PITTSFIELD -- After two years of finishing second, the Berkshire United Rugby Club is ready to move up a notch.
Berkshire will be hosting that 2013 New England Rugby Football Union Division IV Tournament on Saturday at Crosby Elementary School on West Street. There is no admission to the event.
Berkshire is seeded first in the seven-team field, which is no surprise, as the local lads ripped through the regular season undefeated at 6-0.
And "ripped" is an apt term. Berkshire outscored its opponents 415-27 this season, according to Jim Hurley, a player-assistant coach with the team.
"People will be gunning for us," said David Colli, the coach of the team. "We expect to win on Saturday, but we're not overconfident. We'll have to play our best rugby of the year to win."
Saturday's event will be an all-day, double-elimination affair. Berkshire, the first-place finisher in the league, has earned a first place bye. They will play the winner of No. 4 seed Rutland and No. 5 seed Black River at 1 p.m.
If they win, they will play in the championship game at 4 p.m.
As the tourney is a one-day event, the teams will play abbreviated games: Two 22-minute halves rather than a pair of 45-minute halves. This setup, Hurley believes, will be the Berkshire's advantage.
"It's more a sprint than a marathon in that case," he said. "Rugby is compared to football, but it's more like soccer. It's non-stop running for 45 minutes, full speed, full contact. It's draining.
"We could win either way, but I think we'll have an advantage with our speed," he said.
The team has been on the verge of winning a championship for the past few years.
"I think the work we've put in this year has paid off, and we've had good numbers all year," said Hurley.
"The commitment has been there all year," said Colli. "We've traveled very well this year and everyone has put in the work."
Player Justin Hoffman, who used to commute from Boston to play for Berkshire, agreed. Hoffman, who now lives in Pittsfield, believes the teams' solid youth program, which was begun four years ago, has been a factor.
Hurley and Colli took over Berkshire Rugby is 2008, and one of the first things the duo did was begin a youth program.
That program, said Colli, has provided a solid nucleus of young, experienced players for Berkshire.
"We used to joke about a 10-year-plan," said Colli. "But it's paying off in the sixth year."