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The twentieth 1979 Monterey (California) Tournament took on added importance when the organizers called it the “National Championship.” Played on lush polo fields dotting the scenic 17 Mile Drive, the contest included top rugby squads from the USA and from Canada.
It marked the first event win for the Old Blues of Berkeley, a side comprised mainly of ex Cal footballers and ruggers.
The final match witnessed the Old Blues defeat James Bay 18-9, an all-star Canadian side, including some internationals considered that nation’s top fifteen.
Jeff Momsen, the Old Blues’ Captain, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Ron Mayes coached the squad to the well-deserved victory, which saw his side not cede a try during the event. Other stars for the winners were scrumhalf Dave Bateman and hooker Jeff Hollings.
James Bay enjoyed some consolation defeating the Old Blues later that week in a rematch.
Rugby Magazine criticized Monterey’s “National Championship” puffery stating, accurately, that, only a playoff among all the unions would crown a USA club champion. This format would follow some years later, when the Old Blues RFC would dominate.