended the lead to 21-7. Gonzaga I struck back quickly and cut the lead to 21-12. Berks continued to pressure Gonzaga I and punched in one last try by Thompson, who Berks named its Player of the Day, to end the championship match 28-12.
“It was a great team effort," said Berks Head Coach Greg Stelluti. "We were able to use 17 different players today and gain valuable experience. It’s always tough to play Gonzaga, and we are happy they made the trip up. Our boys are playing well, but I don’t think they are close to their potential yet. We are playing good rugby, but we can get better. This is all preparation for the state championship, and we will continue to build and improve. We will continue to work to get better.”
Prior to the Fall 7's Season Berks had over 30 players register. This gave Berks the opportunity to create two teams to play in the Fall Season. The season kicked off at the Blackthorn College Showcase where the two teams actually played each other. One team went 3- 1 after falling to Bishop Shanahan for their Second game. The other team went 1-3 , beating Doylestown Rugby.Next was the Marywood University Tournament held at Marywood University which is towards Scranton Pennsylvania. Again Berks Entered two teams. The first Berks Team played 3 games going 3-0 and Won the championship game, ending the day at 4-0. The second berks teams went 2-1 , then played for 3rd place where they beat Saint Joe's A side. Matt Fernandez had the honor to be named tournament MVP.
This was a packed summer for the High School Boys team. Berks combined with Media Rugby to play in The CRC's held in Philadelphia. Then Winning Dragon's Breath 7's held by Doylestown. The team also went onto Win the Delco 7's. Following the Delco 7's Berks played in the E-Town 7's where they met West Shore in the Finals and unfortunately were defeated. Next the High School team traveled to Surf Side 7's held in Stone Habor. The Boys met Mount Saint Mary's Developmental team in the finals and fell 28-19. To wrap up the summer the team took an overnight trip to Canton Ohio to play in the Hall of Fame 7's tournament. The team returned as defending Champions and went onto Win the tournament again for the second year in a row.
In the second year of the high school program at Berks County Rugby the boys battled all season against other clubs as well as Single School teams to earn a spot in the Pennsylvania State Semifinals. After Earning a spot in the playoffs the High School team played Downingtown , this was a home game. Despite the terrible Conditions the High School team defeated Downingtown and moved onto the State Finals. Unfortunately Falling to West Shore United ,after beating them in the regular season, at Penn State Berks in the State Semi Finals for Club Division 1.Very Proud Boys.
The Berks County Juniors stormed back from an 8 - 0 half-time deficit and score 27 second half points to take the state championship with a 27-16 win over the Doylestown Juniors.
Stephen Preval dotted down 3 try's and MVP Zak Elgogari led the team around the field on offense and defense.
Berks County Youth Rugby finished their undefeated season with a dramatic come from behind victory over Conestoga Youth Rugby in the state championship! 19 - 15. A great accomplishment for this second year team!
The Berks County Junior team ended their inaugural season with a loss the the eventual State Champion Media Junior Rugby. The thrilling game had Berks dominating time of possession but eventually falling 19-12. An amazing first season of rugby for these great athletes.
Please help Berks County Rugby fund our programs
Berks County Rugby Football Club (EIN# - 81-4450059) is a 501(c)(3) organization. Your contribution is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. No goods or services were provided in exchange for your generous donation.
Ontario Tour 15's
The Berks Junior team won the Coventry 7's tournament on Sunday going 4 - 0 on the day and outscoring their opponents 101 - 22. Great team win!
This past weekend the Berks High School rugby team traveled to Canton, Ohio to play in the Hall of Fame 7's.. There were 8 HS teams entered from Ohio, Indiana and PA. Berks took the title going 4 -1 on the day.
Tournament MVP - Stephen Preval - Berks Rugby
We had many standout performances but Stephen played every minute of every game and was a force on offense and defense.
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