Burlington Centaurs hosted Toronto Nomads in the home opener at Sherwood Forest Park on Saturday 30th May. Taking advantage of recent excellent weather and field conditions and special dispensation from Burlington City the Centaurs were able to use their home field for the first time this year and the capacity crowd were rewarded with an excellent game of rugby between two teams looking to keep the ball in hand and entertain. Nomads came out strongest and dominated possession in the first 10 minutes forcing the home side to play defence from the outset. This was rewarded with a try in the right corner form the Nomands wing after a missed tackle in centre field, which went unconverted into a strong wind. Burlington replied soon after taking advantage of turnover ball to release the returning curling superstar Zach Shurtleff who grounded in the corner after some nice passing from the Centaurs backs. Brendan Bryan would convert from the touchline before leaving the field shortly after with a suspect in-growing toenail. Nomads continued to build pressure with their direct style of rugby and in their next foray into the Centaurs half took advantage of a mismatch on the right side resulting in the excellent Nomads centre scoring under the posts. This would be converted and the Nomads would lead 12-7 at the half.
Playing back into the wind the Centaurs would finally find their stride putting successive phases together resulting in new found wing talent Jordan Tanner beating his opposite number on the outside to sprint home and finish in the right hand corner tying the score at 12-12. The Centaurs were now the dominant side especially in the scrummage with the introduction of long time stalwart and golf irrigation professor James Raynor. This dominance would pay dividends with a neat chip kick releasing Tanner again who would win the footrace to score his second try of the game for the Centaurs to lead 17-12.
In the third period the Centaurs once again had the wind and used this to their advantage kicking well and spreading the ball across the park with aplomb trying to utilize their pace on the outside. Pressure on the Nomads line would result in Deny McCarthy spinning out of two tackles to score a trademark effort providing some breathing room for the young Centaurs team. As the Nomads tired the Centaurs saw out the game with some guile and nuance pushing one more try over to end the game 27-12 winners over a gritty and able Nomads squad who proved difficult to break down at times and who were aggressive and physical in contact situations.
Coaches Jon Goldie and Tony Godzeik were well satisfied with the effort and courage shown by the squad after a tough beginning and a victory against a team one tier up in the Marshall leagues. Next week the Centaurs host their annual Full Monty Heald tournament at Sherwood Forest park which is sure to be an excellent day of rugby as the club prepares for the league opener on May 28th.
Burlington Centaurs RFC
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