Lindsay, Ont. – The Ontario Blues have clinched the 2013 Canadian Rugby Championship after defeating the British Columbia Bears 50-27 in Lindsay, Ontario on Saturday afternoon.
Despite holding the Blues to only one try just two weeks ago, British Columbia’s defenses could not contain Ontario’s explosive display of offense on Saturday afternoon, allowing the Blues to cross their try line on eight occasions throughout the match.
The Blues came flying out of the gates in the first half, scoring four tries in the first 15 minutes of the match through Jordan Wilson-Ross, Jamie Mackenzie, and Canadian nationals Ray Barkwill and John Moonlight, to jump out to a 26-3 lead over British Columbia. Fellow Canadian national Liam Underwood converted three of those tries for Ontario, while Canadian 7s standout Nathan Hirayama notched an early penalty for British Columbia.
Two late first-half tries from British Columbia (Clayton Thornber, Joe Dolesau) sandwiched an Ontario try (Dan Moor), leaving the West Coast province with a 16-point deficit (31-15) at the halftime whistle.
While the match’s second half did not feature the same offensive output as the first half, both sides were able to keep putting points on the board, much to the delight of the 500+ crowd at Lindsay Rugby Park.
Moonlight, making his first appearance of the season for the Blues, opened the scoring in the second half with his second try of the match, dodging around four Bears defenders in a fine display of athleticism. Captain Derek Daypuck converted the try, extending the Blues lead to 38-15 with twenty minutes left to play.
From there, the two sides traded pairs of tries: British Columbia’s Luke Campbell notched a second-half brace, with Hirayama converting one of the two tries, while Ontario substitutes Mike Sheppard and Andrew Ferguson added tries of their own, and along with a Daypuck conversion, sealed the 50-27 victory for the Blues.
Despite one more CRC match remaining in the 2013 season, the MacTier Cup was present in Lindsay on Saturday afternoon, giving the Blues a chance to celebrate in front of their home supporters. Ontario doubled their hardware haul on the day, taking home the inaugural Recharge with Milk Cup, which will be awarded annually to the winner of the Ontario-hosted Blues vs. BC match.
“The guys, especially in that first half, played a phenomenal game of rugby,” said Blues head coach Chris Silverthorn after the match. “Everything clicked, and to win the MacTier Cup in the fantastic atmosphere put on by Lindsay was an added bonus.”
Blues manager Mark Winokur echoed Silverthorn’s praise for the match hosts.
“In the five-year history of the Blues, this has been the most outstanding home event that we’ve had,” said Winokur. “The Lindsay community really came together to put on a fantastic match.”
Plenty of local talent featured for the Blues, with four Lindsay rugby players – Canadian national Doug Wooldridge, Seb Pearson, Judson Rowbotham, and Rob Brouwer – featuring in the match.
“The fact that such a small club like Lindsay was so well-represented in the squad, and that the town was so well-represented with today’s big crowd, it’s fantastic for this community,” said Pearson, after the match. “It’s been a perfect day, and we’re happy we were able to score all those points at home.”
“This has been a huge step for the program,” Winokur added. “Winning our last two games and scoring at least 50 points in each of them really hammers home just how far this program has come. We feel very good about how much we’ve accomplished.”
Looking forward, the Blues will finish their 2013 CRC season in St. John’s, Newfoundland next Saturday, when they take on the Atlantic Rock in their season finale. Despite the fact that the Blues have already won the MacTier Cup, the team insists they will not be taking their feet off the gas pedal.
“We’re pretty banged-up, injury-wise, so I just hope we’ll have 22 healthy guys to take on a plane next week,” said Silverthorn. “But we want to win. We want to be the first team in CRC history to finish with a perfect record. That’s our goal, to go 5-0.”
Ontario Blues 50
Tries: Moonlight (2), Wilson-Ross, Mackenzie, Barkwill, Moor, Sheppard, Ferguson
Convs: Underwood (3), Daypuck
British Columbia Bears 27
Tries: Campbell (2), Thornber, Dolesau
Convs: Hirayama (2)
Ontario Blues Lineup for CRC Match vs. BC Bears – Name (Club)
1- Doug Wooldridge (Lindsay RFC)
2- Ray Barkwill (Niagara Wasps)
3- Jacob Rumball (Balmy Beach)
4- Hank McQueen (Balmy Beach)
5- Haddon Murray (Balmy Beach)
6- John Moonlight (Ajax Wanderers)
7- Alistair Clark (Bay Street)
8- Seb Pearson (London St. George’s)
9- Jamie Mackenzie (Oakville Crusaders)
10- Liam Underwood (Balmy Beach)
11- Dan Moor (Balmy Beach)
12- Derek Daypuck, Captain, (London St. George’s)
13- Jordan Wilson-Ross (Barrie RFC)
14- Ryan MacSween (Balmy Beach)
15- Lucas Hammond (Toronto Nomads)
16- Judson Rowbotham (Lindsay RFC)
17- Rob Brouwer (Lindsay RFC)
18- Mike Sheppard (Stoney Creek)
19- Mark MacSween (Balmy Beach)
20- Tim Richardson (Markham Irish)
21- Matt Alexander (Oshawa Vikings)
22- Andrew Ferguson (Oakville Crusaders)
Ontario Blues Team Staff
Head Coach - Chris Silverthorn
Manager - Mark Winokur
Assistant Coaches - Paul Connelly, Paul Ambrose
Video Analyst - Rodin Lozada
Athletic Therapist - Chris Kelly
Team Doctor - Dr. Chris Gallimore
Ontario Blues 2013 Match Schedule:
BLUES 38 @ NEW YORK ATHLETIC CLUB 23
Saturday, May 4th, 2013
Kick off: 3:00 p.m.
Travers Island, New York, New York
ATLANTIC ROCK 25 @ BLUES 27
Saturday, August 17th, 2013
Kick off: 4:30 p.m.
Sherwood Forest Park, Burlington, Ontario
LIFE UNIVERSITY RUNNING EAGLES 20 @ BLUES 36
Friday, August 23rd, 2013
Kick off: 6 p.m.
Crusaders Park, Oakville, Ontario
BLUES 11 @ BRITISH COLUMBIA 7
Friday, August 30th, 2013
Kick off: 7:30 p.m. PDT, 10:30 p.m. EDT
Westhills Stadium, Langford, British Columbia
BLUES 53 @ PRAIRIE WOLF PACK 23
Monday, September 2nd, 2013
Kick off: 1:00 p.m. MDT, 3:00 p.m. EDT
Calgary Rugby Park, Calgary, Alberta
BRITISH COLUMBIA 27 @ BLUES 50
Saturday, September 14th, 2013
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m.
Lindsay Rugby Park, Lindsay, Ontario
BLUES @ ATLANTIC ROCK
Saturday, September 21st, 2013
Kick off: 3:30 p.m. NDT, 2:00 p.m. EDT
Swilers Rugby Complex, St. John's, Newfoundland