The Blues didn’t quite put the seal on their fourth consecutive CRC title on Thursday, but they’ve made it awful tough for the Wolf Pack to catch them now. A second convicing win in as many games against the British Columbia side has all but wrapped it up for another year. It will take some effort by the Prairie side to dislodge them on Sunday.
This game was difficult to watch, not at all for the rugby on show, but because of technical issues from the Guelph University production crew. For most of the first half the images were choppy and there was no audio, making it a struggle to follow the action away from the breakdown. It’s a shame because the camera work was good and the picture looked crystal clear.
Thankfully the second half was a bit better, and between a few video spasms you could actually see some of the play. It didn’t matter much though. This was a game won and lost in the forwards, where the Blues were once again clearly superior to the Bears at every turn, every collision.
The scrum was the big decider. Young prospect Ryan March lined up at tighthead for his first CRC action of the year and he must be wishing he stayed home after taking an absolute stuffing from Tom Dolezel. Derek Daypuck’s first penalty came from a scrum penalty that should have been a penalty try under the sticks. It made little difference, as Dolezel got in on the scoring act with hard earned try and then went right back to his business, driving the Bears off their own ball.
Ray Barkwill and Doug Wooldridge were enjoying themselves as well, and poor Micha Govorchin cried off barely a quarter of the way in with an undisclosed injury. It might well have been heartbreak, but it was nice to see Ryan Hamilton making his return to the rugby field after a year out with injury. With a solid run of injury-free rugby in the BC league he might yet have a shot at the World Cup. Fingers crossed.
Veteran workhorse Scott Dunham had a busy first half making big tackles, bossing the lineout, and making a nuisance of himself at the breakdown. At 34 he’s still one of the fittest players on the park. Daypuck is a similar sort in the midfield, and two years older. Not as fleet as foot to be sure, but still as committed to the cause as ever.
The Bears just couldn’t compete up front, it’s as simple as that. They were blown off the ball at the breakdown, and had very little quick ball to work with. Sean White scored another try for BC, but that’s not necessarily a good thing when your outside backs aren’t seeing any ball. Once again the service of Jorden Sandover-Best was far quicker and got the Bears moving forwards almost immediately. Kieran Crowley was in reportedly in attendance and hopefully will have noticed the same. He couldn’t have missed the three big lumps in the Ontario front row. Check, check, check.
ONTARIO BLUES 29 vs 11 BC BEARS
Thursday, September 18, 20:00 EST, Guelph
10 mins – D. Daypuck pen 3-0
16 mins – T. Dolezel try 8-0
17 mins – D. Daypuck con 10-0
22 mins – P. Kay pen 10-3
30 mins – D. Daypuck pen 13-3
36 mins – S. White try 13-8
40 mins – D. Daypuck pen 16-8
45 mins – P. Kay pen 16-11
50 mins – D. Daypuck pen 19-11
65 mins – D. Daypuck pen 22-11
72 mins – R. Barkwill try 27-11
72 mins – D. Daypuck con 29-11
R. Lebel (J. Lofthouse 75); D. Moor, J. Wilson-Ross, D. Daypuck (capt.), J. Webster (D. Mathie 75); S. Windsor, J. Mackenzie (A. Ferguson 61); T. Dolezel (J. Rumball 65), R. Barkwill (E. Howard 75), D. Wooldridge (R. Bouwer 75); H. McQueen, S. Dunham (H. Murray 48); J. Moonlight, A. Clark (L. Rumball 48), S. Pearson.
S. Ferguson; J. Morris (N. Yanagiya 53), C. Trainor, B. Staller (J. Sandover-Best 70), J. Douglas; P. Kay (B. Tyrer 75), S. White; N. Barker (A. Lackner 57), M. Govorchin (R. Hamilton 24), R. March (C. McClary 75); C. Morrison (capt.), S. Wakefield (G. Kehoe 57); T. de Goede (L. Campbell 73), C. Kelliher, C. Chalmers.
Referee: S. Trumbull (BCRU)