NSMT Captain and Toronto Arrows mainstay, Lucas Rumball.
News released by The Province today has confirmed that the Toronto Arrows, Canada's only team in the professional, North American Rugby League (MLR), has folded due to, in all intents and purposes, what looks like financial issues. This news comes as a shock to many young men who are contracted to the team and those aspiring to be. It is also a major catastrophy to Rugby Canada's Strategic Plans and just a further pin in the balloon that is the NSMT's program. No doubt the League will look to help, as it too struggles to be viable in the North American sports market. We will await the outcomes.
As announced last week, Sunday was witness to a number of VIRU Age Grade Championships at Windsor Park. The morning started with the U14 Boys game. The viisting Salish Warriors, basically a SLS combination, we are led to believe, started strongly, moving the ball wide to create an overlap and draw first blood. They added to this try however, the brainstrust of the U14's didn't flinch. In fact, for the remainder of this match we were to witness the calibre of this CW group. The ball did the work and any threat was scythed down with classic, "boot-lace" tackling. Smaller boys, as is the case at this age level, did not shirk from the task and the scoring was shared by many. The final, 57 - 17 was a tribute to the team.
Next on the docket was the U16 Boys Final. The last time James Bay and CW contested, the result was close. On this day, CW clearly "came to play" and basically, had the game won at the half with their 19 - 5 lead. There was no let up in the second stanza. This pundit spotted a number of budding stars, although it would be unfair to isolate players in such a comprehensive team display of running rugby and rock solid defense. 'onyas, U16's!
Following this entertaining encounter, the CW U18 Girls were matched aginst the Comox Rapids. Like the U16 Boys, these two teams were very close in their last, recent encounter. This match was a classic as two very competitive squads fought tooth and nail for ascendancy. CW eventually did manage some breathing room however, the minute they relaxed their efforts, the Rapids posted two late tries, denoting their credability. This writer wishes he knew the girls by name for there were many that deserved a shout out. The 24 - 10 win was a stern test for CW going into the Provincial Final against Abbotsford next week. Best of luck, ladies. (Picture at a later date.)
The day's final contest was between U18 Boys, Salish Warriors and CW. Again, heardsay these two had met on one other occasion, resultng in a close CW victory. The rugby played by the boys in this match was a real credit to them and their coaches. CW inched out to a hard-fought 21 - 7 lead at the half. Salish outscored the hosts, 13 - 5 in the seocnd half and in the late stages, as both teams sought the prize, mistakes crept in, keeping the fans on the tips of thier toes, as play ebbed and flowed. Again, not really fair to name one over another, suffice to say the match was hard-fought and skillfully played. Techniques of all aspects of this difficult game were on display with no quarter asked or given. In fact, sufficient accolades cannot be given to the battle as it played out, nor the foes that fought it. In this pundit's eyes, it was talent on display that augers very well for Canadian Men's rugby, which is currently at a low ebb. Thanks to all of the players for a most entertaining match.
Congratulations to the officials on the day, especially the younger folk whose knowledege of the laws and their interpretation was accurate and impeccable. A class act from the Pacific Pride who presented the trophies and said some very astutte words of wisdom - a touch of class. Last, but by no means least, to the fans, mostly parents and relies, for your positive support of the players. This pundit did not hear an ill word all day long in these fierecely contested matches. Best of luck to all Island teams in the BC Finals next week. We add to the above victors, the James Bay U16 Girls team.
RIP, Kevin 'Lunk' Wirachowski
A Memorial for the late Kevin Wirachowski will be held this coming Saturday evening at the Chief Petty Officer’s Mess (Upper Lounge), Esquimalt Base, 1575 Lyall St., Esquimalt. Doors open 6pm, speakers at 7:00 p.m. Director of Rugby, Ken Goodland will speak on behalf of CW. Kevin was a one-of-a-kind person and true rugby spirit. Our club offers our deepest condolences to his family.
NSMT Props, Abrams and Exner, use a Lunk invented ScruMaster for future FRF members.
SENIOR MENS SATURDAY ACTION
The second half saw the affair tip in Caps favour, 12 - 10, and the battle was on. Caps gained the rub of the green with a late try, 17 - 10 and CW earned a bonus point. My eye in the sky reports it was a good effort by the home team, spoiled by some careless and inexperienced mistakes. This pundit does not think that the League table placement is an accurate indication of this group's ability and there is much to look forward to in February.
The Premier match report will follow later in the week, suffice to say CW 40 - Capilanos 20.