The Stratford Northwestern boys rugby program sent a group of student-athletes on the first leg of a YMCA Exchange with Earl Marriott Secondary School in Surrey B.C. this past week.
The boys who boast a promising core group of players this year not only experienced some high level rugby in one of the leading rugby provinces in Canada, but also experienced much of what B.C. has to offer both naturally and culturally.
Some of the off field highlights included a hike at Lynn Canyon Park, visits to downtown Vancouver and Victoria, Stanley Park, Granville Island, The U.B.C. Museum of Anthropology and an 18km canoe trip down the Harrison River. Northwestern also pitched in to help out their host community by completing a beach cleanup at the local White Rock beach. The boys capped off their tour by attending the HSBC 7’s tournament at BC Place in Vancouver, where they witnessed first hand some of the best international 7 aside rugby players battle it out in person.
As for their results on the pitch, the Huskies quickly found their game and showed well against some of the top ranked programs in B.C. The boys played in a rugby “jamboree” on Wednesday where they won 1 of 3 shortened games.
Their first matchup saw them against their host school Earl Marriott’s grade 9 team. The boys showed some rust out of the gate as this was their first outdoor, live game action of the year. Despite some early rust, the boys played to a respectable 12-5 loss. 8 man Neil Trainor led the team defensively and on offence making the majority of the teams tackles, as well as scoring the lone try.
The 2nd game of the day pitted the Huskies vs. Lord Tweedsmuir, another local Surrey school. The boys found their game in this one and came away with a convincing 19-5 victory. Sammi Roes led the way with 2 tries, Jakeob Hartemink added another and Ethan Day chipped in 2 conversions for 4 points.
With weather conditions deteriorating, the boys played their strongest game of the day in their final match, despite coming up on the losing end of a 7-5 final score. The boys played host school Earl Marriott’s grade 10 team, and defended well for the first half of the game. Unfortunately Marriott’s ability to attack the fringes led to a converted try mid way through the game. Northwestern’s Everett Hawkins responded with a scamper of his own to draw the score to 2 points. Unfortunately that was as close as the boys would come.
For their final contest of the tour, the boys travelled to Vancouver Island to play Claremont Secondary School just outside of Victoria. In what was by far the boys most physical challenge of the week, they showed well. Claremont featured some big strong runners, and Northwestern found themselves defending much of the first half. Dylan Jackson, Jaris Marriott and Matthew Thomson led the boys defensively and Jackson punched in a try. The score was 19-7 in favour of Claremont at the half. The boys regrouped and came out storming in the 2nd half however. Jackson added another 2 tries, and Neil Trainor scored his 2nd of the tour to briefly take the lead. Despite their best effort the boys could not hold Claremont’s late push and the game ended with a 36-24 loss for the Huskies. Jackson and Hadyn Ankenmann were named “Men of the Match”.
Overall the Northwestern team were excellent ambassadors for the school, the province of Ontario, and the game of rugby.
Northwestern will be hosting Earl Marriott Secondary in Stratford from April 27th to May 3rd, 2017 where the team from B.C. will participate in the Annual Miller Cup Rugby Tournament.