By Seraj Essul.
Tripoli 7 April 2013:
In a hard-fought series of seven-a-side matches, Benghazi triumphed over Tripoli on the rugby field at . . .[restrict]the Regatta in the capital this weekend .
The top two teams from the local leagues in both cities, Ahli and Shabab from Tripoli and Hilal and Tahadi from Benghazi played six matches against each other, throughout a long and gruelling Friday.
The first game was a hard-fought contest between Ahli and Shabab in which Ahli won 24-7. Then Hilal trounced Tahadi 24-0.
After a 15-minute break, Hilal took the field against Shabab in a tense encounter in which a late tackle by a Hilal team member led to his sending off and injury for the Shabab player who had just scored a try. A substitute was sent on and Shaba’s revenge was a 19-0 whitewash.
Ahli then proceeded to wipe the floor with Tahadi 29-0 and Shabab completed Tahadi’s despair with a 19-0 win.
The final match of an exhausting day was the deciding game between Hilal and Ahli. It turned out to be a close fought encounter in which Hilal’s 7-0 win did not reflect the spirited effort put in by the Tripoli team. However at the final whistle Hilal emerged as Libya’s 2013 seven-a-side champions.
As his team celebrated around him, Hilal manager Hamdi Azouzi told the Libya Herald: “This success came from hard work. The team is getting better after every round. We are training three to four days a week and I belief we can still do much better “.
The man of the championship was Shabab’s Mohammed Elmanni who scored a total of 27 points throughout the contest. His brother Ahmed notched up 25 points and was the second highest scorer.
As the popularity of rugby continues to grow around the country, next year’s leagues and national championship promise to be even better.