Belmont Shore wins the inaugural Western Open, after a tightly contested match with the Life West Gladiators, to book their spot at the 2018 USA Rugby Club 7s National Championship. After winning their first qualifier in the Pacific South the previous weekend, the three time 7s national champions will now be in a primed position to make it four.
Eight teams made the journey to San Francisco's Treasure Island, to participate in the Western Open. The eight teams came from two different competitive regions, and between them there had been no lack of experience on the national stage. As proceedings got under way it looked as if Life West, was going to be the favorites to take home the silverware at the end of the competition. Through pool-play they went undefeated amassing a gargantuan total of 104 points across three games, while only conceding twenty-one points. Their closest game in the opening rounds, came against eventual Pool A runner-up, Santa Monica; but even that wasn't particularly close as Life West streaked away 31-14. Pool A was rounded up by San Francisco Golden Gate (SFGG), who went 1-2 in pool play, and East Bay Blues who were unable to get into the winner's circle.
In the other pool a similar story was told, although in a slightly less convincing manner. Belmont Shore pushed their way through their pool opponents without much of a second thought, going 3-0, racking up eighty-four points and letting in thirty-five in the process. Their biggest scare in pool play came against the Westside Ronins who pushed them for the full contest, but weren't able to pull off the upset, as Belmont won 19-14. The Ronins finished second in Pool B, while Olympic Club took out third over San Jose Seahawks on point differential.
With pool-play in the books, the stage was set for the quarterfinals. Matchups were set where the winner of each pool play the team that finished fourth, the runners up play the third placed team of each pool. Quarterfinals went according to seedings with the Westside Ronin SFGG game being the closest, as the Ronins pulled away 29-24. The Gladiators advanced beating the Seahawks 30-0, Belmont took care of East Bay 25-0 and Santa Monica beat their rivals Olympic Club 19-0.
In the semifinals, it all went according to seedings, as none of the runners up from either pool were able to set up a rematch in the Championship. Belmont was clinical against Santa Monica and put them away with relative ease, 36-14. While, the Ronins and Gladiators were locked up in a tight tussle. The Gladiators eventually prevailed 19-14.
In the championship, it was all to play for, as both teams desperately wanted their position in nationals locked up, and not left up to qualifiers. In the end, there was little to nothing separating the two teams, as they both scored two tries, the difference came down to a missed conversion. Belmont winning and advancing to nationals thanks to a 14-12 score line.