The Burlington Centaurs R.F.C. began their return to play in the best way possible, fielding three full-strength teams, showcasing the dedication to the sport after two washed away seasons. It is important to note the numbers in attendance, as rugby in Canada was suffering dwindling numbers long before the blight that is upon us now was even a rumour. In the women’s game against the Oakville Crusaders, Burlington graciously donated players to allow the Cru women to get a game in. For the second’s game, originally slated to be a game versus Oakville, Burlington had great depth against a fortified Georgian Bay R.F.C. The firsts filled all 23 jerseys on game day against the Oakville Crusaders, reportedly the largest club in Canada.
The first try of the season was scored by Laiken Littlejohns, who ran in under the posts shortly after the first kick off. Interestingly, with one exception, all the tries scored in the women’s game were by Centaurs. That being said, it was remarkable to see such good defense and discipline by the women who seem to have returned to play with much fire and passion for the sport. Furthermore, seeing the core skills of the sport so handily displayed by the youngest and oldest on the team implies great depth of skill on the Burlington Centaurs Women’s team this year.
The Seconds team encountered the surprisingly spry and motivated Georgian Bay Titans, who were given an ample buff of Hamilton Hornet’s players. Burlington managed to put together some convincing play and were the first to put points on the board. There are many new and young faces this year on the Second XV showing off superior dexterity and youthful passion for the sport, however, a determined and decidedly lucky Titan side was able to inch past the Centaurs to win by a mere 2 points. It was an exciting game of rugby to watch as young men intermingled and benefitted greatly by the alumni and veterans of both teams.
The final game of the day saw the Centaurs First XV square off against the rabble of players Oakville managed to scrounge together. The play was fast and hard hitting with great attacks moving forward with the Burlington backs who showed off deadly attacking wings and a seemingly psychic connection happening in the centers. Deadly forward play was led by Camron Hogg who exposed the exceedingly poor Oakville defense around the rucks, particularly, singling out a young fair-headed Cru scrumhalf who was looking perpetually out of his element. Burlington pulled out a more-than-convincing victory over the Crusaders thanks to good decision making and a corps d’esprit that transcended the field that Saturday. Despite Oakville’s half-hearted attempts and, even resorting to rolling subs, Burlington won the day against Canada’s largest club.
It is important to recognize what happened on Saturday. We all came to Sherwood Forest Park and we watched rugby. Indeed, it has been too long since we all got together and did such a thing. We cheered, we met old friends, and we drank together in the spirit of rugby. We saw our Burlington teams who have waited two long—oh so long—seasons to rejoin and play together. Not only did they do that, but they did so in great numbers and were well coached, disciplined, and ready to do business. There was no expulsion of pent-up rage, or bad blood to let, instead we saw the sport played well and with honour by all the individuals who wore the Centaurs crest that day.
Everything that happened this past Saturday and the pure joy of watching rugby in the flesh is thanks to the Burlington Centuar’s community and the individuals who have been working behind the scenes to make sure our club (though not be the largest) is the single best place to watch and play rugby in Canada. It just goes to show, that despite all the things the world has thrown at us these past years there remains a ringing truth that is the foundation of our beloved club: Friends through rugby, friends through life.