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Belmont Shore knows how to finish a game and showed it on three key opportunities this season, including Saturday's 54-29 win over OMBAC in Pacific Rugby Championship Final at the Little Q in San Diego.
Shore was in the title game in part because of an opening week, last-second try and conversion to beat SFGG. If the Long Beach team had not scored that try, it would have been playing for third this past weekend.
The second big finish was last week when Shore got some late tries to seal a victory over Life West and also ensure a bonus point for a fourth try—no bonus point, no place in the final.
In Saturday's championship game, OMBAC got a try from Tim Stanfill and a conversion from Logan Boggs to lead 29-28 with 16 minutes left to play. Then Shore went to work. Wing Greg Daniel was the beneficiary of some slick backline passing, and his try put Shore back in the lead.
Soon after, rumbling sub forward Pita Semeane took an offload and powered almost to the line and got back in the play in time to get a return pass and score. Then Daniel went through three tacklers to stretch over and just touch down on the line. Suddenly it was 47-29 for Belmont Shore.
And the team wasn't done yet. OMBAC was slowing getting back to help Ian Denham on a kick, and the Shore chasers forced a knock-on that was handled from an offside position. Belmont Shore quick-tapped on the penalty and sent the ball out to Andrew Jackson, who dove over.
It was a startling end to a thriller of a season. Belmont Shore, in a one-point battle in OMBAC's favor, scored four tries in 16 minutes to put the game and the PRP season away 54-29. OMBAC, which was at one time 7-0 in the league, will be looking at why its squad went 1-3 to finish the season.
SFGG took third, defeating Life West 47-34 in a bit of a barn burner. Santa Monica took fifth, knocking off Olympic Club 41-5.
Belmont Shore moves on to face the Austin Blacks in the national D1 club semifinals on May 19 in Fort Worth, Texas. The Blacks beat the Dallas Harlequins in the Red River Conference semifinal on May 4 and then won the conference title game against the Dallas Reds two days later.
The winner of the D1 club semifinal awaits the winner of a quarterfinal-semifinal playoff in the East. Mystic River plays the Norfolk Blues, which won the Mid-Atlantic with a 31-29 defeat of Rocky Gorge on Saturday. New York Athletic Club plays the Chicago Lions.