The 26th of May marked a full day of action at Sherwood Forest Park. The Centaurs hosted the 10th annual Roddy Allan Tournament with roughly 58 teams and 800 youth rugby players. This exceptional day included Under 7, Under 9, and Under 11 teams participating. This tournament continues to be a highlight of the year, and clearly demonstrates the growth of the sport among younger age groups in our region. The action did not end there, as the women and all 3 Sr. men’s team were also competing on home turf.
Saturday was the first League match of the season for the Centaur Women’s team.
The match was at home against one of the best teams in the league, London, who included both Canadian and Ontario representative players. The match was supported by many from the club and some who had stayed behind to watch post the Roddy Allan Tournament held earlier in the day and accompanied by very warm conditions.
Although the final score was far from flattering for the Centaur Women, lost 61 to 15, the style, rucking from the forwards and backs moves plus overall determination by all, demonstrated a great improvement over the previous season and bodes well for the future. We welcomed a new player to the team, Danny Y-L, and some returning faces Jackie K and Emily V, who all managed to get game time in hot and humid conditions. The team were complimented by the London Coaches for the rucking and counter rucking play even when it was clear the heat was taking a toll on all. London also described some of the running play from the backs as both effective and clinical in its application. Although the Centaurs struggled against London’s representative players, all learnt from their play and will take this knowledge forward into the rest of the season. Tries for the Centaurs derived from pressure play from Ahink with a great final burst of energy to cross over the London try line and two break away tries from Amber whose speed and fitness managed to keep her ahead of London’s speedsters. The best of the two tries was an interception from within the Centaurs own half which certainly caught London on aware and broke what was definitely one of their rehearsed moves.
Despite the defeat, the Centaur Women show great progression and promise from last season and look forward to their next match away to Fergus on Saturday 2nd June.
The “Berties” 3rd XV kicked off first at 1200 hours “off-site” at Nelson Park. This was the teams’ first run around of the year. The extreme heat and humidly made it difficult for both teams to shake the rust off. With a combination of strapping young lads and longstanding centaur veterans, the Berties looked to open their campaign in the win column. This was no easy task competing against a youthful and athletic Waterloo County side. And to that point, Waterloo wasted no time getting on the board early popping in two quick tries slotting an early 10-0 lead. The Berties pushed back with long runs by promising young player Ryan Matthews and capped off by a Denis Tomas try. Though there was some glimpses of tidy play the Berties went into half down 17-7. With one adjustment at half the Berties started to show some gusto with great line-out work by Chris Dubrawksi and Daryl Tharby. This led the way for Gary ‘The Hype Man’ Hesmar as he touched down a try in the corner to close the gap. With Waterloo struck back quickly but this paved the way for the nicest try of the day and undeniably an internet sensation moment. Veteran Tommy Jenkins completed a one touch, no look, behind the back pass to Breton Courtney, who easily walked under the posts. Though the Berties outscored the County side in the second half they felt short 24-19. With Billy Clayton leading the way in tackles and carries, he is ambitious next week as his side takes on Niagara on the road.
As the venue changed back to the familiar grass at Sherwood Forrest. The 2nd XV team Kicked off looking to avenge their first loss of the season. This was by no means an easy task, as Waterloo County showed why they’ve competed in top league. County wasted no time and put the home team down early. This was an high energy match and it didn’t help that the Centaurs struggled with a few last minute lineup changes. Colin Patterson noticeably stepped up to the challenge and it showed through his up-tempo work rate and taking charge of the home pack.
With the 2nds down at half time. Youngsters Jack Mahoney & Alistar Howes injected some pace into the lineup. Sparking a comeback the Centaurs ironed out their set pieces providing a stable platform to play some expansive rugby. Tries poured through with Howes and Jake Omay touching down. But the Centaurs comeback fell short, 35-22 to County. It has been a tough start to the season thus far for the 2nds. However, the morale continues to be tall as they travel to Barrie this Saturday hungry for their first win.
As the forecast heated up, the 1st XV took the pitch against a hungry Waterloo side. With the home side up for a big test and the sun at full temperature, the game started off a hot contest. The home team carried possession off the opening kickoff. But after an unforced error in their own end, they conceded the first try, 5-0 County. This was a particularly physical test and was a defensive war for both sides. Flyhalf Brendan Bryan penalty closed the gap to two points, but a first half yellow card put the Centaurs back on their heels. Despite the infringement, the Centaurs were able to pass the test and the Orange & Blue retreated to the change room at half down 5-3.
With some fresh subs to burn and some simple fixes to implement, the boys picked up the rhythm in the 2nd half. The Centaurs Defence remained strong and they began to attack simply waiting for the right opposite to push through. Both squads exchanged tries as former County player, Petar Jokic, punished his prior side touching down a score. Undoubtedly, the Centaurs scrum was under pressure the entire game; albeit the Captain had his lineout under control which has been steady all season. Mike Doughtery extended his try streak after being a beneficiary off a pleasingly lineout /driving maul. With the time winding down, the County side showed more battle. The back-and-forth game continued as County scored with 5 minutes remaining in the second half, 19-15 County. As the crowd nervously awaited the kick-off. The Centaurs remained calm as they knew a single score would win the game. After rallying the ball on a clear out kick by County. The Centaurs setup multiple phases marching the ball to the County 5 metre line. With no panic and great patience, scrumhalf Zack Shurtleff conducted his pack with composure. As the tired County Defence began to fatigue, the Centaurs relished in the closing minutes. Comparable to a story you would tell your grandchildren, the ball recycled to the short side leaving the ball in the Skippers hands. Keeping his defender honestly he held and off-loaded to a roaring Josh Jones in corner at pace, Jones made no mistake diving over the white line, 20-19 with less than a minute to go.
The Centaurs were able to run the clock out after a somewhat chilling final minute, 20-19 Burlington. The 1XV team moves to 3-0 and will travel to Barrie next week for face their first western opponent.