Regular Season Complete; 2nds go undefeated
July 28, 2018
The regular season is now over, as the Pigs came away from Eglinton Flats with two victories.
1st XV defeated Dragons 40-10, having trailed 7-10 at the half time break.
After a slow start where both teams failed to amount any significant pressure in their opposition's 22, Bay Street finally retained the ball for more than a few phases, and subsequently broke the deadlock to go up 7-0. It didn't take the Dragons too long to hit back though, as they capitalized on some loose lineouts and uncustomary weak Pigs defense. A penalty goal in front of the posts just before the break gave the Dragons a well-deserved lead.
The second half was all pink and green, as has been the case throughout most of the season. The loss of David Reilly early in the game meant the Pigs had to find another way to break the Dragon's front line of defense. This came in an unlikely source, as Sam Stamp's continual darts from the back of a ruck, or chip kicks into open space, meant the halfback kept the opposition on the back foot. This allowed the backrow of de Ree, De Lallo and (de) Pinto, to make metres at will on the second and third phases of play.
The only blight on the second half performance, was the finishing of Stamp's last effort. From a quick tap after a Dragon's infringement, Sam ran past some tired props, over a backrower whom easily had a 15kg weight advantage, then out-sprinted the covering defender. Unfortunately after crossing the try line, he then dropped the ball cold as he circled under the posts to seal the victory. Footage has already been uploaded to the FaceBook page, so this "brain fart" will not soon be forgotten.
2nd XV defeated Dragons 41-38, in a high-scoring, nail-biting affair.
Even though the 2nd XV line up changes significantly each week, the winning performances remain the same. The 2's made it 8 bonus point victories from 8 games this season. A phenomenal effort by all involved, and a sign of the player quality and depth the club has this season.
The Pigs started strongly in this 1 v 4 fixture, making multiple line breaks with the ageless Jordan Laurin leading the pack. In the centres, Peter Gregory continually won the battle to get over the advantage line in attack, and worked well with Danton Ivanochko in defense to shut down the Dragons' dangerous 13.
In contrast to the side's performance in attack, their defensive structure in open play allowed the Dragons to score several long-range tries and eventually give up the lead with only a few minutes to play. With a perfect season on the line and two points down, captain Douglas Henderson decided against taking an easy 3 points from a penalty in front of the posts, much to the dismay of those on the sideline. Another handling error close to the try line gave the Dragons the ball and hope of an upset (yet well-earned) victory. The Pigs managed to work their way back up field from a lineout within their own half, before Thomas Schwitzer charged through some flat-footed defenders from 5 metres out, to seal the win.
3rd XV combine with Muddy York versus a strong Pagans side.
After two fixtures against Muddy York earlier in the season, the two sides amalgamated to play a predominantly 2nd XV team from Peterborough. The Pigs made up much of the backline in the first half, which proved to be the best method of attack, as the Pagans were kept to only a 22-14 lead at the break.
The second half saw the flood gates open, so to speak, with Peterborough showing their superiority in both attack and at the breakdown.
July 14, 2018
Jeffrey Archer has had, one might say, a chequered career. Now Lord Archer he has been a Conservative MP, deputy chairman of that party, bestselling author and playwright who in 2001 was imprisoned for perjury and perverting the course of justice relating to an infamous 1987 libel trial. In a 1990 interview the barrister and chat show host Clive Anderson, who in summing up Archer’s career, asked “is there no beginning to your talents?” A question that won’t be put to James de Ree the Otago University graduate who is sampling Canadian life and is leaving his own indelible mark on the club. In a comeback victory against a committed, well drilled and physical Cobourg side de Ree was outstanding in all facets of play. Such was his commanding influence he even took over the placekicking and nailed a conversion from the right hand touchline that Johnny Sexton or Beauden Barrett would be proud of. It was so good that even some of the Cobourg players applauded it whilst the Pigs supporters checked the alcohol content on their Hogtown ales to ensure they weren’t seeing things.
What to make of the game itself? One could pick a sporting cliché and not do it justice. A game of two halves? Too simple. A comeback as exciting when all seemed lost to rival the plot of any fight from Rocky through to Rocky IV? Too ridiculous. A war zone where the trainer was the game’s busiest person dealing with head injuries, muscle strains, split foreheads, golf balls over eyes and where the Pigs were down to their last man standing in terms of replacements? Too clichéd. In muggy, humid conditions Adam Zweig played 200 minutes turning out in all three Bay Street games and scored a crucial try that broke Cobourg’s resistance. This game had all this and more. But what really summed the game up was ‘Huevos’.
Huevos for those, like me, not versed in Spanish means “balls” and the former Argentinean and World Cup winner Jorge Valdano was wont to lament that the demise of his nation’s soccer prowess was due to the emphasis placed on huevos rather than skill. The latter is obviously essential but it is useless without the former. And on Saturday when the chips were down no players exemplified this more than the aforementioned de Ree and Spencer Morgan. At the half the Pigs were 0-10 down and things were not looking good. Both the influential Josh Weaver and Dave Reilly retired injured during the half and Cobourg’s dander was up. They ran hard and sniffed blood and Bay Street was not coping with it. Graham O’Neill and Toby Sharland delivered the message that dropped passes and half-hearted tackling was not good enough and an immediate change in attitude was required.
Taking all this on board the Pigs took the pitch at the start of the second half determined to put matters right…..and duly conceded a third try. 0-15 and it looked like it was going to be tougher viewing than a GOP member watching a presidential press conference denying Russian collusion in a US election. The turning point perversely was a Pigs error that led to a Cobourg break. A turnover inside Cobourg’s 22 saw their outhalf break with two men in support. With only Sharland back and a three-on-one it looked as if this would be killer blow. Showing brilliant defensive nous Sharland forced the pass to the outside man and proceeded to tackle him and then got up immediately and tacked the third supporting player (who had taken the pass) forcing a knock-on. Take a bow Toby. After this passes started to stick and tackles were made.
Morgan took control and began running at the opposition making half breaks and creating a platform for the pack. Working off Morgan was the immense Joe Flagler. A center who would not look out of place in the pack and who may rival the legendary Peter Danner as the most physically imposing back ever to don the pink and green. Flagler made a tackle on Cobourg’s flanker that knocked the ball on. Morgan had O’Neill on his shoulder and taking a pass on the 10 meter line he stepped the fullback, broke the covering wings tackle and outpaced the chasing pack to score a wonderful try. It was sadly O’Neill’s last contribution having picked up an ankle injury in the process.
Shortly after deep in his own half Sharland countered making valuable ground. Jordan Moss, Aaron Blunt, Kyle Pinto and Gabriel Deschenes all carried prominently. The ball went in touch but de Ree stole the lineout on Cobourg’s 22 and the pack mauled forwards. Remi Oguni ran a line and switched with Zweig who ran through several defenders and scored Bay Street’s second try.
To every ying is a yang. To Joe Flagler’s broadsword there is the rapier of Jeff Yune. Yune who is having a tremendous season tore Cobourg open repeatedly. Bay Street won a scrum from a knock-on after another monstrous Flagler tackle. Morgan threw a skip pass to Yune who saw a gap and never looked back. Like watching a snake in the sand Yune cut outside his defender then inside the winger and shimmied as he ran which threw off covering tacklers. He touched down under the posts in a magnificent individual score.
Cobourg never gave up though and kept trying to replicate their success from the first half. Moving the ball wide Blunt tackled his man and Yune and Sharland were in quickly to turn over the ball. The outrageously talented Nick deLallo drove forward and with Cobourg’s defence creaking like the sphincter of an IBS sufferer after eating a curry vindaloo Flagler took the ball on to within a metre of the line. Oguni found Morgan on the short side who barreled over the winger to score. From here deRee nailed his incredible conversion.
Cobourg were still dangerous with ball in hand and the Pigs knew although they were now 26-15 up that the game was still in the balance. Awarded a penalty in their 22 deRee had the rugby nous to know that an additional three points would require Cobourg to score two converted tries to tie the game. Stepping up he converted the penalty to put it out of Cobourg’s reach.
The game ended 29-15. Bay Street were victorious, Cobourg for all their valiant efforts and gutsy play left with nothing. Sometimes sport can be cruel as a player. Sometimes it can be crueler watching as a spectator. Please Pigs; let’s see your considerable talents from the beginning next game.
July 7, 2018
There has been somewhat of a passing of the guard in Bay Street RFC the past couple of seasons as the club regenerates like Dr. Who from the last of its original playing stalwarts to a much younger and arguably more talented crop of players. In his novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption Stephen King wrote “Some birds are not meant to be caged, that's all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.” Dave Jacks took a break from rugby for about a season and half to allow his body a break from the remorselessness of his style of play and the club was that much more drab and empty for his absence. A ferocious tackler and ball carrier it would not surprise this hack if part of Jack’s pre-match ritual was revealed to be exposing himself to gamma radiation à la Dr. David Bruce Banner. Jacks made his return to the fabled pink and green of Bay Street on Saturday and did not disappoint. The 2018 version may be leaner but that mean streak or power on the pitch has not diminished one jot much too all his teammates and supporters delight.
Games against the Saracens are normally tight, physical and edgy affairs and this one was no different. The Pigs took the pitch shorn of several first team players including their second row partnership of Josh Weaver and Tom Schwitzer with both falling victim to that dreaded of syndromes that affects all 4 out of 5 rugby players with partners; wedding season. Stepping into their places were The Beast Max Grouette and Samsom lookalike Tony Alblas. Neither were found wanting. Bay Street rushed into an early lead with the gazelle-like Tommy Stokes gliding through the Saracens defense to touch down before the 2’s even had time to open their celebratory beers having dispatched their Saracens counterparts by a score line of 54-20. Saracens are a formidable bunch though and struck back through their pack scoring a converted try and penalty to take a 7-10 lead. Bay Street did not wilt. A scrum on the 10 metre line saw Remi Oguni release his backs. Stokes ran another gorgeous line taking out the opposition midfield and drawing the winger before releasing Taylor Nash who beat two covering defenders to score right in the corner. It was beautiful.
The pack was immense and began to take control of the game with Dave Reilly, Graham O’Neill and Tom Clancy being particularly prominent with ball in hand. Saracens found themselves camped in their own 22 for large periods of the remainder of the half with Stokes, Grouette and Nash all coming close to increasing the Pigs lead. Saracens were resolute and admirable in defence but even the toughest diamond can only take so much pressure before being crushed. The Saracens number 8 picked from the base of a scrum and, having been met by Tom Clancy at the line of scrimmage, was duly sent homeward to think again much like Proud Edward’s army in the Battle of Bannockburn. Saracens had no time to organize their defense and James de Ree pilfered the ball from the ruck. Nash made a break and quick ruck ball secured by Ian Davies and Grouette allowed Taylor Zak combine with the hugely impressive Stokes to make another big break into Saracens territory. Brought down just short of the try line Zak and Josh Sellars secured the ruck and Alblas picked up and scored the Pigs third try.
The second half continued in much the same vein with Bay Street applying wave upon wave of pressure. Sellars was making the hard yards in close and the ball was whipped out to the outside backs who were beginning to shred the Saracens defense. From a scrum tight to the left hand touchline on the oppositions 22 Nash came in off his wing to take a short pop from Spencer Morgan at 10. Chris Boyack, Alblas and then Dave Jacks drove the ball to the line. From the ruck Graham O’Neill’s superb body angle made him as impervious to attempted tackles as Neymar is to shame given he was timed at spending 13 minutes 50 seconds rolling around the ground during the World Cup. Saracens scored almost immediately when their excellent fullback made a break which was finished off by their wing close to the posts.
The score was now 24-20 to Bay Street and the team were well aware of how important it was to keep hold of the ball. Staying true to their mantra of champagne running rugby Bay Street did what they do best in moving the ball rather than playing the percentages. Morgan threw a skip pass in his 22 to Jake Yune who gave a delicious dummy and ghosted past his marker before drawing the winger and releasing Nash. Reilly took the ball on and then cometh the hour cometh Dave Jacks. Jacks picked and ran straight. And ran. And in doing so smashed through two would-be tacklers before getting up and running straight again before three different Saracens finally took him to ground. It was uplifting and brilliant and it broke Saracens resolve. Pinned deep in their half Saracens had no option but to try and run the ball but they were met with a resolute defence determined not to give an inch. Second half substitute Matt Riggs made the last thumping tackle which resulted in a knock-on. The referee blew for full time leaving a tired, sore but elated Pigs team.
One of the central themes of Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption is that of hope. Well I hope we see Dave Jacks again in Bay Street colours. I’m equally certain that opposition teams hope they don’t.
A New-Age, Hippy-Loving, Tofu-Eating, Sandal-Wearing,
Empathy Based Approach and The Beast
May 26, 2018
“What a difference a day makes, twenty-four little hours brought the sun and flowers where there used to be rain.” So sang Dinah Washington and to paraphrase her, if not a day, then what a difference an off-season in rugby makes. After a promising start last season the wheels came off the wagon somewhat with several defeats for the 1s allied to retirements, numerous long-term injuries and an ageing player profile led to more than a touch of gloom around the club before a truly heroic and gritty backs-to-the-wall victory over Mississauga away provided some much needed cheer. Additionally after overseeing the most successful period in the clubs history the longstanding and hugely popular DOR, Jon Goode, and his Assistant DOR Tom Kimball (who I’ve recently realised is the doppelganger of Dexter Morgan: hopefully in looks but who knows what goes on behind those lifeless black doll-like eyes?) stepped aside leaving the club in, if not a state of flux, then certainly an Axl Rose warble of “where do we go now?” Kudos then to our president, David Tait, for appointing two club legends to the roles in Todd Cornford and Noel Chambers and what an impact both have had. After the Victorian Dad-like approach of “you’ll get nothing and like it” from Messrs. Goode and Kimball comes the new-age, hippy-loving, tofu-eating, sandal-wearing, empathy based approach from the new regime. Allied to this is some shrewd recruiting from Tom Clancy, no doubt threatening to make possible waverers an offer they can’t refuse by either signing up or joining the ranks of murdered people already associated with his new abode. You still need some crazy after all.
All of these meanderings mean that armed with new recruits and the return and revitalisation of several stalwarts the club has, up to this point, played five games between all three sides and remains undefeated. Saturday saw the 3s impressively defeat Markham Irish 2’s 29-15, the 2s beat Buccaneers 48-10 and the 1s emerge victorious 37-17 against the same opposition.
Under azure skies and captained by Josh Weaver the 1s started at a ferocious pace with 2016 MVP, David Reilly, and current Rookie of the Year, Toby Sharland, scything through the Buccaneers ranks. Taking a pass off James De Ree Reilly broke two tackles and stormed upfield with the Bucs fullback earning his corn and possibly a medal for bravery in bringing him down. Sharland took the attack further and with Reilly back in position he slipped the most delicious pass to perhaps the only other prop as complete in the TRU, Graham O’Neill, who touched down under the posts.
Don’t think that Reilly and O’Neill are wannabe wingers. They showed how good they are at the fundamentals of the job by shunting the Bucs off their ball at the next scrum allowing Chris Boyack to win one against the head. From midfield quick ball from Remi Oguni to Spencer Morgan gave the Pigs a great attacking opportunity. Morgan threw a long flat pass to Sharland whose pace and angle of running shredded the Bucs midfield and took the action to the 22. The Bucs cleared their lines but from the resulting lineout Tom Schwitzer claimed the ball and the rest of the pack mauled the ball over the line with De Ree emerging from the pile of bodies armed with a wide grin and ball in hand.
The Bucs enjoyed a sustained period of possession inside the Pigs half launching several attacks only to be thwarted by some resolute defending and the sideline on one occasion when their fullback drew two defenders before releasing his winger who unluckily put a foot in touch with a clear run to the line. Shortly after this the Bucs 10 made a break from a ruck on the short side close to the line and opened their account. The outstanding Morgan added another try shortly afterwards. Weaver collected the kick-off with Kyle Pinto making good ground with the ball. Chris Lor, on at 9 for the injured Oguni, whipped a pass out to Morgan whose arcing run took him between the 10 and 12 and beat the flailing flanker to restore the lead.
When asked by a journalist what his favourite rugby moment was as a player the legendary Dean Richards, of Lions winning Series, two 5 Nations Grand Slams with England and a Rugby World Cup final to boot fame answered “the day Olivier Merle retired”; Merle being a gargantuan 322lb French lock of the 90s who couldn’t move much but could throw a punch like no other. Rugby Union was a very different game back then. Those associated with the club will remember with great fondness Godzilla himself, Greg Hall who caused consternation and left a trail of bodies every time he touched the ball. All opposition players who had the misfortune to come up against Godzilla will have appreciated Richards sentiments when he retired and had one less thing to worry about when suiting up against the Pigs. This Godzilla-sized hole looks to have been filled by The Beast, Max Grouette, whose punishing runs and hits reinforced the decision of those who recently retired that they made the right decision. One such rumble up the touchline provided quick ruck ball for Lor to release his backs. Jake Yune running at 13 made a lovely break and switched with Taylor Nash who was tackled in the 22. Weaver picked and drove and then Morgan and Yune combined beautifully to put Nash in at the corner to score.
The Bucs were not to be deterred turning over the ball at a ruck with their 10 breaking the initial tackle and running unopposed from 30 metres out to score his and his team’s second try. A De Ree tackle in the Bucs half led to turnover ball with Reilly and O’Neill making big inroads with the ball. Stopped 5 metres out the latter offloaded to Matt Riggs who crashed over for the Pigs fifth try.
Ian Davies, who can now be seen running through Yorkville at lunchtimes with levels of panache that would shame a Lipizzaner, gathered the restarted and menacingly, looked for the nearest contact to set up a ruck. Yune set Nash free who made huge ground before being tackled into touch. Schwitzer claimed the lineout and Reilly broke forward before passing to Lor to score a very popular try.
The final word must go The Beast though. The saying goes that bad luck comes in threes. A combined Jordan Moss and Schwitzer tackle forced a knock on which was bad fortune for the Bucs. Their second piece of bad fortune was that it fell into the hands of The Beast. The third saw The Beast go forth in a body position so low and powerful that not even the combined force of The Avengers could have stopped him at such short range so pity the poor Bucs flanker that valiantly tried and understandably failed to accomplish this thankless task. Through him he went and The Beast fell over to score the Pigs seventh and final try of a highly entertaining and absorbing game.
Upcoming games against The Beach will resolutely test the resolve and mettle of the Pigs but if Cornford and Chambers can engineer another two victories on the road then even Messrs. Goode and Kimball may have to consider the merits of tofu and open-toed sandals. Wouldn’t that be a sight folks?
Pigs Overcome Yeomen in Rd 1
Saturday May 12th
Two bonus point wins were earned on the first day of the season, however both teams were tested in an exciting day of rugby.
2nds got off to an incredible start, scoring three tries in less than 20 mins. Although it took the Yeomen a bit longer to shake off the winter cobwebs, they rallied late in the first half with two ties of their own, making the score 15 - 12 at the break.
The second half proved to be an evenly matched battle. Neither team were able to hold onto the ball for more than a few phases, and it took a long range Yeomen try to trouble the scorekeeper.
Some big defense from new recruit Max Grouette rattled the Yeomen forwards, while the experienced Tom Mathews kept some sort of structure in an otherwise scrappy passage of play. Club stalwart Jordan Laurin described the boys' effort late in the game as "perseverance, determination and enthusiasm", as the Pigs drove the ball up field with only minutes left on the clock. It was another new player in Adam Zweig, who barged over next to the posts to seal the win.
Final score: 20 - 19
Tries: Laurin, Geach, Yune, Zweig
Our club may pride itself on a minimal training ethos, however those watching on were a little rattled by the first 20 mins of the 1st Grade fixture. New combinations were taking some time to work, with the team's performance not doing justice to the amount of individual skill each player brought to the game.
The backs linked up to make an excellent 60m break down the right touch line, however no points were to come of it. Yeomen then made the most of every opportunity, twice taking the ball the length of the field through multiple phases, going out to a 14 point lead. Things finally started to click for the Pigs, who brought the scoreline back to within a point at halftime, 19 - 20.
The second half was all pink and green. Six unanswered tries proved that the skill and flair had definitely not been lost. With such mobile props as the likes of Dave Reilly and Graham O'Neill, the Yeomen were continually kept on the back foot. Replacement hooker Jack Caylor then created more heartache for the opposition, as all three front rowers made significant metres with every run.
Other new faces, including Remi Oguni, Tommy Stokes and Nick De Lallo, brought an extra bit of spark in all facets of the game, combining well with the team on their first outing.
Reilly's 4th try of the game almost had former DOR Jon Goode lost for words on the sidelines, as the memories of those initial 20 mins were soon forgotten. It was an enthralling start to the season.
Final score: 59 - 20
Tries: Reilly (4), Stokes, Sharland, Sellers, Morgan, Davies
Convs: Schwitzer (2), Stokes (5)