THE captain of the Sydney Convicts said Pacific rugby was the winner at the Bingham Cup grand final today as no less than four Southern Hemisphere teams walked away with silverware.
But it’s Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver who will be happiest. Last week, he challenged the Convicts to retain the Cup, and therefore prevent the ARU’s international trophy cabinet from being empty. Well, not only have the Convicts achieved that – they’ve added to the trophy trove with the Bingham Shield.
In the morning, Sydney’s top side did away the Convicts B team 58 to nothing in a home derby semi-final.While a bad tempered game between the Brisbane Hustlers and London’s Kings Cross Steelers – including the first red card of the tournament – saw the Queenslanders prevail by six points ensuring an all-Australian final.
As the sun came out over Rose Bay, and the crowds massed, it was NSW vs Queensland. And, just like the 2014 State of Origin, it went all Sydney’s way.
Convicts’ fly-half James Saunders was pivotal to the team’s victory. All the more surprising since in the last week he’s not only had to train for the Cup but also master his moves at the opening ceremony dance performance with indigenous company Bangarra.
Sydney dominated the grand final – which was only momentarily disturbed by a duo of streakers from Manchester – beating the Hustlers 31 – 0. The win restored some pride after Brisbane defeated the Convicts earlier this year in the Australian-only Purchas Cup.
Earlier, the Convicts’ C side overcame the Chicago Dragons 12 – 5 to bring the Bingham Shield to Sydney alongside the Cup.
Hustlers’ captain, Jon Blunt, commended the Convicts saying they always played, “a tough game.. on the edge and that’s exactly how we like it.”
Blunt said the team’s rebirth over the last two years had been remarkable: “To my boys, hold your heads up. We’re not going off this field losers, were going back to Queensland with pride.”
Convicts’ captain, Steve Thorne, told the Star Observer it was “crazy” just how well the Sydney sides had performed: “Our second grade was up into the top tier, which was an achievement to start with, and they they got up into the semi-finals which was unbelievable.
“Then our third grade won the Shield so it’s been a bit of a red letter day.”
Thorne singled out Melbourne, Brisbane and New Zealand for praise: “Southern hemisphere Pacific rugby was something we really wanted to show the world and with the New Zealand Falcons also bringing a big game, Pacific rugby took the spoils today.”
Melbourne’s Chargers A side beat the San Francisco Fog to take the Bingham Plate while the Bingham Bowl will be crossing the ditch with the Falcons.
Non-Pacific teams only got a look in on the third tier Hoagland Cup and Vase, named after Mark Bingham’s mother, Alice. Philadelphia overcame Ottawa to take the former with the Southern USA Ba Baas defeating the Boston Ironsides for the latter.
Had this been the best Bingham Cup yet, Thorne was asked: “Big time,” he replied.
Competition results – Sunday 31 August
Top tier competition results
Bingham Cup grand final
- Sydney Convicts A 31 – 0 Brisbane Hustlers
Bingham Plate final
- Melbourne Chargers A 31 – 10 San Francisco Fog
- Brisbane Hustlers 14 – 8 London Kings Cross Steelers
- Sydney Convicts A 58 – 0 Sydney Convicts B
- Melbourne Chargers A 42 – 0 Los Angeles Rebellion
- San Francisco Fog 11 – 3 New York Gotham City Knights
Second tier competition results
Bingham Bowl final
- New Zealand Falcons 25 – 19 Dublin / New England Emerald Valkyries
Bingham Shield final
- Sydney Convicts C 12 – 5 Chicago Dragons
- Dublin / New England Emerald Valkyries 29 – 7 Manchester Village Spartans
- New Zealand Falcons 34 – 7 Atlanta / Charlotte Royal Bucks
- Chicago Dragons 7 – 5 Kings Cross Steelers B
- Sydney Convicts C 12 – 7 West Coast Phever
Third tier competition results
Hoagland Cup final
- Philadelphia Gryphons 19 – 7 Ottawa Wolves
Hoagland Vase final
- Southern USA Ba Baas 26 – 5 Boston Ironsides
- Philadelphia Gryphons 12 – 5 Amsterdam Lowlanders
- Ottawa Wolves 12 – 0 Melbourne Chargers B
- Boston Ironsides 15 – 5 Hustler Australian Barbarians
- Southern USA Ba Baas 19 – 0 Toronto / San Diego / Stockholm Muddy Armada Berzekers