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Rain related field closures could not stop the rugby in Southern California as the 32nd Annual Champagne Classic got underway. Over the course of two days, eight teams (four competitive and four social) convened to play five games a piece for a shot at winning their respective divisional crown. Each team played three games (20 minute halves) on Saturday and two on Sunday. The finals consisted of 30-minute halves.
Teams in the social division included the tournament hosts San Diego Surfers, Evil Beavers (combined team from Oregon and Washington), CSU Fullerton, and the Unisharks (combined Arizona team). The competitive division featured the 2015 WPL National Champion Glendale Raptors, San Francisco Golden Gate, Berkeley All Blues, and the Austin Valkyries.
The Surfers won the social division, defeating the Evil Beavers while Glendale shut out the Austin Valkyries to claim the 2015 Champagne Classic Championship. Both division winners went undefeated on the weekend
Historically, the Champagne Classic has attracted many teams, particularly those in in colder, snowy regions, as a curtain raiser to their spring season. In recent years, it’s been hit or miss in popularity due to the varying dates, as in some instances, teams would have begun their seasonal play. San Diego Surfer Kara Matthews noted, “This year, we found out two days before the tournament that our original venue (which had three fields) cancelled the tournament due to rain. “ This forced the Surfers to find new locations last minute and adversely impacted the tournament. “We had a high school girls division that had to be cancelled unfortunately. The tournament was actually supposed to be bigger.”
With 32 years of experience hosting one of the most popular women’s 15s tournaments in the country, the Surfers hope for growth of the tournament in the coming years. Matthews adds, “We have access to venues that can accommodate larger tournaments, as long as we don’t pick the one weekend of the year that it happens to rain in San Diego!”