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THE EAST IS ALL SET BUT THE WEST IS STILL UP IN THE AIR
Brian Lowe
May 10, 2000

Los Angeles, CA ­(May 7, 2000) ­ Life College of Atlanta and the Kansas City Blues have qualified for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference while the Gentlemen of Aspen have clinched top spot in the West, so all interest now is on who will qualify second behind the Gents.

The regular season came to a close in the East with both Life and Kansas City winning their respective matches while Boston, the third team vying for the playoffs, lost a close one that dashed their hopes of making the post season.

Life College traveled to the national capitol to play PAC and came away with a 39-17 victory that sealed a first place finish in the Eastern Conference.
Life tuned up for the playoffs by scoring five tries to PAC's two and earned itself another bonus point in the process. One of the highlights of the game followed a set scrum just before halftime that saw the ball fed to inside center Chip Curtis who ran an in and away move to sweep in under the posts and that score gave momentum to Life. Coach Mel Smith says it was a
satisfying end to the regular season, "We're pretty pleased. We've worked hard all season and we're very happy to finish the way we did."

In Missouri, the Kansas City Blues hosted Philadelphia-Whitemarsh in a game
the Blues needed to win to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the
playoffs. On a hot and muggy day KC scored five tries and earned itself a
valuable bonus point on the way to a 36-24 victory. From Philly's standpoint, Vaughn Crowe scored two of his side's three tries.

Still in the Mid-west, the Chicago Lions played host to the Boston RFC in a game that the Beantowners had to win to stay ahead of Kansas City in the playoff race, however, Chicago spoiled the party by winning a nail-biter 21-17. With 10 minutes remaining in the match, Boston's Chris Gray stole the
ball and raced in to score a try that seemingly had his team headed for the
post season with a 17-14 lead, but the Lions had other ideas and they scored
a last minute try to clinch the win that left Boston lamenting on what could
have been. The star of the game was Chicago's Eagle squad member Phillip
Eloff who scored all three Lions tries. It was Chicago's first winning
season since Super League kicked off in 1997.

The other matchup in the East saw Washington trying for its first win of the 2000 season by hosting New York Old Blue. Both teams scored five tries apiece, but in the end it was three penalty goals to Old Blue that was the difference in the Bronx team's 40-31 triumph. Old Blue also kept their cool at crunch times which enabled them to go on with it and close out their season on a winning note.

Over in the Western Conference things are not as clear with one more round that will have a huge bearing on what team grabs the vacant second playoff berth.

In a match that featured the only remaining unbeaten teams the Gentlemen of Aspen hosted OMBAC, a game that OMBAC needed to win to stitch up second place in the West. However, Aspen had its sights set on finishing the regular season on a winning note and did just that by the tune of 41-24. The Gents earned yet another bonus point scoring six tries to three. Aspen's former Eagle flyhalf Mark Williams had a good day scoring two tries, four conversions and one penalty goal for a personal haul of 26 points. Williams' points tally so far this season has reached 119. Aspen finished the regular season with a perfect 7-0 record.

That result opened the door for the Dallas Harlequins and the defending
champion Denver Barbarians, both of whom went into this weekend's round of
matches with a chance of finishing second in the West.

Dallas made every post a winner by downing San Francisco Old Blues 39-12 in
the big-D, scoring five tries and earning themselves a crucial bonus point
along the way. One of the stars of the Harlequins' victory was Matt Alexander who had his kicking boots on and made use of a strong wind in the second half to pin Old Blues in their own end of the field. The result moved Dallas into second place ahead of OMBAC who now must beat Old Puget Sound Beach on May 20th to clinch the second playoff spot.

Meantime in Los Angeles, last year's Super Match III finalists Belmont Shore hosted Denver in a game that the reigning champs needed to win to keep alive their slim playoff hopes. Belmont went into the match without a win all season, but blew that statistic away with a 32-17 victory and in doing so blew away Denver's chances of defending its title. Belmont Shore crossed for
five tries against three to Denver. For several Belmont players, including
Captain Kyle Quinn, it was their last game.

The scheduled match between Golden Gate and Old Puget Sound Beach has been postponed until May 13th and will be played in Newport, Rhode Island in conjunction with the National Club Championships.

So after 9 weeks of Super League action Life College and Kansas City advance to the playoffs from the Eastern Conference while Aspen has clinched the number 1 position in the Western Conference. Whether Dallas or OMBAC qualify as number 2 in the West depends on the result of the OMBAC-Old Puget Sound Beach game in two weeks' time.

The semi-finals to be played on May 27th will see Life against either OMBAC or Dallas while Aspen will take on Kansas City.

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