Fletcher’s Fields in Markham hosted the Rugby-Ontario Junior cup finals day on Sunday Aug-28. By virtue of winning the Toronto-Rugby-Union Cup on Friday evening, the U15/16 ARROWS team had qualified – along with the Winners of the Niagara (NRU), Eastern and Western regions of the province.
Game-1 against Sarnia saw Crusaders score in the opening minute – but the heat and humidity seemed to slow the CRU team to a “gentle-stroll” – and the Sarnia Team hit back to level the score. The Crusaders upped their tempo after the half, and played much more determined rugby – able to cross the Sarnia line a few times for a final score of 29-7, and secure a place in the gold-medal game, vs. Brantford-Harlequins, who had defeated Kingston in their initial round.
The Final was a very tough game. The sizeable Brantford forwards using their momentum to charge crash-ball at the Crusaders defenders – but the tackling held firm. Crusaders stuck to their game plan, with the loose-forwards making sniping-attacks at the defensive line, then fast recycling allowed the smooth-handling-backs to exploit space out-wide. Although a very fast defensive line from the Harlequins, snubbed-out many Crusader’s attacking plays. Not all plain sailing by any-means – with the score at half of 10-7 to Crusaders. This meant CRU could not relax the tempo for the second-half. The surging back-and forth play had the large (and vocal) crowd on tenter-hooks. Crusaders managed a score in the corner with only a few minutes to go, but Brantford hit back immediately, making the last few moments very tense indeed. A scrum awarded at half gave the Crusaders the “final” possession, and a sensible boot to the stands saw the final whistle blow, and secure the victory, by 15-12, for Crusaders – phew!
Prior to kick-off, the coaches had asked the players to give their “all” – They did, and did it superbly – again a brilliant display of “Team“ rugby. Finals are never easy – and the boys knew they’d had a “tough” game. But the knocks and fatigue ebbed away, as they enjoyed the medal ceremony and seeing “Captain-Morgan” hoisting the trophy. Great job boys! You make us very proud.