May 4, 2014 (ISN) – Ontario Blues wasted no time getting their first win of 2014, defeating New York Athletic Club by a score of 34-22 in their opening match of the new season.
Looking to build on last year’s perfect season, Ontario set the tone early in the preseason affair, with Blues captain Derek Daypuck scoring five minutes into the match to give Ontario a 5-0 lead.
The home side struck again just ten minutes later, with fly-half Shawn Windsor touching down under the posts to mark his successful return to the senior provincial side after a four-year absence. Daypuck’s conversion extended Ontario’s lead to 12-0.
NYAC’s fly-half David Neville kicked a long penalty at the 20-minute mark to cut the deficit to nine points, but local boy Jesse Lofthouse answered back for the Blues a few minutes later, scoring a try to bring Ontario’s lead to 17-3.
NYAC and Ontario would trade tries in the later stages of the first half, with New York’s Daniel Watson and Blues’ Alistair Clark both crossing the whitewash before the halftime whistle.
With heavy rains pouring down on the Unionville, Ont. pitch to begin the second half, the American club was the better side at the restart, as second row Seth Cohen scored a try thirty seconds into the frame. The conversion by fullback Rob Johnson reduced Ontario’s lead to 24-15.
Ontario and NYAC would once again swap tries, before Daypuck sealed Ontario’s victory in the final stages of the second half with his second try of the match. The score would stay unchanged for the remaining few minutes, with Ontario walking away as 34-22 winners at the final whistle.
With many Blues regulars unable to play due to international duty, Ontario turned to a host of young players to serve as reinforcements, including three players who won the Under-18 Canadian National Championship with the Ontario Junior Blues last summer.
“We had seven players get their first senior provincial cap today, and they were fantastic,” said Blues head coach Chris Silverthorn. “It was a total effort from a mix of veterans and young up-and-comers, and they gave us a great start to our season.”
Despite being an exhibition match for the American side, NYAC fielded a strong roster against the Blues. The sturdy play of scrum-half Mike Petri, who led USA past Uruguay in the Rugby World Cup qualifiers last month, ensured that the match was a back-and-forth affair, with the internationally capped Blake Burdette and Brian Doyle chipping in with strong performances as well.
Although Ontario won the match, manager Mark Winokur noted that there is still plenty of work to be done before the provincial side hits top form.
“We saw lots of potential from our young guys today, but we’re not where we want to be just yet,” said Winokur. “Competition for spots this year is going to be excellent, and it’s a great sign for the provincial program moving forward.”
Ontario’s victory over NYAC marks the first of three preseason games for the three-time defending Canadian national rugby champions. The Blues will only have a couple of weeks before their next preseason tilt; the Blues ‘A’ side is set to take on the Atlantic Rock’s ‘A’ side in a Victoria Day afternoon matchup, held in Oakville, Ont.
Ontario will kick off their Canadian Rugby Championship season against the Atlantic Rock on August 16 at Twin Elm Rugby Park in Ottawa.
Ontario Blues Score Report
Tries: Derek Daypuck (2), Alistair Clark, Jesse Lofthouse, Dan Moor, Shawn Windsor
Conversions: Derek Daypuck (2)
Ontario Blues Lineup vs. New York Athletic Club – Name (Club)
1. Creag Johnston (Toronto Scottish)
2. Sawyer Herron (Oakville Crusaders)
3. Jacob Rumball (Balmy Beach)
4. Scott Dunham (Balmy Beach)
5. Hank McQueen (Balmy Beach)
6. Pat Richardson (Toronto Scottish)
7. Alistair Clark (Bay Street)
8. Tim Richardson (Toronto Scottish)
9. Andrew Ferguson (Oakville Crusaders)
10. Shawn Windsor (Stoney Creek RFC)
11. Justin Tota (Toronto Scottish)*
12. Derek Daypuck (London St. George’s), Captain
13. Dan Moor (Balmy Beach)
14. Ryan Chapman (Toronto Scottish)*
15. Jesse Lofthouse (Markham Irish)
16. Brendan Blaikie (Markham Irish)*
17. Rob Brouwer (Lindsay RFC)
18. Seb Pearson (London St. George’s)
19. Haddon Murray (Balmy Beach)
20. Lucas Rumball (Balmy Beach)*
21. Rich Lebel (Waterloo County)*
22. Joe Ginsberg (Toronto Scottish)*
23. Riley Di Nardo (Toronto Saracens)*
* denotes first senior provincial cap
Ontario Blues Team Staff
Chris Silverthorn – Head Coach
Paul Connelly – Assistant Coach
Paul Ambrose – Scrum Coach
Mark Winokur – Manager
Rodin Lozada – Performance Analyst
Chris Kelly – Athletic Therapist
Dr. Chris Gallimore – Team Doctor
Ontario Blues 2014 Match Schedule:
*NEW YORK ATHLETIC CLUB 22 @ 34 ONTARIO BLUES
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Kick off: 4:00 p.m.
Bill Crothers Secondary School Field, Unionville, Ont.
*ATLANTIC ROCK ‘A’ SIDE @ ONTARIO BLUES ‘A’ SIDE
Monday, May 19, 2014
Kick off: 1:00 p.m.
Crusaders Park, Oakville, Ont.
*ONTARIO BLUES @ USA U23 XV (COLLEGIATE ALL-AMERICANS)
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Kick off: 2:30 p.m.
Irish Cultural Centre, Canton. Mass.
ATLANTIC ROCK @ ONTARIO BLUES
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Kick off: 4:30 p.m.
Twin Elm Rugby Park, Ottawa, Ont.
ONTARIO BLUES @ PRAIRIE WOLFPACK
Thursday, September 4, 2014
ONTARIO BLUES @ BRITISH COLUMBIA BEARS
Sunday, September 7, 2014
BRITISH COLUMBIA BEARS @ ONTARIO BLUES (RECHARGE WITH MILK CUP)
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Kick off: 8:00 p.m.
Alumni Field, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont.
PRAIRIE WOLF PACK @ ONTARIO BLUES
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Kick off: 1:00 p.m.
Nicholls Oval Park, Peterborough, Ont.
ONTARIO BLUES @ ATLANTIC ROCK
Saturday, September 27, 2014
(Photo: Ontario Blues)