The Centaurs finished off their Eastern division road trips with a journey up to Thompson Rugby Park to take on the division leaders, the Oshawa Vikings. The uncharted waters were going to be relentless as both the Vikings Sr. men’s teams assembled at the top of their divisions. Furthermore, the Vikings were hosting their annual alumni day which served plenty of rugby. That being said, the Burlington Men prepped well and were eager to ride the tide.
The 2ndXV still looking for their first win of the season, which has eluded them thus far. The clouds still covered the sky as the game kicked-off and the rain dissipated. Yet, Daryl Tharby brewed a ferocious storm on the field as he lead the team with a flood of thunderous tackles. Again, the youngster pairing of Brotman and Howes provided clean and crisp ball. Repeated infringements for high tackles put Burlington down a man and the boys found themselves down a couple scores early. They were able to fight back with two first half tries. A textbook driving maul lead Captain Wilkins over the line and a dynamic open field line break gave Brock Kelly all the space he needed for a 30 yard gallop under the posts.
Going into half, the Centaurs were only down a few scores. The message at half-time- tackle low, and avoid penalties. As the second 40 kicked off, injuries and wear took its toll on the Centaurs. The Vikings turned up the heat and opened up the wounded Burlington Squad. The Vikings showed why they own the division’s top spot as their young team set sail in the second half earning them the 40-19 win. Ambitious availabilities will be stronger in the future. There is no lack of fight from the 2XV, this easily would have been a different outcome if the team did not concede any penalties, giving Oshawa territory most of the game.
The Centaurs 1stXV closed out alumni day in front of many supporters. With both teams sitting at the top of their respective divisions. The test had all the ingredients for a classic East/West clash. The Centaurs wasted no time stealing the ball off the opening kickoff and implementing their pattern. B. Bryan stroked a penalty early and thereafter, the champ, A. Wilson, walked in a try from the base of the scrum shortly after to put the visitors up 8. The Vikings surged back with a quick counter attack closing the margin to 1 point, 8-7 Centaurs. The Centaurs had trouble forming their shape in first 40, penalties and unforced errors had them playing a lot of defense.
As the half time whistle blew the Centaurs recoiled to Coaches Kelly & Godziek. The message was simple: calm down, play our game, let the ball do the work, communication is paramount. The second 40 showed a more poise Centaurs squad. As the phases accumulated, gaps were created which developed running room for the tight 5. Mcleod, Brownson, D. Wilson, Hogg, A. Wilson racked up plenty of kilometers in carries. Though the development was there, the Vikings defense failed to breakdown. The game remained close as the second half ensued. That is until man of the match, Brenden Gilbert parted the sea with an all gas no brake 30 meter try after a clearance kick failed to reach the touch line. Gilberts try boosted the rest of the squad and the electricity sent shock waves through his teammates. Bronson, Tanner & Hogg also crossed the line tallying a 4 try second half and securing a bonus point win, 34-7 visitors. A character second half by the Centaurs allows them to remain at top spot in the Championship division with a perfect 6-0 record with 4 regular season games to go. Arguably, the biggest takeaway was the Defensive performance which collectively only allowed the explosive home side to score once.
Both Sr. men’s team head into the bye week as we celebrate our nation’s birth. The men then return back to Sherwood Forrest on July 7th, wrapping up their eastern conference run through as they host the Aurora Barbarians. The Centaurs would also like to thank Paul Connolly and the Oshawa Vikings for the great matches and hospitality. Going into Saturday, #BackYourBluesForEquality had already raised $1,900 for our provincial women’s program. A $200 donation by our club president was easily matched and likely doubled on Saturday as multiple Centaurs donated to support the initiative to Women’s rugby in Ontario. If you want to make a seperate donation please contact; Paul Connelly