With the first half just about done and trailing by a score of 31-8, it looked like game over for the Hornets at Calgary Rugby Park. But the tide can turn in rugby. The momentum can swing. And it did, big time. The play of the day saw the yellow and black army going in hard between the posts and with the ball in hand, a second row forward crashed through the Canucks defense for a try. A simple conversion and they were back in contention, hungry for a win.
The Hornets actually opened the scoring after seven minutes with a penalty followed, a couple of minutes later, by a try out on the left wing. That triggered a reaction in the Canucks backs who found their running form to score five times in quick succession. Canucks captain, Jake Bentley got the first one breaking through a couple of defenders to go in under the posts. Chad Spence, coming in from the right wing, did the same three minutes later. Centre, Derek Arnold got the third try for the Canucks after they swept the ball left, taking a nicely timed pass from Luke Demeter. Arnold was not stopping there. The Dragon fired down the left to squeeze in just inside the corner flag. He then set up the Canucks best play of the game, when he grabbed a dropped ball inside his own half then put in a fabulously timed and weighted grub kick from 30 m out for Captain Canucks to pick up the ball and go over the line. It was the last time the Canucks would score in the game.
Hornets hit back
Heartened by their try at the end of the first half, the Hornets continued their revival after the break with a try from loose forward #7. The conversion was good and it was 31-22. The Hornets were on the move again after 30 minutes with another try, 31-27. Then came the winning move from a line out, close to the Canucks line. With clean possession, they scored from the resulting ruck and, with a magnificent conversion by the fly-half from 10 meters inside the touchline, the Hornets took the lead, 31-34. The Canucks hit the panic button and sent in a wave of desperate attacks. Right at the 40-minute mark, the last
The Canucks hit the panic button and sent in a wave of desperate attacks. Right at the 40-minute mark, the last play, out on the left wing, might have sent the result their way. But Derek Arnold was unable to hold onto a difficult pass from his winger and add to his big bag of points and other brilliant contributions to the game. Final score: Canucks 31-34 Hornets.
Congratulations Hornets and good luck in the final of the Alberta Cup.
For more photographs of the game, please visit J. Ashley Nixon Photography.