Harvard, defending champion in the Seven-A-Sides Rugby Tournament, lost in the initial round of play to the First Troop of Philadelphia, 3-3, Saturday at Van Cortiandt Park in Yonkers, N.Y.
The Old Blues of Columbia won this seven-hour round robin elimination tournament. Thirty-nine teams took part in the contest sponsored by the New York Rugby Club and played each year over the Thanksgiving holiday in New York.
Seven-A-Sides rugger is played, obviously enough, with seven men on a team, (three forwards, three backs, and a scrumhalf) in two seven-minute periods of play. With much razzle dazzle and little differentiation in position, it is a wide-open game, similar to touch football. The forwards also play like backs, and there are few scrums and a great deal of running.
Only five of the seven Crimson players were ruggers, and none had played seven-a-sides this season. The two newcomers, both ex-footballers, were understandably confused, but managed to hold their own.
Bruce Caputo played his first game as scrumhalf, Eric Bradlee hooked with props Bill Pfeiffer and Curt Lemkan. In the three-quarter line were Mike Burbank, hampered by a leg injury, Rod Gardner, and spunky Gage McAfee who, when tackled, frequently got right back up again and kept running.
The well-organized First Troop did a lot of hustling and led off the scoring after a penalty kick, which was quickly followed by another somewhat questionable penalty, bringing the ball dangerously near the Crimson's goal line. The First Troop fell on a kick in the end sone for a try which was successfully converted.
Zebra Kick Pays Off
Rod Gardner made an excellent zebra kick (a kick up the middle when the opposition expects one into touch) but an offsides penalty returned the prolate spheroid to the Crimson five-yard line. The Philadelphians took it across on a rush.
In the beginning of the second period, Bill Pfeiffer scored on a play down the middle when the ball broke loose, and the forwards ran it over.