Bliss Points and The End of the Affairs...
Fall Cup Recap (October 29th, 2013)
In the food industry the ‘bliss point’ is the optimum amount of sugar in a product. Food inventors and scientists spend a huge amount of time formulating the perfect amount of sugar that will send us over the moon, and send products flying off the shelves. With fat it’s the ‘mouth feel’: the warm, gooey taste of cheese, or the bite into a crisp fried chicken that one gets. It rushes right to the same pleasure centers of the brain that sugar does, but fat is carrying twice as many calories, so it is more problematic from an obesity standpoint. There is almost no limit to the bliss point in fat. Food companies discovered they could add as much fat as they wanted to products, and unless people looked closely at the nutrition facts, they are going to totally love it more than they would without the fat.
Bay Street reached their own bliss point on Saturday in retaining the Fall Cup played in deplorable conditions having defeated Saracens, Toronto Dragons and Mississauga Blues along the way. The Fall Cup was a frustrating affair and can only be likened to those sticky adolescent fumblings wondering if this was finally the occasion when one would finally rid oneself of that virginal millstone. Games called off at the last moment, teams postponing matches and reformatting all led to the feeling of when rather than where it would eventually happen.
Some people are just made of the right stuff. Tom Wolfe’s novel was inspired by the desire to find out why astronauts accepted the danger of space flight. The book recounts the enormous risks that test pilots were already taking, and the mental and physical characteristics—the titular "right stuff"—required for and reinforced by their jobs. After suffering an injury against the Nomads in May Dave Burton required shoulder surgery that was expected to keep him out for the season. A few Pigs, knowing the character involved, had a sneaky bet that Burton would be back before its end and were proved right when Dave turned out against the Dragons in the first game of the Fall Cup.
It may be too obvious and, quite frankly, lazy to make a Game of Thrones dragons reference but not even Denerys Stormborn’s Unsullied could have prevented the Pigs from racking up a 58-20 victory and scoring 10 tries in the process. Timing is everything and with some star players making their first appearance since the league final the Dragons were, unfortunately for them, in the wrong place at the wrong time. The pick of the tries was Tom Kimball’s dummy kick and subsequent break which fooled the last defender and gave Kimball the time and space to make the line. Other highlights saw Greg Hall play on the wing to bring back memories of Jonah Lomu in his halcyon 1995 World Cup days; just watching The Mountain that is Peter Danner being an absolute beast in defense and attack; the contrast between the strong running of Alex Koppel and the elegance of Bucky in full motion; the look of utter disbelief on both teams faces at Burton’s reverse kick and the killer instinct that saw the Pigs keep playing at a high tempo and scoring a try with the last play of the game through Josh Weaver much to the (baffling) annoyance of the Dragons.
Next up was the Saracens which the Pigs knew would be as physical and difficult as all games between these sides are. With Ian Davies throwing in at lineout the Pigs were guaranteed quality ball and used it superbly time and again in wet and cold conditions. The backrow of Kimball, Jon Goode and Micah Simmons at their collective belligerent best caused havoc and with a backline containing the pace of Mo Marsales, Geoff Bylund, Dave Manii and Jordan Partridge along with the footballing nous of Todd Cornford Saracens simply had no answer. Somehow Mo, playing in the center, found himself at the back of a maul from a lineout and scored the Pigs last try with the others coming from Kimball, Partridge and the always combative Mike Davy.
This set up the last game against the Mississauga Blues which the Pigs had beaten twice in the league earlier in the season. Not only was it the final game of the season but it was also the final game of rugby for the club’s coach Philippe Rouanet and it was no surprise that so many players wanted to be involved to mark the occasion. Philippe, for those who do not know, is a son of Toulon who played most of his rugby in the tough French leagues and has a face to prove it. It also marked the return of Alistair Clark to the back row fresh from his exploits of representing Canada in the recent America’s Cup in BC and it says everything about the man that he turned out to play in a game he could easily not have especially given the conditions on the day.
The game was played in its entirety in driving wind and rain with the temperature barely above zero: or in other words a typical Irish summer’s day. It was harder to know who to feel sorrier for: the two teams on the pitch trying to keep their extremities from freezing or the trainers and subs on the sideline. There is that famous saying that ‘there are no atheists in foxholes’ but I can guarantee anyone reading this that this can be extended to the replacements on the uncovered sideline as they prayed they wouldn’t have to strip off and replace anyone.
Peter Shippen, back from his recent nuptials, was there to anchor the scrum and the front row of Shippy, Philippe and Charles Blott dominated their opposition in every facet of play. The pack was magnificent on the day and their collective work in turning over ball or, in Greg Hall’s case, simply ripping it out from the arms of the opposition as they tried to attack was a sight to behold.
Four first half tries from Bucky (2), Jess Landry and Kimball saw the Pigs 20-0 up and although the Blues scored a try shortly after the interval Bay Street went straight back down the pitch to score a highly impressive sweeping try, given the conditions, through Koppel. Thankfully and to the objections of no one the referee blew the game up leaving the Pigs victorious and Fall Cup Champions for 2013.
So the 2013 season has drawn to a close and with it many wonderful memories and highlights. Particular favorites are the overall sense of camaraderie and genuine enjoyment between players regardless of ability, team or backgrounds. The tour to Cayman was a marvelous event and will live long in everyone’s memory with Jon Goode’s retelling of the Dick Rum and Cock Scotch stories getting funnier with every telling. Watching some simply magnificent players was another treat as was the courage of Burton to come back so quickly from a serious injury. The back row of Kimball, Clark and Tom Clancy when playing together was as good as any this hack has ever seen. I would pay to watch Bucky train but as this is against everything the Pigs stand for my money is safe. Colin Alexander was a dynamo on the field and Jordan Partridge a ghost that teams simply could not tackle. Dave Manii was consistency personified for the second team and Mo was, well Mo. Ian Davies came up with the quote of the season after the semi final league win over Saracens who took the lead and then shipped 60+ unanswered points: “Don’t poke the bear”. Quite right you are Sir.
It was also encouraging to see so many new players join the club and one can only hope they enjoyed themselves and come back for many more seasons with the Pigs. Last but not least from a personal perspective congrats to Noel Chambers in his efforts to get a third team up and running and I have no doubt they will grow and get stronger as more players join and others succumb to the inevitably of age and commitments.
There is sadness too as we bid farewell to Philippe as a player and Ritchie White returning home whilst those who endured serious season ending injuries such as Jordan Laurin, Dan Yungblutt, Alex Austin, Will Simpson and James Manicom are wished speedy recoveries. Your presence has been missed gentlemen.
The bliss point has been achieved and now stored for posterity. This club will continue to grow and espouse everything that is great about our game. To all Pigs who took the field this year be proud of your achievements and contribution as it’s you that makes this club great. For that I salute you.
St John O'Connor
Don't Poke the Bear...: Bay Street RFC I 64 - Toronto Nomads I 14
Match Recap (August 20th, 2013)
Or should that be Pig? Either way it is copyright of Ian Davies and sums up the 1’s result against Saracens in Saturday’s semi final. 14-0 down to two first half converted tries and then 64 unanswered points including 9 tries. Perhaps it should be go ahead and poke the bear but beware the consequences.
Saracens and the Pigs shared the spoils in the league this season with each side winning the away match. Tough, hard games between opponents who know a lot about each other. This was no different and some of the early hits on both sides were truly wincing. If Tom Clancy gets hurt and needs to leave the field that tells you everything you need to know about the physicality stakes.
Saracens got off to a flyer and were 14-0 up inside the first twenty minutes. There were groans and trepidation was growing on the sideline as memories of the first league meeting came flooding back where Saracens won on Pigs soil. Could fate be so cruel again? Plus how could all those lovely, cold Hogtown tins just sitting there waiting to mark the start of Peter Shippen’s bachelor parties be drank with a clear conscience if we lost? Or drank at all? The possible repercussions were a fate worse than a fate worse than death: the cold black eyes of Tom Kimball would remain black as the ace of spades, Josh Weaver would start talking about cricket and Philippe would be like a Michelin star chef who woke one morning to find a McDonalds open beside his premises. Too much time, effort and sacrifice had been made in the previous 6 months and if the league crown was to be relinquished it would be with a fight and not a whimper. No, this was a game the Pigs simply could not and would not lose.
Bucky got the scoring started with a penalty following a Saracens infringement. This settled the nerves and the Pigs strong running and support play began to eke a foothold in the game. More pressure resulted in another Pigs penalty mid-way between the 22 and 10 meter line. Saracens made the cardinal error of turning their back assuming the Pigs would kick. Assumption being the mother of all screw ups Andy Tyler took full advantage to tap and go finding himself the Saracens defense before they realized what happened. The smile on Andy’s face as he raced clear to score was of sheer joy that his audacity had paid off and was only matched by the Saracens scowl that they had been taken in by it. Conversion over and the Pigs were just three points down and gaining momentum. Ian Davies mobility and strong support play paid off when he took a pass and raced through to score to put the Pigs in front.
The relationship between a remora fish and its host is one of phoresy whereby it attaches itself via a sucking device to a larger host for transport, scavenging or protection needs. It seems the perfect simile to describe Alistair Clark’s performance and season as Clark was simply superb on Saturday scoring three tries: the second such time Alistair has achieved this distinction this season. From a scrum wide left Tyler fed Alexander who switched with Jess Landry. Kimball and Davies were first on the scene to secure the ruck ball. Clark picked and spotting a gap raced through before rounding the full back to score under the posts.
The next score was the first of Colin Alexander’s brace. From a scrum on the Saracens 10 meter line Alexander dummied a switch with The Hound and then split the centers to sprint in under the posts. Clark added his second try of the half shortly afterwards following a Tyler half break from a scrum. From the ruck Alexander broke and found Clark wide who scored despite the best efforts of two would-be tacklers. The referee sounded his whistle for half time with the Pigs leading 38-14.
Peter Shippen left the fray shortly into the second half to a standing ovation on the sideline and a fair amount of water cast his direction to be replaced by Mike Wade. Saracens were on the attack in the second half but a loose kick found Spencer Morgan who took off on a powerful, rangy run. Beating several tacklers Morgan drew the winger and released Alexander who raced clear and in an act of selflessness passed to Zach Warrick on the line for The Hound to get in on the scoring.
A stolen lineout led to the next Pigs try. Kimball took it at the tail and with the play spread right and then back left Trevor Anderson took the pop pass from Bucky and beat prop, winger and flanker to score in the corner. Bucky was reliable as ever with his kicking converting 8 from 9 conversions and made no mistake with this one.
Kimball was again instrumental in Clark’s third try. From another lineout Kimball fed Clark peeling round the front and with the area undefended Alistair cut a rapier-like figure as he evaded the back three’s attempts to thwart him. Alexander added his second and the Pigs ninth and final try of the afternoon to bring to a close a resounding victory by a score line of 64-14. All was good in the world again: Kimball’s eyes became human, Philippe smiled and the only mention of cricket was the cricket players in the adjoining pitch asking Alex Austin to kindly cycle somewhere else other than through their wicket. Normally in cricket it is normally a case of ‘rain stopped play’ but ‘cyclist stopped play’ was a new one for everybody. The Hogtown flowed and the first of Shippy’s bachelor parties got well and truly under way.
The Pigs have a much welcomed week off and then the final against Lindsay. It won’t be one for the faint hearted but beware the consequences of poking the bear. This group has been well and truly stirred and is far from sated. Lindsay beware.
St. John O'Connor
On the 4th Day Goode Created Life and Resistence is Futile: Bay Street RFC II 28 - Toronto Nomads II 5
Match Recap (August 12th, 2013)
And so it came to pass that on the fourth day Jon Goode, solicitor and Club Captain, added a further string to his bow by creating life and added ‘daddy’ to his titles with the introduction of Emilia into this world. Although in the interest of balance it should be pointed out that Jon’s lovely wife Marta did also play a big part in the process. 48 hours later with little to no sleep in between Goode stepped forth onto the pitch against Saracens like a superhero determined to make the world, or at least that part of Sunnybrook, safe for the newest Bay Street Piglet whenever she should deign to make her debut.
Indiana Jones looked down into the Well of the Souls and groaned “snakes, why did it have to be snakes?” For the 2’s the same could be said for Saracens as we all knew what was coming: tough, dogged opposition, no quarters asked or given requiring full-on commitment and concentration for 80 minutes. Saracens didn’t disappoint either and really took the games to the Pigs from the outset camping inside Bay Street’s half for much of the first 15 minutes. Charge after charge had to be repelled and the scramble defense was in action more times than makes comfortable viewing. The defense though was up to the task; the back row of Goode, Greg Hall and Micah Simmons put in a Trojan effort; Richie White ripped a ball on the line when a try seemed certain and Charles Blott forced a turnover, again on the line, and set up a counter attack from it.
With the game still at 0-0 Bay Street slowly began to exert their game. The packs support play at times was breathtaking. Time and again rather than go to ground the tackler would look and find support in the form of one of their colleagues. This play led to the opening try. Greg Hall broke two tackles and found Goode who was in no mood to be stopped and simply ran through two would-be tacklers to bring the game over half way. Liam Boyle, back at 10 after injury, used his wide range of passing to set his very dangerous backs loose at every opportunity. Mo Marsales broke with Dave Manii in support. A ruck formed close to the Saracens line and from there Mick Davy dove over to score. Alex Koppel returning after his shoulder injury duly knocked over the conversion to give the Pigs a welcome but against the run of play 7-0 lead.
From this point though Bay Street began to dominate the game. The pack was cohesive in everything they did and watching them was like watching The Borg: a collective consciousness on show and instead of The Irish Embassy on the front of the jerseys it may as well have said “resistance is futile”.
The second try came from a turnover from Blott and Marsales. Doug Henderson, playing very consistently this season and thankfully that consistent is ‘well’, took the ball on. James Manicom and White secured the ball and it was whipped out to Manii who needed two tacklers to bring him down. Davy broke on the blindside and found Jordan Partridge who simply slipped through the tackles of the prop and hooker when he really had no right to and touched down in the corner. At some point the TRU may have to ask Jordan to stand in front of a mirror before games to ensure he has a reflection and isn’t some phantom spirit impossible to capture. It is doubtful that not even the fabled Ghostbusters team would stand a chance.
More sustained Pigs pressure lead to a penalty awarded just before the half time whistle and as much as out of respect to the opposition as it was a semi-final Captain Boyle opted for the posts which Koppel slotted through to leave the half time score 15-0 to the Pigs.
The second half saw Fraser Watson on at 10 and the beauty of playing a scrum half in that position continued with Watson’s vision and passing stretching the Saracens defense. Marsales, Chase Robinson and Manii caused Saracens huge problems even before the ball reached the lethal Partridge and hard running Koppel.
A Goode lineout take on the half way line was driven by the pack up to the Saracens 22. Blott broke and Davy then found Watson who had Greg Hall close by and there was no way Godzilla was going to be stopped. Try number three to the Pigs and a 20-0 lead.
Saracens to their credit did not give up and nor were the Pigs expecting them to. They pressed and pressed through rucks and hard running and were rewarded when close to the line they dived over to score. The Pigs had another setback losing the always solid and reliable James Manicom through a serious injury. It was a real pity as Manicom has been playing superbly all season with his mobility and scrummaging being a big part of the 2’s success. We wish you a speedy recovery James and look forward to a quick return of your dry wit and observations. Blair Carpenter replaced Manicom and had another hugely impressive outing in the front row.
The Pigs almost scored from the length of the pitch in a beautiful flowing movement involving backs and forwards only for the ball to be knocked on just at the line. The Pigs won the scrum though and Godzilla outpaced two of the Saracens backrow to score his second try and the Pigs fourth. It was the security score needed and both sides knew that with it the game was effectively over.
The game ended 25-5 to Bay Street and with it a place in the final on August 24th against Lindsay. The Pigs are hitting fine form at the right time. Lindsay will be tough opponents but with the pack playing as they are combined with the fluidity of the backs and several players to return Lindsay may well, too, find that resistance is indeed futile.
St. John O'Connor
The Field of Dreams: Lindsay RFC II 30 - Bay Street RFC II 39
Match Recap (July 29th, 2013)
Ah Lindsay. Picturesque Lindsay with acres of agricultural land as far as the eye can see, spacious houses with tightly mowed lawns interspersed with trees without a flower bed in sight. Lindsay where the mullet roams free safe in the knowledge it will never become an endangered species. Lindsay with a beautiful clubhouse and grounds whose fastidious protectionism of it displayed by their women folk will undoubtedly pay off if the premise of Iron Sky comes true and ze Germans do actually come down from their post WWII moon base to take over the world.
Bay Street 2’s took on their Lindsay counterparts in the last league game of the season knowing a win would guarantee a playoff spot. Played in perfect conditions on a lovely pitch both teams went out and played the game as it supposed to be: running at every opportunity, tacking hard but fairly and playing smart, intelligent rugby. Too much rugby today is played by teams afraid to lose and take chances rather than playing what’s in front of them and for this the players and coaches of both teams should take a bow.
The first time these two sides met Lindsay raced into an unassailable first half lead through a combination of their own good work and the Pigs lack of it. This time though it was Bay Street that started the stronger with backs and forwards combining well. The half backs Mike Davy and Todd Cornford were excellent in their game management knowing when to bring their forwards into play and when to release their very dangerous outside backs. Similar to the first game Lindsay opened the scoring from a breakaway in their own half. The conversion was missed which was a familiar theme of both sides.
The Pigs were undeterred though and kept to their game plan: forwards taking the ball on until Cornford demanded the ball to set the backline free. The pace and support of the Pigs play was taking its toll on the home defense and it was rewarded when Chase Robinson’s powerful run was taken on by Godzilla himself, Greg Hall. The ball was whipped wide and Spencer Morgan proved too strong for the defensive cover to score in the corner.
The linking between backs and forwards was a sight to behold at times and led to the Pigs taking the lead. From a kick return Dave Manii counter attacked and found Robinson in support. Chase had a scintillating game routinely beating two or three defenders each time he had the ball. If Chase was in good form then the centre combination of Mo Marsales and Jess Landry were extraordinarily good. Mo may as well have been covered in grease such was the inability of would-be tacklers to hold onto him. It didn’t matter whether it was backs, forwards or a combination of the two Mo simply beat whatever was in front of him and it took herculean efforts from the home defense to stop him. Landry is simply magnificent to watch and regardless of age remains one of the best centers in the entire TRU. From Robinson’s run Mo broke and passed to Landry who went on an outside arc. Pulled down just short of the line Jess had the presence of mind to find his support in the form of Josh Weaver who dotted down.
Bay Street kept up the pressure on Lindsay through solid defense, excellent fielding and support play from the back three of Robinson, Dave Manii and Morgan. The back row of Godzilla, Josh Weaver and captain, Peter Weingarden complimented each other superbly and Blair Carpenter making his 2’s debut after playing for the 3’s the previous week gave a highly impressive performance at loosehead in both the tight and loose. From a relieving kick Manii countered and fed Morgan. Mo was next in line and when four players eventually took him down the razor sharp Davy broke at the side of the ruck to dive over and score. That was the last score of the half with Bay Street ahead 5-17.
The second half saw the Pigs keep up the pressure. Mike Wade, prominent in the loose, carried ball up and when the ball came out to Cornford he stepped his man just inside the 22 and straightened up to sprint under the posts.
The next try was a beautiful example of playing heads-up rugby. The ball came out to Marsales and with the midfield fully expecting Mo to break once more Morgan came in off his blind side wing to take an inside pass and split the defense wide open. Such was Spencer’s pace, power and angle that the defender’s flailing arms had as much chance of stopping him as the finishing line tape does a marathon winner.
Godzilla was instrumental in the next try. Turning over ball Greg went on one of his trademark runs that makes a defender possibly come to a different conclusion to that famous Marv Levy quote of “where else would you rather be?” With Fraser Watson replacing Davy the quality of ball to the backs was not diminished and when it quickly flashed through the hands Morgan broke to be hauled 5 yards out. The ball was knocked on thus denying Mo a try on his birthday but from the resultant scrum Bay Street won it against the head. Weaver picked, Hall secured the ruck and the ball was spread wide from Watson to Landry to Morgan who scored his third of the day.
Weaver departed with a rib injury to be replaced by Alain van Thiel who wasted no time in making his presence felt in both attack and defense. To their credit Lindsay refused to lie down and enjoyed their best spell of the game. They upped the pace and ran from everywhere causing Bay Street defensive headaches and crossing for two tries. At times the referee had some interesting rule interpretations but the Pigs were undeterred. Manii broke finding Philippe in support. The ball went right through Mo and Peter Crozier and then was swung back right. Landry released Morgan who had Weingarden in close support at the line. Quick hands between Landry, Morgan, Marsales and van Thiel in an area no larger than a car parking space saw Greg Hall score the Pigs final try.
Lindsay scored three tries in the final 15 minutes but the lead that the Pigs built through their hard work and superior play won through in the end. The scoreline of 30-39 secured second spot in the league and a record of 6-3-1 is a tremendous reflection on the character, skill, spirit and leadership demonstrated throughout the season in sometimes trying circumstances. Thankfully the horrendous injury list the club has endured this season has tapered off and we are now seeing the welcome return of some of these players. With playoffs imminent there is the sense that the 2’s are finding form and peaking at the right time.
The great English hooker Brian Moore famously remarked after the 1993 Lions played Southland “Invercargill: twinned with Chernobyl” and whilst Lindsay certainly doesn’t fall into that category, despite the respect between the two teams on Saturday, it does retain a certain unwelcoming charm for the Bay Street Pigs.
St. John O'Connor
The Cold Black Eye of Tom Kimball: Bay Street RFC I 27 - Toronto Nomads I 19
Match Recap (July 22nd, 2013)
‘Sometimes that shark looks right at ya. Right into your eyes. And the thing about a shark is he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, he doesn’t even seem to be livin’… ’til he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then… ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin. The ocean turns red, and despite all your poundin’ and your hollerin’ those sharks come in and… they rip you to pieces’. An extract from the monologue by Robert Shaw’s character Quint about his experience with sharks as a survivor of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in the blockbuster Jaws may seem a strange way to open up a rugby match report but it seemed quite apt when describing Tom Kimball’s performance and the effect he had on Saturday’s game. Read it again and substitute Tom for the shark and bite for tackling and you have an indication of Kimball’s influence. His cold dispassionate pregame eyes and matching body language was confirmation enough that the Pigs losing streak would not extend to three games. True to form Kimball had a massive game and was his usual belligerent and inspirational self. Games against the Nomads are tight, physical and sapping matches. They are a well drilled, dangerous side and are to be treated with respect. This was no different.
After losing the last two league games perhaps this was the fixture required to re-focus minds allied to the fact that it coincided with Ladies Aux and on this day of all days no one wanted to have that gut wrenching feeling again.
From the start the Pigs showed their intent keeping the ball in hand and making the Nomads commit to tackles. The forwards were producing quick ruck ball with Andy Tyler’s whip-like pass giving Colin Alexander that extra split second on the ball. Alexander had another impressive outing at 10 liberally sprinkling his Puck-like fairy dust amongst the play. It was from one of his half-breaks that the Pigs got the opening score. Kimball and Tom Clancy made the initial breaks in the Nomads half and when Jess Landry was tackled on the wing the ball came back to Spencer Morgan at 15. Spencer was brought down on the 5 yard line whereupon the ball came to Alexander who sucked in three defenders forming a maul. The forwards drove and Trevor Anderson scored. Alexander converted to make it 7-0.
Nomads as to be expected did not lie down and dragged themselves back into the game scoring an unconverted try.
Bay Street responded from the restart with their pick and drive game reaping dividends. Anderson and Clancy were taking ball on and when the ball went to The Mountain aka Peter Danner someone somewhere got the urge to put on Carole Kings ‘I feel the earth move under my feet’ and Richter scale needles started twitching. Brought down just over halfway the ball was popped up in broken play to Mo Marsales whose weaved through would-be tacklers like a downhill skier between gates to dive over untouched.
The Nomads are a good team but were having a tough time getting out of their half. The ball was kicked to Morgan who ran it back with interest. From the ruck Dan Yungblut had to leave the field with a dislocated shoulder. Not wishing to cause a fuss or have to deal with the hassle of hospitals Dan put his shoulder back in himself Lethal Weapon style. A tough man and true gentleman I bet Dan craps bigger than Mel Gibson.
The third try again came from sustained Pigs pressure. On the occasion the Nomads were in Bay Street’s half the ball was turned over and Kimball made a line break that saw him hauled into touch deep in the Nomads 22. The Pigs won the lineout and from a series of rucks where Clancy, Kimball, Morgan and Jamie Le Huquet were prominent Alexander had the strength to drag two defenders over the line with him to score. The half time score was 17-5 to the Pigs.
The second half began much as the first had with the Pigs putting their opponents under immense pressure. A beautiful loop between Alexander and The Mountain saw the former race clear and was unlucky not to score. Clancy was his usual hard as nails self in defense and with ball in hand exuded a ‘come on if you think you’re hard enough’ dismissive attitude to would-be tacklers. Few were.
From pressure at a ruck the Nomads had to touch down behind their own line. From the 5 meter scrum the Pigs front row of Dave Tait, Anderson and Peter Shippen simply drove through their opponents and with the Nomads scrum retreating Kimball picked up to touch down.
The second half was a much more even affair with the Nomads in a determined mood. The Pigs lost Tyler Nash to a hamstring strain early on leaving Tyler to be consoled by the bevy of beauties who came along to support him. The hardships of student life eh? This though meant a re-jigging of the backline with Jess Landry moving to the wing and The Hound aka Zach Warrick reuniting with The Mountain in midfield.
Nomads scored their second try through the sustained work of their pack after camping on the Pigs line.
Bay Street continued to attack. The scrum with Mike Wade replacing Shippy continued to dominate and the back row of Clancy, Kimball and Alistair Clark were outstanding in their work rate both in attack and defense.
It was a case of anything you can do I can do better for the Pigs 5th try where sibling rivalry ensured Spencer Morgan didn’t allow Trevor to claim all the credit on the day. Fielding a long kick Alexander made another trade mark half break and found support in the form of Josh Weaver. The ball was flashed to Morgan who ran an arc between the centre and wing before finding Landry. Jess drew his man and with Morgan running a supporting outside loop he took the return ball to score in the corner.
Nomads had the last say on matters though scoring a breakaway try through their threequarters which was deserved. Two good teams and how close they are can be gauged by the score lines: the first game saw the Pigs win by 7 points and the return game by 8. Games are won by attitude as much as ability and on the day Bay Street had both in spades.
With the game over and Kimball returning to his more human form the 27-19 victory put the icing on a fantastic day for the club. With the last league match away to Lindsay this weekend wouldn’t it be wonderful to go there and reverse the score line from 2 weeks ago? There are no atheists in fox holes and there are no shark hunters in Lindsay.
St. John O`Connor
Atonement and a Goode Day: Bay Street RFC II 34 - Toronto Nomads II 19
Match Recap (July 22nd, 2013)
Oh the pageantry, the multi-colored vibrancy and panache it exuded. And that was just Dave Burton’s shirt let alone the pomp and spectacle of Ladies Aux. For any casual observer that comes across this report who perhaps is researching clubs in Toronto and mulling over which one to join let me assure you that as someone who has been involved in playing and watching rugby at a high level for over 30 years on different continents that with the possible exception of the Racing Club in Paris during the late 80’s and early 90’s there is not another club anywhere like the Bay Street Pigs. Immensely talented on the pitch and as good a people one could wish to meet off it being part of it is like reaching your rugby xanadu. The Ladies Aux day was a tremendous success and congratulations and thanks must be extended to all the players and their partners who made the whole event possible.
The 2’s faced their nemesis the Nomads on Saturday determined to atone for the beating handed out back in May. That it coincided with the day that was in it was all the extra motivation required. Before the game the captain, Peter Weingarden, and Philippe kept reiterating the point that the team couldn’t afford to give the Nomads any foothold: that Bay Street had to take the game to them. That both had faces that could advertise war just reinforced this point.
From the off one person who exemplified this attitude from the first to last minute was Jon Goode. Taking the kick off Goode smashed into their forwards thus setting the tone for everyone to follow. The Pigs had Mike Davy and Todd Cornford at half back and the two combined beautifully throughout the day. How the Australian team could have used someone with Todd’s nous against the Lions for although he resembles a mummy with ankles taped and cling film holding packs of ice to various body parts after games Todd remains one of the most intelligent footballers playing.
Cornford moved the play beautifully from early on with Mike Orlando playing on the wing making a good run and finding Davy in support. From there Doug Henderson took it on followed by Micah Simmons and James Manicom before it reached Goode who drove over from close range to score.
The Nomads 2’s strength is their backs who are a dangerous bunch and can attack from anywhere. The three quarter line of Marek Warshawski and Chase Robinson in the centers with Orlando and Jordan Partridge on the wings simply didn’t let anyone by. Their defense was outstanding throughout. The Pigs second try came from a wonderful Partridge run who jinked and cut his way through several would-be tacklers. Weingarden and Robinson secured the ball and it came out to that man Goode again who raced clear to score his second try of the day.
From the kick off Frank Orlando smashed the Nomads openside and the defense remained solid. Nomads were threatening to break from their backs but there was always a tackler or support to snuff out the threat. A Partridge tackle out wide and great work from the tight five resulted in turnover ball. Cornford whipped it wide with Robinson running straight and releasing Alain van Thiel (on to replace the injured Warshawski). Quick ruck ball saw the ball go back the opposite way and the man who started it all, Partridge, finished it by rounding his marker and touching down. 17-0 up and all looked rosy. Nomads were dangerous though and scored a converted try before half-time to reduce the deficit.
The first score of the second half would be crucial; if the Pigs score it would make that comeback all that more difficult. If Nomads scored it was game on. Credit to the Nomads who came all with all guns blazing and really took the game to the Pigs. With their forwards working together and their backs combining well with their outhalf; it was easy to see why they are top of the 2’s league. Nomads scored shortly after the restart and with their wing converting they were now just three points behind with the wind.
The Pigs though had Godzilla returning from injury and what a sight it was to see Greg Hall return to the fray. With Greg and Frank Orlando, or Frank the Tank as he clearly was that evening, popping up in the loose their power and aggressive running caused immense problems for the opposition. The game was incredibly close at this point with both sides having their chances. With their backs against the wall though Bay Street scored the try of the day or possibly of the season and it encapsulated everything the club stands for. From a scrum on the Pigs 10 meter line Goode broke with the opposition putting up as much resistance to his drive as a particularly plump toilet roll does with an over active and under exercised puppy in the room. The vocal Ken Ting took the ball on before Cornford made another break and passed wide to Partridge who slipped two tackles and popped inside to The Tank. Mike Davy was on hand to receive the pass and score a beautiful try and one that had every spectator on their feet applauding. Such is its intensity it is rumored that Ken Ting, our very own screaming Asian, may be the only player to achieve orgasm on the field of play.
This gave the Pigs breathing space and from there they didn’t look back. Robinson made a midfield break and found Partridge on the outside. Jordan is one of the most elusive runners in the league and reinforced his status by slipping the tackle and racing through to score. The Nomads came back though and scored their third, unconverted, try following a high kick and chase to reduce the deficit once more.
With the home support shouting them on the Pigs returned the compliment. Frank the Tank went on a barnstorming run which Godzilla continued. Goode was in support again and with Weingarden securing the ruck Mick Davy found Godzilla. Trying to stop a charging Greg Hall is like telling a church going Catholic to use the rhythm method and then pull out just before the magic happens: neither is going to happen. From outside the 22 a Godzilla at full steam ahead swatted away all around him to score the Pigs 6th and final try in the corner.
The game ended 34-19 to Bay Street who recorded a bonus point win and retribution for their previous encounter. The Nomads remain in pole position to win the league and if they do we must congratulate them. Any slip up and a win in Lindsay could see Bay Street reverse positions. For the day that was in it though amid all the glamour and élan Carly Simon could have been singing solely about the Bay Street Pigs. After all, nobody does it better.
St. John O' Connor
Wicked Witches and Screaming Asians: Bay Street RFC II 29 - Lindsay II 39
Match Recap (July 13th, 2013)
There are lyrics to a song by a band long since forgotten which go “as words come easy I can’t give them respect. I put so little into them and then watch the effect.” Whilst the singer was referring to the ease of casual hook ups and equally casual dumping thereafter this hack that usually has any number of words at hand is at a complete loss as to how to surmise the past two games against Lindsay. The 2’s played probably the worst 40 minutes ever witnessed at Sunnybrook and the 1’s snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Two terrible losses for different reasons but equally hard to take.
It was as if a magic wand had been waved by a particularly wicked witch in the first half of the 2’s game. It was a what’s what of what could go wrong. No tackling? Check. No rucking? Check. No communication? Check. No cohesion? Check. No support? Check. In another galaxy mentally? Check. The list went on and on and on and was horrendous. Even when the Pigs found themselves in the Lindsay half the ball was quickly spilled or turned over. For everything Bay Street did wrong Lindsay did very well and they took full advantage to score several first half tries and looked equally impressive in doing so with their backs and forwards combining to great effect.
From the Pigs viewpoint the highlight of the first half was that it ended. Bay Street found themselves behind 0-36. Had it been a boxing bout the referee would have ended it or if we were actual pigs the Vet would have taken us out the back and put us out of our misery. Yes, it really was that bad.
Harsh words were spoken at half time with the captain, Peter Weingarden, asking whether the team wanted to come off the pitch on the end of a 0-80 thrashing. Jon Goode laid out the areas that needed to be worked on: namely tacking and rucking.
James Manicom and Doug Henderson started it all off. Taking the ball at pace and driving at good body angles they took play up to the 10 meter line. Peter Crozier, at 9, made a half break and fed Brad Hord. Faced with three monsters who could likely eat him whole Brad did the only honorable thing and chipped before collecting his own kick and breaking clear. From the resultant scrum and ruck the ball was spun to the back where Marek Warshawski broke two tackles to touch down. And just like that the Wicked Witch’s spell was broken.
The second try was one of beauty. From a dominant scrum the ball reached the ever reliable and impressive Dave Manii who drew his man and fed Geoff Osborne on the Pigs 22. One of the fastest players in the club Geoff took off like the road runner. The covering Lindsay defense may well of has been Wild E. Coyote armed with an ACME catapult or sitting atop an ACME missile with match in hand for all the chance they had of catching Geoff. With defenders left in his wake and a deft swing of the hips Osborne cut inside the full back and dotted down under the posts.
The forwards were now much more direct in their play and provided good quick ball. Ken Ting, on as replacement for the injured Chris Boyack, had his best game as a Pig rampaging all over the field accompanied by Maria Sharapova-like sound effects as he entered contact. Arthur Sinclair, Manicom, Henderson and Charles Blott rampaged with ball in hand whilst the back row of Goode, Weingarden and White were forever in support.
Henderson claimed a fabulous take at the lineout and Fraser Watson scissored with Warshawski at inside centre who ran a perfect line between the half backs to score untouched under the posts. Following this Manii and Osborne combined again beautifully on the wing with interchanging passes and Manii was just hauled down before the line with Lindsay managing to clear. Dave left the play shortly afterwards following a clash of heads and the pouring of blood. If ‘chicks dig scars’ they are in for a real treat!
The Pigs were undeterred by this loss and with Watson spinning the ball wide Jordan Partridge, a beautifully balanced runner, took full advantage. A slight build but incredibly deceptive Jordan was stopped by three tacklers just short of the line. Manicom was first to secure the ball and Crozier, who had a super game, dived over to score.
Ting made another big break, with volume, and with the ball spun wide to that man Partridge, this time, he was not to be denied. Side stepping his man and the cover Jordan sprinted to score under the posts. Unbelievably the score line was 29-36; five tries and two conversions in the second half to no score. With 5 minutes left the Pigs were just one score away from a remarkable comeback.
Sadly the comebacks are for Hollywood and from an infringement Lindsay elected to kick for goal which they converted to stretch the lead to 10 points. This was too far for another comeback and despite the efforts the game ended 29-39 to Lindsay. Congratulations must be extended to both teams for the way they played the game but it really was a pity the first half was so poor from a Pigs perspective.
There is plenty of talent in the side and some wonderful leadership. Whilst these are attributes every team needs the missing ingredient is the attitude to win from the start of the game and not at some point during it. Plenty has been spoken about it but really it comes down to players turning up when they say they will so as not to disrupt selection; turning up at the designated time to ensure a full warm up is done and being switched on from the start. We pride ourselves on our education. Are we smart enough to take it on board for the Nomads? Let’s do it gentlemen.
St. John O'Connor
The Horror, The Horror...: Bay Street RFC I 19 - Lindsay I 21
Match Recap (July 13th, 2013)
Colonel Kurtz uttered “the horror, the horror” as he left this mortal coil at the close of Apocalypse Now and if that phrase has been analyzed ad nauseum as to what he was actually referring to for the Pigs it was the sickening feeling of the 1’s loss on Saturday’s to Lindsay that was combined with a solid connection to the solar plexus. This was a tough one to take. The effort was there, the commitment couldn’t be questioned and everyone was up for it. Unfortunately a couple of half breaks were not finished off and injuries took their toll. A penalty conceded with barely a couple of minutes left sealed the Pigs fate and also their second successive loss: something that has not happened for a long time. There is a healthy respect between the teams and this was a game between two well matched sides. Lindsay must be commended for their never-say-die attitude and victory but really it felt like it slipped away from Bay Street.
The game kicked off at a fearsome pace with both sides looking to put down an early marker. The early hits were ferocious and Lindsay had the Pigs under early pressure which yielded a converted penalty. After that Bay Street settled and began to use the width of pitch well with Bucky finding some lovely long touches from hand and Colin Alexander keeping the defense guessing as to whether he would break, kick or pass.
This pressure led to a penalty chance for the Pigs which was converted by Bucky. Mike Davy making his full debut for the 1’s had a big game and put his opposite number under tremendous pressure. A second penalty followed shortly afterwards but was pushed wide although from the 22 kick out Geoff Bylund took the ball and fed Bucky who returned the kick. Bucky’s chase put the Lindsay 10 under pressure and his kick found the wrong man in the wrong place: well from a Lindsay perspective anyway. The folically challenged but wonderfully gifted and athletically ageless Jess Landry received the ball and took off on a majestic run. Beating the 10, fending off the hooker, cutting inside the winger and covering prop before straightening up to score. The conversion was missed and it was 8-3 to Bay Street.
The Pigs kept up the pressure. Trevor Anderson was outstanding in the loose and the scrum was solid with Dave Tait and Mick Schaer more than holding their own. Ian Davies and Josh Weaver were hugely mobile and getting through plenty of work whilst the dream team back row of Tom Clancy, Tom Kimball and Alistair Clark smashed everything in their sight and were linking superbly. With the pack working as a formidable unit their pressure was awarded with another penalty which was just wide. Lindsay converted a penalty on the stroke of halftime themselves to leave the score 8-6 to the Pigs.
Davies had to leave the field with a recurrence of his ankle injury was replaced by Will Simpson just back from injury himself. Will’s return was a welcome sight and it was like Will was never away such was the blatant disregard for his body. Another Pigs disregard for his body sadly didn’t last the course as Trevor Anderson left the field in considerable pain from an outstanding knee issue to be replaced by Philippe. We all wish you a speedy recovery Trevor.
Penalties were exchanged between the sides and then Bay Street turned their pressure into points in the second half through a lovely move combining backs and forwards. The Hound needed his customary double tackle to stop his omentum and it didn’t get any easier for Lindsay when the next recipient was Tom Clancy who, when he tired of all the attempts to tackle him, fed Shippy. The ball was spun out to Alexander and from Kimball’s pop pass Bucky straightened and fed Clark in support. Hauled down illegally before the line the referee played advantage to Bay Street. On a free play Alexander spun the ball out to Tyler Nash who led his marker a merry dance as Nash turned him this way and that way before rounding him to score in the corner. A beautiful score. The conversion was missed from the touchline but it was now 16-13 to the Pigs midway through the second half. All looked good but appearances can be deceiving.
Realizing they were in danger of losing their unbeaten record Lindsay, to their credit, upped their game and the pace. Their scrum half made a break from a free kick and from the ruck close to the line they drove over to score. Despite having two attempts the conversion was missed with the score line 16-18 to Lindsay and the game in the balance. Bay Street were awarded a penalty which Bucky converted to lead 19-18. With neither side letting up the game was going down to the wire. With just a couple of minutes left the referee penalized the Pigs at the ruck. The kick was not a gimme but given the inconsistent goal kicking in the game so far it didn’t seem as if it was necessary just yet to promise the devil the soul of your first born son for it to miss. Of course hindsight being 20-20 vision we should have offered it up to guarantee the win. The kick went over and Lindsay was in the lead.
The Pigs had one half chance left when Clancy made a break but his pass back to his support was intercepted before it could find them. Lindsay held onto the ball and when the referee blew the final whistle hearts just sank.
This weekend finds the Pigs at home to the Nomads and a win is vital. Firstly it is Ladies Aux so that should be all the motivation required but if that isn’t enough should the Pigs win and Lindsay lose to Belleville then it is a winner takes all in the return game in Lindsay in a fortnight. Having lost their previous 16 encounters the late Vitas Gerulaitis remarked after beating Jimmy Connors in the 1979 masters "And let that be a lesson to you all. Nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row." I’m betting the Bay Street Pigs losing sequence ends at 2.
St. John O'Connor
A Tale of Two Interceptions: Belleville I 34 - Bay Street RFC I 28
Match Recap (July 6th, 2013)
Charles Dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities which depicts the plight of the France peasantry prior to the 1789 revolution, the brutality shown afterwards to the overthrown aristocracy and the social parallels of life in London at the time. The opening chapter sets the tone: “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times,….it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” That quotation encapsulates the frustration of the 1’s loss to Belleville on Saturdayby a score of 34-28. Two converted tries conceded in quick succession in the opening minutes combined with an intercept try not given and one that was contributed to the defeat. Congratulations though have to be extended to Belleville who took their opportunities and used their backs well to record the win.
Having been shell-shocked in the opening 10 minutes by two converted tries Bay Street almost pulled one score back from a Tom Kimball pickup and pass to Andy Tyler who was hauled down just before the line. The injury curse struck again with Ian Davies leaving the field with a recurrence of an ankle injury to be replaced by Frank Orlando, himself just back from injury. The Pigs came more into it and with Colin Alexander leading the backs Bay Street had several promising attacks. Belleville struck again though when they scored their third try of the game to lead 21-0 in the first half.
With a couple of minutes left in the half it looked as if Bay Street had got themselves back into the game when Todd Cornford intercepted a pass on the Pigs 10 meter line and raced through to score without a hand or a shadow being laid upon him. Bar the flanker, scrum half and full back forlornly chasing Todd no one else, including the referee, was within an asses roar of play yet the referee ruled the ball was placed before the try line and ruled no try. In over 30 years of playing the game let alone watching it never has this hack seen such a decision. Life is supposed to be about new experiences but this was one we would gladly have passed on. The resultant 5 yard scrum was agonizingly short with Belleville requiring three defenders to bring down Kimball but bring him down they did and when Orlando was held up from the next crash the referee brought the first half proceedings to a close.
The second half saw a more determined and focused Pigs take the field with Kimball and Alistair Clark providing the fulcrum. One hit early on from Kimball on Belleville’s fullback was monstrous enough to see the 15 depart the field with a damaged hamstring.
Alexander was getting his backs moving now. With the Mountain and the Hound crashing up the ball was recycled quickly to Cornford on the wing who put in a lovely cross field kick for Bucky to chase. The covering defense just got there in time though. From the defensive 5 yard scrum Andy Tyler put his opposite number under so much pressure that the pass was fumbled. Like any good scavenging 7 Clark was there to pounce and finally get the Pigs on the board. Bucky’s conversion made it 21-7.
The Pigs were charged now and an Alexander break and quick ruck ball found Clark again in support to score his second converted try. 21-14 and it really looked as though Bay Street could turn this around. However an intercept in midfield almost immediately saw Belleville score their fourth try and extend their lead to 26-14.
Undeterred the Pigs came back again with Kimball, Simmons and Rouanet taking the ball on. Orlando was next and then it reached Clark who arched his run like a 400m runner running the bend leaving the entire back row and one of the second row floundering in his wake. The try was converted and now it was 26-21.
Belleville scored their fifth try to again extend their lead but yet again the Pigs came back with Orlando like a wrecking ball in midfield. Cornford was pulled down just shy of the line and then the ball was spun to the other wing where Spencer Morgan was not going to be stopped. Three men wrapped around him but Spencer prevailed and scored the Pigs fourth converted try.
Back to three points and with just a couple of minutes to play it was now all or nothing. From a ruck just outside the Pigs 22 the referee decreed the defending team transgressed and awarded a penalty. Belleville opted for the points and converted it to put 6 points between the teams. The final whistle went and the Pigs lost 34-28.
So if a Dickens tale of two of the main protagonists of Charles Darney, the former French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, the dissipated English barrister and how their lives changed through these events then the tale of Belleville versus Bay Street can be told through one intercept awarded and one bafflingly not. Thus are the fine lines of victory and defeat balanced.
The Pigs entertain Lindsay this Saturday. Having experienced the worst of times and the winter of despair let’s pull together and experience the best of times this week. We are more than capable.
St. John O'Connor
Joshua and the AmazingTechnicolor Underpants: Belleville II 19 - Bay Street RFC II 41
Match Recap (July 6th, 2013)
According to several baby name websites the name Joshua means ‘God rescues’ and in the Old Testament Joshua was appointed by God to lead the Israelites after Moses’ death. Incidentally the Greek form of Joshua is Jesus and, of course, The Joshua Tree was U2’s 1987 breakout album allowing them to attain mega stardom and riches in equal measure whilst lecturing the rest of the world on forgiving 3rd world debt as they funneled their income through the Netherlands in order to avoid paying tax on it.
Joshua Weaver may not be God, despite the female of the species idolatrizing him, but his arrival at the club in the last month, characterized by his yellow cleats, has been something of a godsend for the 2’s particularly with the spate of injuries afflicting the forwards. Rugby Union, a game traditionally played by gentlemen with tours lasting several months and jobs merely to pass the time between social events, has changed radically since professionalism. Beforehand eyebrows would have been raised amongst supporters with the possibility of a strongly worded letter to the President and an ever stronger G&T ordered to calm the nerves had one of the players donned the field in anything other than the club colors and polished black cleats. Players may have grudgingly accepted one of the backs wearing some ‘fancy dan’ cleats but a forward? Lord no! The Front Row Union would have been most upset and if a player had the temerity to do so he’d better be able to back himself with his actions.
Bay Street 2s travelled to Belleville looking to record a double over their opponents having defeated them in Sunnybrook earlier in the season. Played in sweltering conditions Bay Street took the field with some experienced players returning that missed the last game against Mississauga; amongst those returning were Jon Goode, Jordan Laurin and Mike Orlando whose rugby nous and abilities made a big difference.
It was a jittery start for the 2s as a greasy ball and Belleville’s blitz defense didn’t allow the Pigs to settle. In fact it paid dividends for Belleville as they scored a converted try within a couple of minutes of kick-off. Bay Street settled down after this and, although the backs were more erratic than the Toronto weather, began to gain a foothold.
From a scrum on Belleville’s 22 Laurin picked and fed the Welsh Wonder Mike Davy whose play and demeanor is quickly making him a firm Pig favorite. Playing with the aggression of a back row but with the hands and vision of a 9 Davy took two men to take him down. A quick clean out from Goode saw Peter Weingarden take the ball on and from a couple of yards out Weaver drove through three players to score.
The conversion was missed but the score settled the Pigs until the defense from a lineout went horribly wrong. A Belleville overthrow took everyone by surprise and instead of the Pigs capitalizing on it the ball was knocked on with one of the opposition picking up and running from the half way to score a converted try under the posts.
The Pigs were not deterred and started to stretch Belleville’s defense. The catalyst for the backs getting back into the game was Mo Marsales whose evasive running and refusal to be tackled gave his forwards a platform to work from. Mo’s running led to the Pigs second try following a break from 15 by Dave Manii. Slipping his tackle and side stepping the covering flanker Mo deftly found support in the form of Laurin who swerved round the scrum half before touching down. The conversion was missed but the Pigs were back in it at 12-10 at half time.
The second half saw the Pigs take the game by its scruff and suddenly it all began to click. Fraser Watson mixed up his play from first phase with either Orlando or one of the forwards taking a pop pass back inside to crash the ball up before setting free the very dangerous outside backs. One of the main beneficiaries of this was Mo whose running caused huge problems for the Bulldogs. A neat break from Mo and then taking the return pass from Boyack, who was making a nuisance of himself in the loose, saw Marsales score the first of his two tries. Jordan Partridge had the dubious honor of being the Pigs kicker for the day by way of winning the pregame kicking contest. This was not necessarily measured by accuracy: more so by Jordan’s attempts resembling a soaring eagle in comparison to his colleagues mortally wounded ducks. Conversion scored and the Pigs were now in a lead they would not surrender.
The next try was one for the purists. From a lineout won by Weaver the pack formed a tight wedge and drove the maul over to score from about 15 yards out.
Weaver was in full flow now and was a constant threat with ball in hand. Following the kick-off he took a pop pass from Weingarden in midfield and his athleticism saw him outsprint the cover from the halfway line to score his third try of the game.
Belleville didn’t give up and the Pigs were thankful of the thunderous boot of Ritchie White to relieve pressure downfield. These kicks were met with incredulous but grateful looks from the sideline such was their length but there were disapproving murmurs from the Justices Tait and Goode and one feels Mr. White may face a hefty fine at the next court session.
Dave Manii is having a wonderfully productive season. Samson’s strength was his hair, Thor’s The Hammer of Asgard and Dave’s is his Amazing Technicolor Underpants: a purple base and all the colors of the rainbow in between. So loud in fact that Stacey had to wear her sunglasses whilst taping around them for Dave’s hamstring. Playing at fullback Dave had a super game in defense and attack and ran a great support line to score a try.
Mo scored his second try and the Pigs last taking the ball from a Partridge break before dummying passes and slinking through several tackles to dot down. Partridge converted (his third of the Pigs seven) and the referee blew for full time.
A 19-41 victory leaves the 2’s in second place. Gods be kind: a few more victories like this before seasons end would be a nice return.
St. John O'Connor
A Midsummer's Night Dream: Mississauga I 24 - Bay Street RFC I 56
Match Recap (June 22nd, 2013)
Bay Street took on Mississauga Blues on Friday which just so happened to be the Summer Solstice or more colloquially Midsummer's Day. Of course being the day that was in, it also made one think of Shakespeare's comedy 'A Midsummer Nights Dream' which portrays the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, Theseus, and Hippolyta. These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors, who are controlled and manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set. One of these fairies is Puck: a clever, mischievous elf or sprite that personifies the trickster or the wise knave. In the play, Shakespeare introduces Puck as the "shrewd and knavish sprite" and "that merry wanderer of the night".
The Pigs own Puck on the night was Colin Alexander who was playing his first game at 10 having previously played at wing and fullback. Alexander was superb on the night bringing his three quarter line and pack into play from various angles and positions constantly keeping the Blues defense guessing.
From the kick off Bay Street were on the offence. Keeping possession for the opening minutes and moving the ball down the left hand side Spencer Morgan, back from injury, took full advantage to touch down and continue his rich vein of form this season. Bucky back at his more familiar role at 15 added the conversion.
The Hound and the Mountain were making serious inroads in midfield and from a ruck set up by Danner Fraser Watson sniped from outside the 22 to score under the posts. Watson was rewarded with the start following good performances on the 2’s and didn't disappoint.
A lineout win from Tom Kimball led to the third try. Receiving quick ball off the top Alexander fed the ball to the Hound who was bought down through a triple tackle of centre, full back and second row. If the Blues thought the worst was over the next recipient was one Thomas Seamus Clancy.... Carnage ensued as Clancy drew would be tacklers like nails to a magnet before Ian Davies took the ball on. From the maul Davies set up Micah Simmons peeled off the back to score.
To their credit the Blues never gave up and fought back scoring a converted try. Although predominantly a young team they possess some excellent players who will get better with experience. Their full back in particular caught the eye with some beautiful skills and their pack was well drilled and ran hard.
The bonus point was achieved from a turnover in midfield where Clancy made a break before feeding Dave Tait to form a maul. Clancy took the return ball and made a break finding Trevor Anderson, also back from injury, in support. Anderson drew his man and passed to Alexander who ran in for the first of his two tries. Clancy was again instrumental in the Pigs fifth and final try of the half through another break turning the defense. From it Watson whipped the ball wide to Anderson loitering on the wing whose strong running saw him run in untouched.
The second half had much the same pattern as the first with Bay Street keeping up the pressure. Peter Weingarden’s Pug Kingsley is fast becoming the Pigs lucky charm as contradictory as that sounds: a dog being lucky for pigs. Every game Tom Clancy has petted Kingsley before kickoff Tom has scored; Blues (1st game), Belleville and Nomads. Kingsley wasn’t at either Saracens game and Tom didn’t score. Before the game Tom lambasted Peter for Kingsley’s absence the past couple of matches before petting him. The result? Clancy romping home for the Pigs first try of the second half and sixth of the evening.
Shortly afterwards Trevor Anderson’s abrasive running saw him reach the Blues 22 and his pop pass out of the tackle was taken by Taylor Nash who took off on an arcing run. Nash had Philippe outside him and dummied the pass which the winger bought before pulling the ball back in and stepping inside his man to score. A lovely score and good work between backs and forwards.
Mississauga came back again scoring two further converted tries and a penalty. Mo Marsales, on as a replacement for Morgan, benefitted from Ian Davies run when he took the ball on in the 22 and despite the center riding him like a jockey Mo had the strength to carry on to score.
The coup de grace was supplied by Bay Street’s own Puck. With the ball turned over in midfield Andy Tyler found Bucky in space. Bucky’s gazelle-like running drew in the fullback and passed to Alexander who waltzed through to score under the posts. Bucky converted all 8 tries to seal a 24-56 victory and leave Bay Street in second place behind Lindsay.
A tough run of 4 games in July will determine where Bay Street finishes in the league. If further injuries can be avoided and with one or two players to return to strengthen the squad there is enough talent and drive to be serious contenders. Perhaps some more fairy dust or lucky charms will be needed along with way but after the spate of injuries suffered and with Belleville, Nomads and Lindsay coming into view we’ll take everything on offer.
St. John O'Connor
Two Shots of Happy, One Shot of Sad: Mississauga II 28 - Bay Street RFC II 36
Match Recap (June 22nd, 2013)
As a tribute to, the then octogenarian, Frank Sinatra U2 recorded a song titled ‘Two Shots of Happy, One Shot of Sad’ where the bitter sweet nostalgic lyrics accompanied by a moody piano outlines the story of a life full of highs and lows but ultimately one of satisfaction. Whilst the 2’s may not have the alleged organized crime connections, lovers, money, lifestyle or singing voice of Sinatra they can identify with the song following their 36-28 victory over Mississauga Blues on Friday night.
Played on a balmy sunny evening on a beautiful surface the conditions leant themselves to running open rugby and to the delight of everyone watching neither side disappointed moving the ball at every opportunity. Getting into the champagne-type rugby early on was Mike Orlando who had a powerful game taking the ball up and regularly needing two to three defenders to quench his threat. It was in fact Orlando who opened the scoring taking a pop pass from Liam Boyle from a scrum in the Blues 22. Orlando’s would-be tackler bounced off Mike like a rubber ball against a wall leaving a clear run in under the posts.
Mississauga were unperturbed and launched a sustained attack which necessitated disciplined defense. Pressure from Mike Davy led to a hurried clearance kick and from the resultant lineout Josh Weaver, making his Pigs debut at 8, rose like a soufflé to secure the ball. Boyle sucked in the defenders and gave an inside pass to Prince, playing at flanker, to race through to score.
Bay St. almost scored again from the kick off where strong running from Geoff Campbell led to the elusive Jordan Partridge getting the ball on half way and sprinting to the line only to be held up attempting to score: the Blues covering winger doing brilliant work. The Pigs were rewarded an attacking scrum 5 yards from the line and scored their third try when Weaver picked up and drove over. Things got even better for the Pigs when, from a turnover, the ball reached Partridge who is an incredibly dangerous runner from broken play. Jordan did not let anyone down in this regard and broke clear to score under the posts.
The score line was the two shots of happy but the attrition was one shot of sad. Mike Orlando left the field after taking a heavy knock and was shortly followed by the Pigs general, Liam Boyle, with a dislocated shoulder. Mississauga scored before the break but , injuries aside, at 7 – 28 all looked rosy in the pigpen.
Mississauga began the second half in determined fashion and scored a converted try shortly after the restart to reduce the deficit to 14- 28. This gave them belief and the Blues launched a full out 15 minute attack in search for further scores. Bono described this period more perfectly than this hack ever could singing “under pressure, but not bent of out of shape; Surrounded, we always found an escape” At this point the Pigs had lost Pummell, Peter Weingarden and Ken Ting to injury (in addition to Boyle & Orlando), were playing Marek Warshawski, a centre, at flanker and Noel Chambers at 15 with a broken big toe. Despite an heroic defense Mississauga scored their third converted try, which they deserved, and suddenly the comfort of a 21 point lead was whittled down to 7.
It was backs against wall time and time to decide whether to come back fighting or lie down. Led by Campbell, Warshawski, Charles Blott (who is having a superb season) in the pack and Davy, Chase Robinson and Dave Manii (another showing real form) in the backs the Pigs fought back and from a number of drives Warshawski broke through to score. The conversion was missed but the Pigs had some breathing space. Mississauga attached again to score in the corner and incredibly their kicker landed the conversion to leave them within 5 points.
Just as Hannibal Lector told Clarice Starling to “look deep within yourself” so the Pigs had to do so from the restart and instead of finding a decapitated head in a pickle jar after unscrambling that anagram Bay Street found a penalty for their efforts. Usually the decision would have made to go for the corner but in such a tight game Prince went for the points and coolly slotted the ball home. The Pigs were now two scores clear with just minutes to go and their defense held firm to hold out for the win.
There was a mixture of relief and elation at the end. The win sets the 2’s up nicely for a shot at the league but with the number of injuries incurred fingers and toes will be crossed that those who are make a quick return and those that are not remain that way. Two Shots of Happy, One Shot of Sad indeed.
St. John O'Connor
Popping Their Cherry...: North Halton II 0 - Bay Street RFC III 12
Match Recap (June 23rd, 2013)
How does one define success? There are as many different answers as there are contexts. Job satisfaction, remuneration, family, materiality, spirituality the list goes on. In a rugby club is success measured by the achievements of the first team or how the club is doing further down? The first team is, correctly, the spotlight of any club and one always wants to see them grow, succeed and be the best but there is something special seeing something organically grow and succeed.
The Bay Street 3’s were only formed this season under the stewardship of Noel Chambers and after losing in a relatively tight game on their debut against Nomads were beaten more convincingly by Toronto Scottish. With the number of injuries the first and second team suffered over the past number of weeks going into Saturday’s game against North Halton 2’s there was a question over whether a team would be put out and if so what kind of team?
Played in ‘power shower’ conditions for much of it 15 hardy, cheerful and determined souls kicked off at Eglington Flats against North Halton. For the first 10 minutes it seemed as though it might be a continuation of the Scottish game as the well drilled and powerful North Halton team dominated possession. However having settled the storm so to speak Bay Street settled into their rhythm and began to gain first parity then the ascendency.
With a slippery ball and the referee correctly allowing play to flow, much like the incessant rain, the game was played end to end. Bay Street were unlucky not to score in the first half when from a scrum near their line the pack wheeled and James Manicom went about multi tasking by driving into his prop whilst at the same time pulling the scrum half back thus preventing him getting any purchase on his pass resulting in a knock on. Ian Davies, who had a tremendous game in attack and defense, picked up from the resultant scrum only to held up short of the line. Shortly afterwards Justin Yuen was hauled down close to the line after making a good run.
The half back pairing of Peter Crozier at 9 and Noel Chambers at 10 had big games and controlled the game beautifully. Noel mixed up his play varying grubber kicks, pop passes, breaks and line kicking to great effect whilst Crozier intelligently probed and kept his pack on their toes. The front row of Manicom, Jason Lemar and Peter Shippen carried a lot of ball into contact and as the half wore on Doug Henderson and Jesse Sargent came more into the fore in the loose and at the lineout. For such an open game the first half ended scoreless.
As the second half began Bay Street continued their pressure game. As North Halton attempted to move the ball wide Henderson waded in with a big tackle on their 8 who knocked on. Jess Messina was closest at hand to feed Geoff Osborne racing up the wing. The injury curse that afflicted the 2’s the previous night struck again as Geoff’s hamstring went just before the line. Unable to proceed Geoff had the presence of mind to find his support in the form of Mike Conway who kept the move alive. Dave Manii took Conways’s pass and making a decisive break fed Joe Bartolo to open the scoring.
Like waiting 50 minutes for a bus and suddenly two come along together so did the next score. From the kick off Ian Davies took off with, what can only be described as, a hint of madness in the eyes and went on an absolute barnstorming run where the opposition wisely thought it better not to interfere. Feeding the supporting Alex Prince, who then drew all the players that stayed a self-preserving distance from Davies, Prince raced through to score with four of the opposition in hot pursuit. Chambers added the conversion to stretch the lead to 12-0.
North Halton threw everything at the Pigs in an effort to get back into the game. If the legendary Pittsburgh Steelers had the Steel Curtain then perhaps Bay Street had their own version: the Bacon Buttress that refused to be breached with every player putting their body on the line. Henderson stole some vital lineout ball, Messina put in some trademark darting runs and Conway tidied up lots of difficult grubbers and kicks returning them with interest. After sustained pressure Manii again ran straight and broke the gain line. Shippen picked up and from the ruck Chambers fought his way up field before offloading to Bartolo who did the same. The referee gave an attacking scrum and after Davies was halted inches from the line the ball was flung out to Manii who scored the Pig’s third and final try.
When the referee blew the final whistle it was for a well deserved and good win. Every player deserves credit for their application and attitude. We may never see some of these players on the 1’s but their role is vital to the club as it continues to grow. Rugby is about enjoyment regardless of the level and one can only hope that more players will gravitate to the 3’s thus increasing the numbers and matches. Congratulations on your first win gentlemen and may it be the first of many for many a year. How does one define success? Start with Bay Street 3’s.
St. John O'Connor
Piggies on the Grille? I Think Not...: Saracens I 17 - Bay Street RFC I 32
Match Recap (June 15th, 2013)
Bay Street welcomed back a number of players to the starting XV for the reverse fixture against Saracens on Saturday. Both sides were fired up with Saracens aiming to confirm their victory last week wasn't a one-off and the Pigs to prove they are a better team than they showed that day.
Focus and attitude played a big part but so did the back row of Tom Clancy, Tom Kimball and Alistair Clark. Tom Clancy would make a terrible rent boy. Why? Because Tom Clancy refuses to go down. Clancy was like a raging bull on the park all the more remarkable given he was a doubt to play until kick-off. Saracens simply had no answer to his aggressive running with ball in hand and thunderous defense. Clark with speed, vision and handling that would not be amiss in the centre was the perfect link man between backs and forwards. Incredibly polite off the pitch a baby-faced assassin on it Alistair’s punches way above his weight in terms of hits. And my word does he hit. Making up this trio was Tom Kimball who controlled the game as beautifully as ever from the base of the scrum.
Everyone was switched on from the start and although playing away from home Bay Street took control of the game setting the tempo. This early pressure led to a penalty which Andrew Buxton-Foreman converted to take a 0-3 lead. Bucky had a superb game at 10 and some of his kicking from hand into a first-half headwind was remarkable. One such kick lead to the opening try of the game. A high ball was chased by Andy Tyler who bravely and splendidly out-jumped the Saracen's winger to claim it and fed Bucky running a supporting line. At such pace a desperate defensive lunge from the Saracen's second row found the back of Bucky's shirt but like the hero trying to save his under developed lover holding to a railing for dear life the fabric slipped through his fingers leaving Bucky an uninterrupted run to the try line. Bucky's own conversion made it 0-10.
At this point Bay Street looked in control but Saracens hit back not once but twice to take a 12-10 lead through two tries, one of which was converted. Coming to the end of the first half Bay Street struck back. Mark Johnson was tackled with Peter Shippen taking the ball on to set up a ruck on Saracen's 22. The ball came to Bucky who had Kimball in support. Feeding Tom at full stride the full back was brushed aside and although Saracen's scrum half and winger did their best Kimball's grit and determination prevailed as he spun out of the tackle to dot down. The conversion was missed as the referee blew for half time.
Bay Street continued as they left off in the second half. Rob Autagavaia (that’s worth 14 points in Scrabble by the way) had a powerful game in the second row and was a real handful in the loose with ball in hand. Taking a pass following a break from Clark Rob sidestepped the winger, fended off a flanker and ran through the full back before holding off a second flanker to score Bay Street's third try. It was kind of Rob to provide a running commentary of how his would-be tacklers were doing although one cannot be certain how this was appreciated by the recipients. Bucky's conversion made it 12-22; a 10 point swing inside 5 minutes.
Saracens fought back and made some dangerous excursions primarily through their 10's angled kicking. However the back three of Mo Marsales, Geoff Bylund and Todd Cornford (later replaced by Mark Johnson) dealt with whatever was thrown at them with aplomb. Bylund's hard running from wing and strong rugby league defense caught the eye. As mentioned previously Todd Cornford is a hugely intelligent rugby player, consistently good and never puts a foot wrong. Let's hope Todd's hamstring injury is nothing serious as it would be a terrible double whammy to be ruled out of upcoming matches as well as seeing his beloved Australia lose to the Lions 3-0! A further penalty for an indiscretion made it 12-25 mid way through the half and then Saracens scored their third try to make it 17-25.
With the Hound and the Mountain reunited in midfield their strong running caused multiple problems. A bent ruler may absorb the force for a while but ultimately it will snap: it's just a matter of when and where. Although Saracens continued to defend valiantly, from Bucky's skillful distribution, Zach and Danner began to make serious inroads and some of the interplay between backs and forwards was sublime. In fact this lead to the Pigs fourth try and bonus point. Clancy broke with Kimball taking the supporting pass before offloading again to Clancy. In the act of being tackled, and mid-air mind, Clancy flicked the ball to Danner who carried two men over the line with him to score.
To their credit Saracens refused to give up and the pack worked hard as a unit to stem the tide. Dave Tait has added counter-rucking to his game this season to tremendous effect whilst Dan Yungblutt was his superbly effective self working from ruck to maul to lineout to scrum. Mike Wade had a big game at prop when he entered the fray and Mike Davy, with his wavy hair, playing out of position on the wing had a solid debut. The motivation for the Pigs was to prevent Saracens scoring a fourth try and picking up a bonus point and for this the team's discipline must be commended. The final whistle went with Bay Street coming out on top 17-32.
The Pigs now find themselves second in the league behind Lindsay with a game against Mississauga this Friday followed by a tough few weeks against Lindsay (twice) and Nomads: both sure to be hugely physical. No further slip ups can be made if the league is to be retained but with injured players coming back into the fold along with the form of those in possession of the shirt confidence and competition should be high. Saracens may have wanted to "put those fat pieces of bacon back on the grill where they belong and turn the heat up" prior to the game but gentlemen as George Bernard Shaw remarked: "Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it."
St. John O'Connor
Contrast of Emotions and Fortunes...: Saracens II 12 - Bay Street RFC II 12
Match Recap (June 15th, 2013)
The great Philippe Sella, winner of 111 French caps when substitutions could only be made due to injury and not on a coaches whim, was once asked his memories of playing in Murrayfield. Sella paused and then responded that he remembered playing there in hail, sun, rain and snow. Not so bad until he pointed out that this was all in the one game. Such a myriad and contrast of emotions and fortunes could be akin to what Jon Goode felt like on Saturday. For Jon came on as a sub, lost his jersey in one ruck, saw another Saracens player apply his own interpretation of the three-strikes-and-you’re-out law by applying said number of punches to his face (the Saracens player receiving a yellow card for his efforts), score the score equaling try before being asked to leave the pitch himself for what looked a legitimate play. Interpretation may be revenge of the intellectual upon art according to the novelist Susan Sontag but interpretation is undesirable on the rugby pitch particularly regarding the rules.
Peter Weingarden requested the players to turn up an hour beforehand and most duly complied. Of course that some individuals turned up an hour beforehand in the wrong location is beside the point: it's the thought that counts surely?
The first half was almost a game of two halves in itself. Having started off strongly through the cohesive work of the pack and the strong ball carrying of Frank Orlando, Charles Blott and Weingarden Bay Street had Saracens on the back foot. Prince who was playing flanker again this week claimed a lineout from which the ball reached Dave Manii at full back. Manii made an excellent break and from the resultant ruck Pummell rumbled forward to score the first ever real-time slow motion try! It was a lovely score though and no more than Pummell's recent form deserved. 0-5 to the Pigs.
Bay Street continued to press with the backs impressing. Liam Boyle led the attack with Chase Robinson and Mike Orlando again forming an effective midfield partnership. One piece of skill was beautiful to observe. Peter Crozier running with ball in hand dummied a kick ahead before pulling the ball back in after his winger committed to blocking his 'kick'. Crozier then rounded him and made another 20 meters up field. Everything looked rosy at this point but .
After such a good start Saracens came back into the game and dominated the second 20 of the half scoring two tries through their pack to lead 12-5 at the break. Although not as far behind as last week it was again a case of déjà vu for the 2s.
The second half saw a more controlled display with the gung ho, give-it-a-lash tactics of the first half shelved. It also saw the introduction of Mike Davy making his debut replacing the skilful Fraser Watson at 9. With one Celt replacing another Davy played like an extra flanker and caused havoc for his opposite number. Mike also caused havoc for the referee who felt it would be remiss of her not to remind him of the rules on several occasions…
Much of the second half was played between both 22s. A relieving kick here, a lost lineout there giving the momentum back to the opposition allied to turnover ball and lack of cohesion ruined many an opportunity.
10 minutes from time a series of pick up and drives from the pack saw good ground being made. When the ball was spun wide subsequent drives from Robinson, Blott and Davy took the ball right up to the line before Goode picked up and crashed over for the try. Prince kicked a difficult conversion to level the scores at 12 apiece.
With both sides eager for the win the Pigs were guilty of forcing play when calmer heads were necessary. Bay Street at this point had lost Pummell to a knee injury and Goode to the referee’s interpretation of rucking but even down to 14 players had enough chances to win the game. Despite these opportunities it became increasingly frustrating to watch particularly when the Pigs worked themselves into a good position: it was akin to a parent watching their children squander the Trust Fund they worked so hard to establish. White line fever and eagerness to get hands on the ball rather than doing the necessary supporting spadework added to the frustration and the winning score, any score, failed to materialize. The referee blew for full time to signal a 12-12 tie.
Not the worst result in the world but not the best either although it shows the clubs strength and growth that the 2s went undefeated against Saracens this season compared to the corresponding fixtures a year ago and have only lost one game this season.
Friday night sees the 2s take on their Mississauga counterparts. If the lessons have been heeded from Saturday there is enough ability and skill in the squad to record a win. But only if those lessons have been heeded gentlemen.
St. John O'Connor
Lazarus, Houdini and Rocky All Rolled Into One: Bay Street RFC II 31 - Saracens II 24
Match Recap (June 8th, 2013)
Lazarus, Houdini, Rocky, a game of two halves, fail to prepare; prepare to fail. Any and all of these could apply to the 2s game on Saturday against Saracens. Following the shellacking received at the hands of the Nomads the previous week it seemed for a time as though another defeat for the 2s may have been on the cards.
The game was barely underway when Alex Koppel, who had such a strong game at 15 the previous week, was forced to leave the field with a separated shoulder after shipping a heavy defensive tackle. This lead to Jordan Partridge entering the fray. Rugby traditionally is a game for men of all shapes and sizes although sadly in recent years professional, representative and international teams have been regurgitating drones of muscle bound crashers and bashers in the backs with poor skills and scarcely a rugby cell between their ears. How refreshing then to see the silky, jinking running and intelligent play of two of the slighter players on the team in the form of Taylor Nash and Partridge tearing the Saracens defense to shreds time after time and leaving them clutching thin air.
Not that these two did it all themselves. After a forgettable first half littered by errors, fragmented play and miscommunication the Pigs were left trailing 7-17 at half time. Frank Orlando touched down from close range for the only highlight of the half. Peter Weingarden captaining the side pointed out the areas for improvement and with Liam Boyle on the same side as opposed to refereeing him Weingarden was safe in the knowledge that he was not going to get sin binned as he lead the revival in the second half.
There was an intelligence the way the Pigs played in the second 40. Boyle, making his season debut at 10, had a tremendous game directing play and Fraser Watson’s influence at 9 continues to grow each week. With Taylor Nash and Chase Robinson shoring up the midfield and proving handfuls in attack the pack had go forward ball to work with. Allied to this Dave Manii and Mike Orlando were making a nuisance of themselves popping up all over the backline to create an extra man and taking ball on.
Prince reinvented himself and went from a 10 to a 6 in the space of a week: no, that is not a reflection of Prince’s play but rather his change of position and quite a success it was too. Prince provided another option in the lineout, tackled all day and gave good support to his backs. Fashion looks to the past for its inspiration and the last flanker this writer can recall kicking penalties was John Taylor of Wales back in the 1970’s. Prince is obviously setting a new trend.
The other half of the Orlando family, Frank, had a smashing game and by that I mean Frank literally smashed everything in his way. The sea change in attitude was encapsulated by Frank when, defending a tapped penalty in the 22, announced that he would be the Pig to meet the Saracen No. 8 running full steam ahead and stopped him dead. A sore shoulder is a small price to pay for inspiring a team.
The fight back continued following a Micah Simmons turnover which saw the ball transfer from Manii’s hands to the flying Partridge who stepped his winger and sprinted past the fullback and covering flanker to score under the posts for a converted try by Prince. Frank Orlando who, at this point, was dressed like Tarzan on the sideline screamed his approval and not even the XL shorts on Jordan flapping like a parachute slowing down a returning space shuttle when he was in full flight could help the opposition. 14-17 to Saracens. Saracens scored again to bring the score to 14-24 but the Pigs did not give up.
Charles Blott who is having an excellent start to the season being particularly prominent in the loose was replaced by the always efficient James Manicom. With Manicom locking the scrum the ball was whisked away by Watson and the combination again of Manii feeding Partridge paid dividends. From the resultant ruck Simmons picked up and keeping his body position low touched down to score.
The Pigs began to run riot with the mobility of Pummel, Ken Ting and Richie White complimenting the back rows work. Encouraged by Weingarden, Watson probed, Boyle and Robinson sucked in defenders to create space for those outside and the Pigs were seeing dividends for their efforts. From a ruck in the Saracens 22 Robinson sucked in 2 defenders to release Doug Henderson who took 2 of the backrow and the scrumhalf over the line with him to score his first senior try. All those beautiful women Doug tells us about but none of us have actually met or seen were undoubtedly as proud as he was of popping his (rugby) cherry. Prince added the additional points.
Superman may use one to get changed in but Taylor Nash could side step an opponent in a phone box without being touched. With the game entering its final few minutes and the game tied at 24 apiece Simmons won a line out on Saracens 10 meter line. The ball was whipped to Nash who made the Saracens defense look about as secure as private chats in the age of Prism to touch down under the posts without a hand being laid on him. The conversion a mere formality the Pigs went ahead 31-24. Saracens were desperate to score but calm experienced heads prevailed and the Pigs try line was not threatened. The whistle went and Rocky prevailed, Houdini escaped and Lazarus awoke.
So two out of three wins so far for the 2s. With the return match this Saturday three out of four sounds a lot better. Over to you gents.
Deserves Got Nothing to Do With It!: Bay Street RFC I 5 - Saracens I 15
Match Recap (June 8th, 2013)
Poor old King Rob may well have been talking about Saturday’s game when informing his mother that although he was winning the battles he was losing the war. His untimely demise at the hands of the Frey’s was the perfect simile for the 1sts winning streak ending. One could look at the plethora of players absent or the referees interpretation of the ruck, offside rule, tackle area or just about any other area he oversaw but really the loss came down to poor execution and decision making under pressure. That this was combined with too many individual acts and not enough team play was the sad order of the day.
This is not to denigrate any player or position for the level of commitment again could not be found wanting but a lack of cohesiveness proved costly at vital times. 70% possession for the Pigs combined with the same gain in territory yet three breakaway tries were given up against the run of play. There is a famous saying by the antipodean ex-rugby player and analyst, Brent Pope, that one should never give a sucker an even chance. For all Saracens bravery in defense and commendable work in the loose that is exactly what transpired.
The game started as it meant to continue: Bay Street pressing and probing through its pack and backs marshaled by Andy Tyler at 9. Andy has yet to have a bad game for the Pigs and even in defeat was impressive in his all round play: crisp, swift passing, sniping runs and harassing his opposite number at every opportunity. Saracens as was their wont defended stoutly and relieved pressure through their 10’s boot.
Saturday saw the return of Jon ‘Mo’ Mosales looking fit, fresh and tanned from his time down under. Perhaps the water density south of the equator is thicker than north of it as it looked like Mo had seriously bulked up during his time away and this strength was reflected in his play when returning kicks and supporting runs. If Mo had a good game on one wing than it was a case of anything you can do I can do better with Colin Alexander having an excellent game on the other. The scrum was outstanding with Dave Tait treating his tighthead like a bull with a red cape caught betwixt his horns. After one punishing scrum too many the prop in question, to quote George Herbert. ‘struck the board and cry’d, No more. I will abroad.’
The deadlock was broken three quarters through the first half when after a scrum and resultant ruck the ball was spun wide via Bucky and Danner to the ever solid Tom Kimball who drew his man and released Alexander between the 10 meter line and 22. Standing his opposite number up Alexander beautifully rounded him before holding off two Saracens to powerfully score in the corner. The difficult conversion was narrowly missed.
This was no more than Bay Street deserved and it should have been the building block for a fourth league win. Instead, the championship minutes, which were mentioned before when teams need to keep their concentration levels high sagged as Saracens scored a try against the run of play when their winger followed up and collected a favorable bounce to score right on the whistle of half-time.
The second half was much the same as the first but an ominous sign was the departure of another influential figure when a frustrated Philippe left the field through a recurrence of his calf injury. Mike Wade replaced Philippe to have a good game in the scrum and the loose. However the loss of our specialist hooker meant the lineout suffered and thus an important foothold was lost. In this period the second Saracens unconverted try was scored bringing the score to 5-10.
Although the Pigs attacked and Saracens defense stretched it did not breach. On the back foot, scrambling from one ruck to another and within their half for much of the game one wonders how the referee could award the majority of penalties to the defending team rather than the side in control of the ball? Whilst a broken clock is right at least twice each day and the law of averages says the referee must have been right some of the time one would fear he erred more than not. That aside Saracens defended from 1 to 15 like their lives depended on it and have to be admired for their resilience. Conversely every time the Pigs were in promising positions a knock-on, dropped pass or the whistle went for another penalty.
With the last minute of the game and the Pigs pressing for an equalizing try play broke down and Saracens incredibly scored their third try against the run of play thus even depriving the Pigs of a losing bonus point. It was heart breaking to watch and crushing for those involved but sometimes sport is cruel and as Clint Eastwood’s character William Munny observed before pulling the trigger of his loaded shotgun whilst standing over a wounded Little Bill played by Gene Hackman, “Deserves got nothing to do with it”. What Saturday did prove though is that with players out and rhythms disrupted it is vital all players get to the venue ready an hour beforehand to run through plays and tactics.
So congratulations to Saracens on their victory. It is no bad thing to lose a game every so often as it focuses the mind and collective spirit. What better way to avenge the first league defeat of the season by going to Markham to score a bonus point win? It is something this team is eminently capable of and I for one am a believer. Who’s with me?
A Terrible Beauty is Born: Nomads I 15 - Bay Street RFC I 22
Match Recap (June 1st, 2013)
The Nobel Prize winning poet W.B. Yeats penned one of the most iconic phrases in his poem ‘Easter, 1916’ when working through his feelings about the revolutionary movement, he wrote "a terrible beauty is born". The poem deals with Yeat’s torn emotions regarding the events of the Easter Rising staged in Ireland against British rule on Easter Monday 1916. The uprising was unsuccessful, and most of the leaders involved were executed for treason. Yeats was prescient though in realizing that the executions would have the opposite effect than intended in that it galvanized a nation eventually leading to its independence. Reading that back that is both a paragraph one never thought they would read in a rugby match report and also one sure to exclude the author from any more invitations to the Goode household!
That quote though encapsulates Saturday’s performance when Bay Street defeated the Nomads 15-22 in a highly attritional and absorbing game. In the post-match team huddle no words were spoken: Philippe simply looked his charges in the eye and applauded for this was a performance of sheer guts, determination and bravery.
Having lost both the 2nd and 3rd team matches the considerable Nomad home support was giddy and vociferous in cheering their players onto the field. From the start though the Pigs were in no party mood with each player eager to make their mark and, for those involved, wanting to atone for last season’s singular loss.
Although the Nomads were well drilled the pack repelled every challenge. With the Nomads unable to dominate up front the Pigs superior skills particularly in the backs began to show. Dave Burton’s kicking from hand was top notch frequently making big yards and his eye for a break unparalleled. So much so that one of the Nomads officials was making enquiries as to who the Pigs 10 was and his background. Perchance a big money transfer is on the cards?!
With a front row of Dave Tait, Peter Shippen and Mick Schaer providing a solid scrum the re-jigged back row of Trevor Anderson, Tom Clancy and Tom Kimball had ferocious games. Ian Davies and Jamie Le Huquet in the second row hit rucks, ran supporting lines and tackled themselves into the ground. The pack as a whole just continues to impress with their work rate.
The game was still 0-0 well into the first half when a Dave Burton break brought a penalty which Burton converted. With the Pigs now turning their superior play into points so their foothold in the game increased. Saturday saw the midfield combination of Zach Warrick and Peter Danner together for the first time and my word what a combination. In Games of Thrones parlance if Zach is the Hound then Danner is his bigger brother, the Mountain. Thighs like tree-trunks, chests one could do a sponsored walk over allied to low centers of gravity this gruesome twosome made life hellish for their opposition with two to three men needed to take them down each time they had the ball. Towards the end of the half one such break saw the ball in Morgan’s hands who broke though and acrobatically touched down whilst being tackled. Burton’s conversion made it 0-10 to the Pigs at half time.
Championship minutes are referred to as the 5 minutes before and after half time where teams up their performances and concentration levels are paramount. Whilst the Pigs took advantage of this before the half they were guilty of switching off immediately after the break with Nomads quickly adding an unconverted try to make it 5-10.
There was a distinct correlation between the noise from the home support and the Pigs play; as Bay Street continued to dominate so the (good natured) shouting and cheering descended into mutterings and disquiet. Their mood was lowered even more when after a scrum Anderson fed his back-row colleague Tom Clancy who dummied before breaking through the 10s tackle to score his third try in as many games, Burton’s conversion making it 5-17. A Nomads rally following this made it 10-17.
Dave Burton almost scored an individual try of his own narrowly losing a footrace to the line and injuring himself in the process. It says a lot of his bravery though that Dave stayed on (despite a suspected dislocated shoulder) and set up the third try before succumbing to the inevitable. It is said that class is permanent and form temporary and when Morgan had to leave the field injured the beautifully balanced running of Jess Landry was introduced and gave the saying credence. Shortly after his introduction a flowing backline move gave Landry the space to beat his man before diving into the corner to extend the lead to 10-22 with less than 10 minutes left.
With Burton off Todd Cornford moved from 15 to 10 and directed play with Taylor Nash coming onto the wing. Neither move weakened the team and Cornford’s great rugby brain continually relieved pressure. With the Pigs down to 14 men following a yellow card the Nomads scored their third try to bring it to 15-22 but the Pigs refused to yield. The shouting and encouragement that had been coming from the Nomads was now supplanted by the Pigs support and when the referee informed the Nomads that the scrum was to be the final play of the game the Pigs upped it again. Try as the Nomads might they could not breach the Pigs defense and when a penalty was awarded the game was over. Cornford stroked the ball into touch to confirm a third league win.
So to the victors the spoils but thoughts must also go to those who went off injured: Burton, Anderson, Morgan and wish them a speedy and as pain free as possible a recovery. The 2013 Pigs are in no mood to relinquish their title: indeed a terrible beauty is born.
Superheroes & Headaches: Bay Street RFC II 38 - Belleville Bulldogs II 12
Match Recap (May 25th, 2013)
A litmus tests of how developed a society is surrounds the care of its poor and vulnerable. Similarly the health of a rugby club can be gauged by its strength in depth. By this measure one can only deliver the prognosis that Bay Street RFC is currently in rude health. Next weekend will see the club field three senior teams for the first time; a remarkable feat for one so young and bucks the trend where many other clubs are constricting. Further credence to this assertion is not only the results but the performance from Saturday’s games which saw both the first and second teams record impressive wins against the Belleville Bulldogs.
Seconds teams in every league, every language and every club the world over can be the most difficult to manage or captain. There can be discord with some players believing they should be playing at a higher level, coaches making late changes to benefit the first team at the expense of the seconds and an unevenness in ability between players that can play at that higher level and those that simply can’t. All this falls on the shoulders of the captain and coach who need the skills of a diplomat, the understanding of a psychologist and the tactics of a chess master to sail a steady ship and keep morale high. This was the seconds first game of the season and was broached a little like sea trials: in theory it should be fine but until that first wave hits or the engine is opened up there is always that nagging doubt at the back of one’s mind.
Belleville is a tough team; hard but fair, uncompromising and dogged in their approach. Sometimes teams just have to front up in the forwards and the backs will be the difference. Bay Street certainly fronted up. Marshalled by Peter Weingarden in the back row and Philppe Rouanet at hooker not a single backward step was taken. Hard yards were worked for and made with Fraser Watson at 9 and Alex Prince at 10 controlling the game. Prince opened the scoring from a scything run 10 meters inside his half to score under the posts. Remarkably Prince scored an almost identical try in the second half. Belleville obviously haven’t heard of the phrase ‘once bitten, twice shy’.
Greg Hall was immense on Saturday. Greg Hall is immense anyway but on Saturday Greg was spectacularly good. Against Cayman Greg was akin to Godzilla rampaging through Tokyo. Against Belleville Greg played like Godzilla had just been woken up with a particularly nasty hangover and was determined someone, or preferably everyone, would pay. Oncoming players were stopped dead by a thunderous tackle, would be tacklers were swatted like flies and it typically took 3, 4 or 5 plays to take Greg down. In the Hanna-Barbera cartoon Godzilla had a cousin, Godzooky. Against Belleville, Greg’s Godzilla was complimented perfectly by Micah Simmons Godzooky who had a great game at 7 always in support and linking play. Micah also helped himself to one of the Pigs six tries on the day. Making up a balanced back row was Peter Weingarden who had a superb game at 8 scoring 2 tries from supporting runs. Peter’s captaincy was crucial to the success of the team; always encouraging, leading from the front and foraging for the ball on the deck. After one forage too many the referee, Liam Boyle, sent Peter to the naughty step to think about his actions for 10 minutes. In his absence the pack as a whole just dug in deeper and refused to be cowed.
Saturday saw some excellent performances from those making their Pigs debut. Taylor Nash at 13 had a try scoring debut showing pace to burn and a fleetness of foot that could yet see him replace Michael Flatley on stage. Alex Koppel, fondly known as Jeff, had a scintillating cameo coming on in the second half and causing immense problems for the Belleville backline. Jeff is just what the Pigs need….another lawyer! Jason Lemar also made his Pigs debut at prop. The front row rarely gets the limelight but the work carried out by Messrs Blott, Rouanet, Pummell along with their replacements Manicom, Ting and the aforementioned Lemar ensured that the back row and backs continued to start on the front foot. We doff our hats gentlemen.
Not to be outdone some of the more established players also left their mark. The Orlando brothers, Mike in the centre and Frank in the second row had big games with the former rock solid in defense and the latter working tirelessly up front and spoiling a lot of the opposition ball. Ian Davies versatility and athleticism allied to his hunger for work was a big asset. Pete Crozier was unlucky to have a try ruled out for a foot in touch but gave his opposite number a torrid time whilst Dave Manii pulled off a try saving flying tackle that was Superman-like in its execution. Cementing it all was Todd Cornford at 15 who is simply consistency and intelligence personified on a rugby pitch.
The final score of 38-12 with 6 tries notched up was a tremendous start for the seconds. With players to come back into the selection fold ahead of the Nomads next weekend on top of the performances already given it will no doubt provide considerable, but welcome, headaches for the coaching team in the coming days. The Pigs are in rude health indeed.
St. John O'Connor
Two for Two: Bay Street RFC I 26 - Belleville Bulldogs I 15
Match Recap (May 25th, 2013)
Bay Street first team defeated Belleville 26-15 on Saturday recording not only their second league win but also their second bonus point in succession. Belleville are tough opponents and there is a genuine respect between the teams but the way the Pigs went about their business showed a steely edge and glimpses of how good this side could be. This was not the free-flowing, interchanging between backs and forwards and fluid running that characterized the Mississauga win but rather the embodiment of no nonsense rugby with the pack working as a formidable unit backed up by pragmatic back play.
Back after injury and back at 15 was Andrew Buxton-Foreman and as imperious as ever. A calming influence, if Bucky were any more laid back he’d be horizontal. Solid under a high ball or in defense, a gazelle with the ball in hand and blessed with a wonderful awareness of time, space and those around him Bucky dealt with everything that came his way and was instrumental in attack. Bucky also showed he is human after all by missing the opening penalty after an opposition transgression but more of that later. Of course this being Bucky normal service was resumed with three of the four tries being converted. Belleville responded as anticipated but with the back row marauding magnificently it was difficult for the opposition to make any ground although they did open the score through a penalty.
The front five produced a monumental display and had their opposition in all kinds of trouble at scrum time one of which lead to the opening try by Zach Warrick who, again, had a game as big as his thighs. Picking up from the base of a solid scrum Tom Kimball drew in both the opposition scrumhalf and flanker before releasing the ball to Dave Burton to beautifully feed Warrick. All Zach had to do was split the centers, out-pace the covering back row and wingers before neatly side footing the full back to score under the posts. Easy eh?
Times and tides can change quickly and within a few short minutes Belleville had their best period of the game scoring their solitary a try from a maul to take an 8-7 lead. Lesser teams may have wilted but not this one. Along with the other certainties in life of taxes and student nurses the following can be added: if Bucky lost $20 he'd find $50 and Trevor Anderson is a Grade A student. Let me explain...
All youngsters playing the game are taught to always follow up penalty kicks as the ball is still live if the kick is missed and it remains on the pitch. Most don't chase or do so half heartedly. Bucky missed a penalty kick but with the kick falling short and the ball bouncing in play there was Trevor following it up and reacting first to score under the posts. An assist for Bucky and a case indeed of a sows ear turned into a silk purse. It was another dynamic performance from Trevor who must be one of the most athletic forwards let alone hookers in the league.
12-8 up and the defense was in fine form with Spencer Morgan and Mark Johnson in particular making some crunching tackles out wide to stem Belleville attacks. Ian Davies who played most of the seconds game had a big impact when replacing Alistair Clark who left the field having taken a bang to the head after another typical full-on tackle.
Whether it is number 4, 5, 6 or 7 on his back Will Simpson plays the same way: smashing people in tackles and creating havoc with ball in hand. From a Belleville lineout, disrupted by Kimball, Will reacted quickest to pick up the falling ball and break through flailing arms. This left the Belleville winger facing his worst nightmare; the only object, stationary at that, standing between a rampaging Simpson and the try line. Most famously uttered at the Battle of Verdun in WW1 by French General Robert Nivelle ‘they shall not pass’ was replaced by the phrase ‘discretion being the better part of valor’ leaving Will to score in the corner. A wise choice Sir.
A simply beautiful piece of planned skill led to the third try. Facing right Dave Burton executed a banana kick bamboozling their left winger with the ball going into touch deep in Belleville’s 22. Following a lineout infringement Belleville’s scrum was shunted back and with Andy Tyler putting his opposite number under so much pressure the ball was fumbled leaving Tom Clancy to pick up from the ruck, break through the 10’s attempted tackle, round the full back and score. Two tries in two weeks is no mean return for a back-row player and was no more than Tom’s robust performance deserved.
Alex Koppell came on in the second half following his cameo for the seconds and proved it was no fluke with some lovely lines of running and distribution skills both from the hand and foot.
One piece of play demonstrated the belligerence of the Pigs and their sheer refusal to give an inch. Very late into the second half, the game all but over, with the Pigs up 26-7 Dave Tait chased down Belleville’s winger and produced an ankle-tap of the highest order to prevent a breakaway try. With the back row in pursuit to snaffle up the ensuing loose ball it demonstrated the togetherness and continued development of the team. Belleville scored a consolation score with the last play of the game which they deserved but the game was over as a contest at that point.
Ability, intelligence and sheer hard work are becoming the hall marks of this team. There are strong characters, there are leaders, there are decision makers, there are workers all pulling in the same direction. In short: there are Pigs. Next week is the third league match against the Nomads which should be motivation enough to atone for last season’s singular loss.
Finally it says a lot of a person’s character that their main focus is others. Less than 24 hours after his operation and despite being in pain Jordan Laurin’s main focus on Saturday was to get updates as to how the 1sts and 2nds were doing. Saturday was the first home season opener that has Jordan missed in 7 seasons. Not only were Jordan’s thoughts with his fellow Pigs but he also wired money to buy drinks afterwards which were duly quaffed at Dave Tait’s abode. Jordan, you are all in our thoughts. A safe and speedy recovery and we look forward to having beers with you soon.
St. John O'Connor
Bay Street RFC 48 - Mississauga Blues 14
Match Recap (May 11th, 2013)
Whilst Bay Street's sixth season got underway with a competitive International match against a Cayman Islands Select XV on April 27th, Saturday marked the official kickoff of the Pigs 2013
TRU campaign. As 2012 TRU A Champions Bay Street RFC has the most to lose and is the club to beat. The competition, Mississauga Blues, came prepared and proved to be a well-drilled and fit side.
The Blues share a similar chronological history to Bay St, are steadily improving as a rugby club and have demonstrated that they will be formidable adversaries in the future.
A lot of work was done in the lead up to the game not least by Tom Kimball and Dave Burton in selflessly attending several fashion shows before agreeing on the design of the new seasons kit. Versace, Gucci or Chanel wouldn’t have a look in with these gentlemen as the Pigs took the field in sartorial pink, green and white hoops for their first league game of the season. Lots of work had been done in the offseason be it in recruitment, practices or during the Cayman tour. It would be fair comment to say Saturday saw the results of all three.
One would not be surprised if the Blues came off the pitch gently singing the lyrics to ‘It’s a hard knock life’ from the musical Annie. Some of the hits were truly wincing to witness particularly those doled out by Tom Clancy and Alistair Clark in the back row, both making their Bay Street bows. The pair were like exocet missiles around the park demolishing anything in Blue unfortunate enough to enter their radar. Ably backed up by the usual heavy hitters of Will Simpson, Kimball, Trevor Anderson and Greg Hall and it really was a case of a defense being the best form of offence.
Being the first game of the season players on both sides are eager to make an impression and see the fruits of their preseason endeavors. One such effort saw the Blues second row taking the ball up in the first few minutes before meeting the veritable wall that is Anderson and Simpson smashing him from the front whilst Clancy launched himself from the side for good measure with all three Pigs converging at once. This was not irresistible force meeting immovable object….. Enthusiasm curbed it was left up to other volunteers to try their luck with much the same result regardless of which Pigs they encountered. Alistair Clark had a simply outstanding game at 7 and was an incredible link between backs and forwards not to mention bagging a try himself.
Not that the Pigs were living off scraps. Bay Street were understandably rusty in the first few minutes of the game and quickly fell behind to an early penalty from the unerring boot of the Blues outhalf. Given the number of penalties conceded (16 we think) there was plenty of opportunities for the Blues to practice their place kicking. Falling behind seemed to spark the Pigs into life and from there both the attitude and application was raised resulting in Spencer Morgan, playing at 13, brushing aside his marker following a sweeping move involving both backs and forwards to touch down for the Pigs first league score of the season. This was the first of Spencer’s two tries in the game.
The Pittsburgh Steelers had the legendary Jerome Bettis to drive over the opposition and make hard yards. Bay Street seems to have found their own ‘Bus’ in Zach Warrick who matched Spencer’s two tries. If Spencer is a rapier Zach is the equivalent of the Hound wielding his long sword in Game of Thrones and bludgeoned his way through the opposition. Allied to good hands and nice lines of running this was an impressive debut. With the wonderfully talented Andy Tyler and Burton at half back running the show the backline looked dangerous every time they got the ball. Even when the Blues tried to gain ground by kicking the ball deep the solid back three of Chase Robinson, Todd Cornford and Alex Koppel simply ran it back with aplomb. It was not unusual to see two to three players trying to take them down.
Ever the exhibitionist and with an eye for the camera Dave Burton scored an outrageous solo try by which one means outrageous in ignoring the four man overlap outside him. It was a glorious run though from the 10 yard line which left defenders flailing and grasping thin air. Perhaps the most outrageous aspect though was Dave missing his own conversion from in front of the posts! Mississauga had their best period of play following this and scored a breakaway try from their own 22 when a slip in the centre saw their fullback ghost through and go all the way for a deserved score. There is nothing like a lawyer to extinguish hope though and enter stage left and right on cue arrived the blue boots and matching scrum cap of Tom Kimball to do just that. Taking a pop pass from Andy Tyler, following a break from Clark, Kimball took off from the half way line to sprint clear of the cover and score unopposed under the posts.
Whilst personnel changes were made in the second half it produced the same efforts and results. Fraser Watson coming in at scrum half capped a fine debut by breaking from his own line, when everyone expected a relieving kick, to set up a superb move involving forwards and backs resulting in Morgan’s second try scored in the opposite corner from where it began. Ian Davies replaced Jamie LeHuquet, who gave a tireless performance in taking ball up, and relished every hit he made. The biggest cheer of the day was reserved for Dave Tait’s interception and ensuing sprint upfield before being cruelly stopped by four of the opposition in dragging Dave down after 20 meters gained.
Saturday was a day for the backs and back row but that should not ignore the effort put in by the front five and their replacements in providing the platform to do so. Hard effort and application was the byword from these Pigs and those who profited from it should (and do) realize they are standing on the shoulders of giants.
The final try was provided by none other than Mark Johnson who broke several tackles before touching down. Lead by the Master of Ceremonies, Peter Shippen, this brought about a chorus of the Bay Street anthem, Mark Johnson, (sung to the tune of Silent Night) which proved to be such a hit in Cayman and no doubt will be sung with gusto throughout the upcoming season, both on and off the pitch. Perhaps a Christmas charity version beckons?
So, first game over and first win with several markers laid down. This was not the finished article, and there is work to be done, but it was a hell of a start. Gentlemen, you have set the bar: the rest is up to you.
St. John O'Connor and Alex Austin
ORU Fall Cup
Match Recap (October 21, 2012)
My fellow Pigs.
What a weekend it was! We had heard the Saracens had made significant commitment to the Fall Cup and were not only ready to beat us, but essentially put us on a spit for a ‘pig roast.’ While it was a tough battle and they threw everything at us they could, for the third time this year (+1 win by default) we emerged victorious against the Saracens by a score of 14-5.
The game started out in fine fashion with a strong forward play and multiple phases leading to a tremendous try by Peter Shippen. Now I believe it’s important to pause here and appreciate the finesse and youthful speed; as well as the experience of a wily vet that would allow our tight head prop into open space with only one man to beat… think of that for a moment. Like poetry in motion.
The second half of the game started with the Pigs ready to do more damage. And damage was dealt with Dave Burton showing his own brand of flair (likely inspired by aforementioned tighthead) to chip over an attacking line of the Saracens, take a beauty bounce and dealing a vicious, injury causing blow to the full-back trying to compete with him. As 14 players shook their head in disbelief at the amazing try, the Saracens hung theirs.
Tremendous defence is what led to the victory. For 60 of 80 minutes we defended our line, with aggressive tackling and perhaps 20 penalties against us. The only points the Saracens could muster came with the Pigs down a man.
It was a cold and sometimes rainy day at Fletcher’s, but the Pigs came to play. Special thanks to numbers 16-21 – there would be no wins this season without the depth of this club. A significant fan base led by players and friends and family were also present! Another very special thank you to relative newcomer St. John (they say ‘Sinjin’) O’Connor for appointing himself club photographer after an injury shortened season – another great example of high quality Pigginess.