Rugby returns to Conception Bay North
Rugby is beginning to make a comeback in Conception Bay North after a brief hiatus. The sport enjoyed some success in the area during the mid to late 1990s. The Harbour Grace Marauders once fielded strong teams, which were very competitive with the best teams in the province at the time.
The team disbanded before the turn of the (21st) century and the rugby field behind St. Francis School has been empty ever since.
At the beginning of the new school year Caleb Thorne and Randy Ralph, teachers at Carbonear Collegiate and both former provincial players with Newfoundland Rugby, formed a school rugby team, which has turned some heads early in the St. John’s Metro Rugby League season.
The team travelled to Conception Bay South Saturday, October 10 to butt heads with the Queen Elizabeth II High Pioneers, surprising the home squad with a 31 - 0 victory.
Andrew Ralph led the team in scoring with 12 points on two tries and a conversion. Brandon Parrott and
Steve McDonald each scored seven points as they converted their own tries, while Greg Taylor scored one try for five points.
Pleased with his team’s performance, Coach Thorne pointed out, “what the Carbonear Collegiate Sentinels lacked in game experience, they made up for in tenacity, team spirit, and tackling ability.”
Two days later the Sentinels travelled to Mount Pearl Senior High to take on the Huskies on their home field. The game was very close and the tackling very hard as both teams pounded each other to gain an edge.
The Sentinels drew first blood on a try by Andrew Ralph. Ralph put the Sentinels ahead 7-0. A few minutes later Jonathan Forward scored the team’s second try, which Ralph was not able to convert.
Carbonear Collegiate enjoyed a surprising 12-point lead. The lead did not last long as Mount Pearl responded with a converted try and narrowed the
score to 12-7 at the halftime whistle.
The second half was a little one sided as the Mount Pearl Huskies took advantage of penalty after penalty infracted by the Sentinels, which the visitors pinned in their own end for most of the half. The Sentinels lack of game knowledge resulted in numerous violations, which made them lose valuable yardage. According to provincial team coach Simon Blanks, “the ferocity of Sentinels tackling kept them in the game.”
Late in the match Carbonear Collegiate’s number 8, Brendan Rose, was sent off for a dangerous tackle, which left the team a man short. With three minutes left in the game the Huskies tied the score 12 all on a try, which was not converted.
For most teams a score in the last minutes would get players down, but the Sentinels did not seem fazed as they kicked off the ball after the Huskies scored. The kick was a quick one, which was quickly recovered by Ralph who ran the ball within 10 yards of the Huskies in goal. The Sentinels rucked the ball and drove towards the Huskies end with Greg Taylor touching the ball down for a try with no time remaining.
To add salt to the wound Ralph converted the try to end the game 19-12 in the Sentinels’ favour.
Carbonear Collegiate were scheduled to travel to Mount Pearl again on Oct. 17 and 19 to challenge O’Donnell and St. Kevin’s for senior high school rugby supremacy. If they play as well as they did in their first two games of the season, they could find themselves in their inaugural season with a record of 4 and 0.
LINE-OUTS - Sentinels’ Steve McDonald and Dwayne Maloney are lifted by team mates in a lineout against Queen Elizabeth II Pioneers. The Sentinels rugby team blanked the Pioneers 31-0 in their inaugural match.
SENTINELS RUCK AND MAUL - Carbonear Collegiate Sentinels have fielded their first ever rugby team in the St. John’s Metro Rugby League. Players are front row from left: Steve McDonald and Brendon McCarthy. Middle row: Adam Butt, Carl Clarke, Brandon Parrott, Andrew Ralph, Brandon Parsons, Robbie Rowe, Brandon Gosse, Bobbie Blundon, Seamus O’Brien and Todd Nowak. Back row: Coach Kaleb Thorne, Andrew Chenard, Greg Taylor, Nick Rossiter, Ben Hiscock, Johnny Forward, Dwayne Maloney, Brendon Rose, Matthew McCarthy, Mark Cole and Coach Randy Ralph.