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OMBAC's Sam Gonzales evades tackle

Once there existed a Super League comprised of the top-quality clubs in the country who met annually to claim the USA title. In 2006, the eight quarterfinalists represented the ne plus ultra of club rugby that included: Belmont Shore, Potomac, OMBAC, New York AC, Old Blue, San Francisco Golden Gate, Chicago Lions, and the Denver Barbarians.

The semis saw Belmont Shore defeat Old Blue 27-18 in Long Beach, California, from two tries by Sinipati Uiagalelei. In Chicago, OMBAC beat Chicago Lions 39-34, the San Diego-based fifteen led throughout the match as the Lions scrambled to get back in the game.

The final in Santa Clara between OMBAC and Belmont Shore renewed one the nation’s historic sectional rivalries as the two I-5 California neighbors went head to head for the championship. OMBAC were six-time national club champions, while Belmont had finished first or second in the past eight finals, dating back to 1997.

Belmont Shore were undefeated heading into the final, and had lost only four matches in the prior five-years. Earlier in the season, Belmont beat OMBAC 26-24, on the final play.

The contest turned out to be a memorable battle with OMBAC holding on for a 36-33 victory.

Belmont broke ahead 15-5 early in the first period, and led 27-19 at the break.

In the second half, at 30-22 Belmont, OMBAC’s Dan Payne (captain) off-loaded to Matt Hawkins, who passed to Jason Ravens for the score. The conversion by Sam Gonzales made it 30-29.

Belmont increased the margin to 33-29, but, with minutes ticking down, OMBAC’s Will Hafu dummied successfully and scored a try. Conversion by Gonzales as the whistle blew for a 36-33 final score.