Burlington 1stXV versus Oakville Crusaders July 6th
You, reader, are perhaps a person who has some history under their belt. As such, you would know about infantry square formations. They were quite unbreakable to pre-modern military, particularly when cavalry were employed. For nearly three centuries this would be the formation to defeat a incoming cavalry enemy. Form a square, fix bayonets, fire quickly, and stand fast. Indeed, a simple yet effective formation. The same could be said for the Crusader rugby team. Which, had remained undefeated by a Burlington Centaur team in the regular season for more than a decade.
Of course, the Centaurs had defeated one or another Crusader team over the years. “Not the starting team,” would cry onlookers. “Not all our starters,” the famous words of one, Mark Winokur, headmaster of the Ontario Arrows. So, as the game kicked off on July 6th in the year of our Lord 2019 the Centaurs had yet to defeat a Crusader team in many years according to the leading scientists of our profession.
The Crusaders, Napoleon; the Centaurs, Wellington. Like many peninsular battles the game kicked off to a fanfare of spectators. The crowd decidedly pro-Crusader being that it was their Alumni Day; with a great number of Centaurs in attendance. Indeed, it was the making of a great day of importance.
The Crusaders sported a young team that, despite the heat, managed to produce surprising line speed throughout the game. However, Burlington would strike first in the form of modernity as one Graham Dobbs powered over the try-line. Interestingly, sooth-sayers on the sidelines in the form of one Mark Winoakur had predicted a poor showing from our beloved Dobbs. The MacMaster Alum proved our magic stronger as shortly after he would go on to make astounding defensive plays against an aggressive Crusader backlash.
As the game continued, it became clear that the Centaurs had fallen into poor repertoire with the reffing society of Ontario as call after call would be lobbied against us. Alas, the answer to poor reffing is of course to score points. These came in the form of Zach Shurtleff, Brendan Bryan, and Daniel Mathie; who would all put points on the board and keep the enemy at bay.
This is the story of the Centaurs, who broke an infantry square; before thought impossible. It is the story of a team that has come from relegation to be apart of the highest form of rugby in the province. This is what breaking the square looks like in modern days. It is the good spirit of a club that understands that community and excellence go hand-in-hand. The Centaurs do not trade in mercenaries and carte blanch warfare such as the French or the Crusaders. Rather, the Centaurs are the thin Blue line that stands against the tyranny of a rugby culture gone awry. As such, they are rewarded with the laurels of winning; being the best.
In the Peninsular War, breaking a square formation by cavalry was unheard of. If infantry stood strong and did not flinch in the face of a cavalry charge they would prevail. The Crusaders formed a square and they put their best men in the front line, and yet, they flinched in the face of a Centaur charge.
On July 6th in the year of our Lord 2019 the Burlington Centuars prevailed over the Oakville Crusaders 21-14.
Burlington Centaurs 2nds XV
The story of the Burlington Centaurs Seconds team is not one of defeat , but rather a defiant resistance to a team who believes they are above the rules.
Allow me first to elucidate. The Oakville Crusaders are the largest team in Canada. Simply put, they have the most bodies to throw at the breach that is the sport of rugby. Alas, this past weekend the Crusaders were unable to pull together a 4ths team which left our own Berties out of a game. However, these Crusaders were able to cobble together a team to defy our Burlington Centaur Seconds. Indeed, they threw everything they had that rated below first team at us. Yet, with such a strong team how did they not score more? This humble narrator investigates.
You see, there is a trick to the Crusader magic. This magic lies within the corruptible young minds of the educational establishments that lie within reach. Rather than train a rugby player; they train the little things. Hit a man while he is down, lugubrious play, and heckles from a safe distance. Luckily for the Burlington Centaurs there is a strong base of older players who are used to this type of play, who are readily available to crunch those who defy the letter and the law.
Easily brought to mind is one John McPherson, who when brought to the scene of injustice is swift and unforgiving in his judgement. As well, it is important to point out that the game was started with great experience in the front row that held steadfast until veterans Tim Morton and Mark Chesser were taken out of the game by freak injury.
Alas, one could complain about referee or opposing team, but why curse the darkness when one could light a candle. The game, in this case, was illuminated by expert defense from Quintin Kleppe, Brock Kelly, and Danny Brotman. Indeed, it could have been a runaway horse in terms of the score, but with a seldom seen enthusiasm this team turned the tide.
Of course this could be the point at which this author could eviscerate the Burlington Centaurs, however, it is not that moment. Instead, the opposite, what this person saw was extreme fortitude in the face of an untenable situation. Every player comes up against this once or twice in their career. A game in which they cannot win. On the big screen it is often seen when some player realizes this. They toss the ball away, take penalties to get out of the game, or worse chastise their own players. However, as Burlington took on points there was an aura of calm determination. A call to arms: that though things seemed grim there was a chance, or a way. In this aspect Burlington outclassed their opponents who, in traditional Crusader fashion, railed against the rules and played outside the gentlemanly nature of the sport.
Personally, I congratulate the Burlington Centaurs Seconds team on their loss to the Oakville Crusaders some 35 points to 5.