By Josh Howald
It wasn’t the ideal way to end the regular season schedule.
Bruce County's Jose Andino-Rodriquez, left, and Jordan Woito react as a Niagara player grabs the ball Saturday in NRUA rugby action in Tiverton. (Josh Howald photo)
The Niagara Wasps ran all over the Bruce County Barbarians Saturday in Niagara Rugby Union A Division action in Tiverton. There were several times in this one that the Barbs looked downright soft, as Niagara had its way with them on their own field.
The Wasps used an obvious size and speed advantage to take an early lead in this game with two trys. Bruce County got on the scoreboard with a penalty kick from Jason Doble, but Niagara turned this into a track meet.
It was 21-3 at the half, and 51- 20 when it ended.
Make no mistake, this was a very good Niagara team that came into Tiverton on Saturday. The Wasps clinched first place overall in the NRUA with the win, and are now 8-0-1 with one match remaining. Bruce County finishes the regular season with a respectable 5-5 record, good for fourth place overall in the NRUA.
This game was chippy at times, with both teams guilty of crossing the line of good sportsmanship on more than one occasion. It was Bruce County, however, who got whiny with the game official, and it didn’t help them win any calls.
Jordan Woito and Adam Weir were both very goodfor the Barbs in this match. They continually steppedup to make tackles for teammates who, for the most part, seemed unwilling to make or take a hit from the large, fast Niagara squad. At one point, a Barbarian found himself with nothing in front of him except open field and a bouncing ball. Rather than grab the ball, take a hit and feed a teammate for a certain try, he decided to kick at the ball weakly. The trailing Bruce County player attempted to do the same, and kicked the ball right into the stomach of a Wasp who had made his way back.
However, Saturday wasn’t all bad for the Bruce County Rugby Club. The Barbs II scored twice in the dying minutes to defeat Niagara’s second team 32-20. That game was played prior to the NRUA contest.
The win might have been enough to climb out of theNRUB basement for the Barbs II. Bruce County drew even with the Wasps II in the standings and are now 1-6-2.
It was a big win for the Barbs II, who were coming off a strong showing despite being shorthanded the previous week against the experienced Kitchener Knaves. The Knaves took an early lead, but Bruce County battled back to score four trys, one convert and two penalty kicks. Woito, who pulled double duty on this day and played for both teams, scored once, as did Mitch Bussey, Lucknow native Mitch Kraemer and Connor Farley-McLeod. It ended 43-28 for the Knaves, but the Barbs II laid the groundworkfor the weekend’s win.
Both teams together hadjust 27 bodies in Cambridge, and the NRUB loss was preceded by an A Division win for the Barbs. After falling behind by a pair of trys early in the game, Sean Reid and Woito each scored a try, followed by a Doble kick, to pull Bruce County even at the half. The back-and-forth affair continued until the final 15 minutes, when Bruce County put its stamp on the game. Nick Bromfield ran in twice for trys, and Thenuis Van Zyle touched grass once as the Barbs scored three late trys to pull away from the Waterloo Renegades. A lovely drop goal by Doble sealed the 34-22 victory.