Nate Perry of the George Washington Rugby Club broke free and scored a try in the final minute of play yesterday to lift his team past Ottawa, 6-3, as three of four local teams entered in the 12-team men's bracket of the Cherry Blossom Festival rugby tournament won qualifiers on the Lincoln Memorial fields.
In today's semifinals at 10:30 a.m., George Washington will play the Washington Rugby Football Club, and the Northern Virginia Rugby Club will play last year's champion, Old Blue of New York City. The men's final is at 2.
The Washington Rugby Football Club's B side was eliminated, 20-0, by Northern Virginia.
In the 10-team women's bracket, Krista McFarren scored four tries and had two kicks in two victories to lead the University of Maryland into today's 11:30 a.m. final against the Northern Virginia Vixens. V.C. Sanders scored all but one of the tries to lead the Vixens to a 32-6 victory over Fort Bragg that advanced them to the finals.
GW, whose only affiliation to the university is the law degrees of two of its players, Tommy Fromme and Jim Trump, trailed, 3-0, when Ottawa converted a drop kick in the first half.
Late in the second half, Keyvan Keanpour broke free for George Washington and ran into the try zone. His effort was nullified because the referee ruled he had stepped out of bounds before touching the ball down.
With time running out, Perry broke free along the left sideline and scored following a line out at midfield.
"After he (Keanpour) messed up my assist, I thought I'd better score," left winger Perry said. Brian O'Sullivan's two-point conversion kick after the try gave George Washington its final margin.
Roanoke, Washington's second opponent of the afternoon, moved out to a 6-0 lead on two penalty kicks. Although Bill Bernhard made a three-point penalty kick from near the sideline before the end of the half, it appeared Roanoke's lead might stand up in the tournament-shortened second half (25 minutes instead of the usual 40).
But in the second half, Jeff Wishmeyer, Danny Furth, Jeff Hoadley and Chip Henderson each scored tries and Bernhard twice converted on points after try to give Washington a 26-6 victory.
Furth scored the most picturesque try of the day. After Washington controlled a scrum, he picked up the ball and ran toward the near sideline. Furth, whose rugby career began at Whitman High School, evaded a defender by faking a pass to wing Greg Pascale. He cut upfield and ran 20 yards into the try zone.
"Basically, we needed a half to find out their weaknesses," said Bernhard, whose kick after Furth's try made the score 21-6.