Swords vs North-Halton Highlanders; Arrows and Pikes vs Barrie RFC
The TRU League opening round saw the SWORDS team at home to face North-Halton Highlanders, and they took the game to the visitors from the get-go. The Crusaders coaches were impressed with what they saw – the team inter-play was well-executed – showing some great cohesion, in-spite of it being the first game of the season. The team ran in 9-tries, to achieve a final score of 59pts to nil. But there is still lots to work-on. Tackling needs to improve as does our fitness and support play, before we’ll be ready to take on Mississauga Blues on July-8 – in our next scheduled league game. Flanker for the Swords, Josh Hamilton, took a knock in the game, that resulted in some neck-pain, and, as a precaution, was taken to the hospital – but we are pleased to be informed that he is doing quite well. He underwent the appropriate checks and was released immediately. With appropriate rest and a gradual re-introduction back into training – he should be back in the team soon.
After an early-morning charge north on Hwy-400, the Arrows faced a big set of forwards in Barrie – and the initial exchanges showed that we were not going to dominate in the physical battle up-front. Crusaders were starved of possession, relying on turnover-ball from pressure in the mid-field. When the Arrows did get some decent ball – they were able to exploit space out wide and ran in some sublimely worked tries. As the game progressed – The big Barrie pack started to slow, and more opportunities arose – which the Arrows boys finished with aplomb. Final score 43 to 7 to Crusaders. Again – lots to work-on over the next few training sessions.
In the PIKES game (vs Barrie-2) the Crusaders team comprised of a mix of some experienced players, but also some “newbies” (several playing in their first ever competitive rugby game) – who rose to the challenge, in what was a closely contested battle – with the lead changing hands 4-times. A tremendous tackling and rucking display was given by Brayden Robinson – the Crusaders Hooker – who felled many of the giant Barrie forwards in the loose. Dave Siddall took on some great crash-ball, gaining the “hard-yards” for his team, and Daniel Sanders looked a “natural” – leading the play from the scrum-half position, and earning the Man-of-the-match award. Final score was 29-19 in-favour of the hosts – after two very late-on tries by the Barrie team to steal-back the lead just ahead of the final whistle. The PIKES should not be too disappointed – it had been a great “ding-dong” match, and we (the coaches) saw lots of positives during the game.
So overall, a strong performance by all our teams – yes, we have stuff to work on – but the boys should be proud of the great rugby display that they put-on, in the league’s opening encounters. More great rugby to come!!
By Graham Bridges, U15/U16 Coach