There were storm clouds distilling around the pitch on Saturday, but it turned out to be a full day sunny skies and plenty of tries. With 3 regular season games to go, two men’s sides were at home for possibly the final time this summer.
The 2ndXV came into the day looking to regroup, and they knew this was no easy tasks facing a hefty London Squad. Unfortunately there was a similar story line as last week. The home side went down two scores early. However, there was a familiar man at the scrumhalf position and he wasn’t going down without a surge. Mr. David Jones scoring the first two tries for the Centaurs, the second on a textbook pass from Callum which closed the gap. The Centaurs push back only seemed to fire up the visitors as their defense became relentless. Bryan Hannon having a hell of a game despite some challenging ball flow and no room to attack, his boot was on, which kept the game close.
Falling behind early has been the 2ndXV’s Kryptonite all season and today was no different. Though a strong defensive game was played by D. Tharby (as usual) and D. Kelly- the lack of execution close to the try line was detrimental for the 2s. The game quickly turned into a bit of a shootout and on the day, London had more ammunition, 45-26 Visitors. Still searching for their first win, the boys will make the trek up to the square next weekend to face the Toronto Nomads. A winnable game, let’s keep the numbers up at training this week.
All good things come to an end. The 1stXV needed a win over the travelling London St. George to clinch onto the top spot, and they showed that intent right from the opening kick. It looked as if the Centaurs were going to keep on rolling as usual. The celebratory beers were all but poured…..
A well prepped London squad created havoc for the Centaurs. Multiple phases but minimal yards and a strong wind in the opposite direction hemmed the Centaurs on their side of the 50. A missed tackle close to the breakdown saw London draw first blood, kick was good and the Centaurs were down 7. Not daunted, the Centaurs pressed back as Andy Wilson crashed over the line earning those hard yards. A missed conversion kept the Centaurs down, 7-5. As the game began to open up a blocked grubber inside the Centaurs 22 shot T. Atkinson out of the stable. A pickup off the deflection sent the Centre on 70-yard gallop, and the home team took the lead. It seemed though the Centaurs began to settle into their groove, a penalty kick and a great individual effort by the electric Brenden Gilbert made way for a ginger-to-ginger connection, Jordan Tanner in the corner, 20-13 at half time.
The second 40 started off with more fortune for the Centaurs, as Brownson’s second effort lead to a tally after a London handling error. Heads were down all across the red line; though with potentially their season on the line, the visitors were ignited. Penalties, possession and territory tilted in the London direction. Strong scrummaging & lineout ball took liberty on the Centaurs. London began to press as precious minutes ticked off the clock. A London try off the back of a scrum and multiple slotted penalties made for close final minutes. Extensive time defending alluded to card trouble for the Centaurs and with only minutes to play, London’s 5th penalty convert sealed the deal – 27-25 Visitors. An exciting 80 mins and in the end, London had more gas in the tank.
And therefore the unbeaten streak comes to an end, for over a year no one could solve the Burlington Centaur’s team. With a streak like that comes enormous pressure, everyone brings their best in attempt to knock off the top dogs. It was a tough loss, but the end goal remains the same: secure promotion and carry the momentum into the playoffs.
In closing the Centaurs would like to thank Cam MacArthur for lending us the Rugby vs. Cancer Kit. Though the scoreboard result stung, the fact the Burlington Centaurs, London St. Georges and all the supporting fans could raise close to $1,000.00 on the day is a great success. The effort by all the volunteers won’t be over-looked and the money raised is a high point on the day.