By: Anthony Joseph
When the Algonquin men’s and women’s rugby teams descended upon Loyalist College on Oct. 13, the teams were entering play with different mindsets.
While the women were trying to maintain their dominance over the East division, the men were looking to have a bounce back game following their first loss of the season.
Entering the match Loyalist hadn’t lost a home game in nearly four years, a run that includes three straight OCAA Division II championships with the last one coming back in 2011. But on this day it was the Thunder who controlled the pitch.
Through a strong kick return and offensive game the Thunder put an end to Loyalist’s home undefeated streak with a 15-10 win. Phil Assad and James Brant-Nelles each scored a try for the squad, while Jeremy Nesbitt would convert on a penalty kick and Chass Maracle would score on a convert.
But despite having an advantage in possession throughout, the tilt would still prove to be frustrating for the Thunder as penalty trouble negated and stalled a number of their efforts on offense.
“There were lots of penalties going forward on attack,” said head coach Geoff Tomlinson. “Let’s just say the players couldn’t get used to the referees.”
“We were playing with 14 players for the last 15 minutes,” said Tomlinson. “The guys really stepped up then, and took responsibility.”
With the win the men’s squad improved their record to three wins and one loss.
While the men’s squad eventually prevailed, the women dominated from the outset, routing Loyalist College 61-0.
The contest was marred by penalties and some foul play, but the Thunder were able to prevail handily thanks to a balanced attack.
Out of the 11 tries scored during the game, 10 were scored by different players with Maya Williams being the only player to put up two.
And it’s not just on the offense that the team is excelling; it’s also on the defense.
Through four games, the women’s squad has still not surrendered a single point.
However, when it comes to preparing for the stronger like two time defending champion Humber, shestill sees room for improvement.
“Our tackling needs to be much better,” said Boyd, “because if we face Humber they’ll have some real horses on their team.”
With the win the women’s squad improves their record to four wins and zero losses.