Crescent’s Varsity and Junior rugby coaches had their work cut out for them when they began the process of rebuilding their teams after a three-year pandemic break. “None of these guys had ever played contact rugby before,” says Junior Rugby coach, David Shaw. “When the Junior team started their first game of the season, they were worried.
“And then we beat them 65 to five.”
The Junior team remained undefeated until their final regular-season game against Trinity College School. Despite that loss, they progressed to the gold medal match against Appleby College. It was not an easy win, thanks to unrelenting hot weather. Late in the second half, the Junior team was behind by 10 points. Encouragement from captain Brett Anderson inspired the boys to score 12 points, winning the game and becoming OFSAA champions.
The Varsity team faced more challenges on their path to success. With the rise of the sports dome in November, Varsity coach James Trood began to recruit and train players who either hadn’t played rugby in two years or had never played at all. They won their first game against Trinity College School but lost two players to injuries in the process.
The team would continue to shed players through the regular season due to scheduling conflicts and occasional injuries. “It felt like, ‘Ok, next man up,’” says Trood. “Keep moving forward.” Despite these challenges, the team kept improving throughout the season. They headed to OFSAA seeded in third place. Trood had a skeleton crew of 18 Varsity players and two strong Junior team players as substitutes, in stark contrast to the standard roster of 30 players.
The Varsity boys fought and lost a hard battle in the gold medal match against Adam Scott Collegiate Vocational Institute. The final score, 7–5, shows how closely matched the teams were. Trood is proud of his team’s silver medal. “This was not a year that normally happens,” he says. “We were short on players, but we went so far.”
As for next year? “The boys are already talking about next year, who they want to recruit,” Trood says. “The fire is in them already.”