Bears top Canucks
There are occasions where the game of rugby melds the rhythms of violence and sportsmanship into harmonious expressions of pure athletic prowess. The ball flows effortlessly downfield as the team moves as one perfect unit.
Then there are games the Banff Rugby squad gets suckered into too often by inferior opponents: low-down, ugly street fights where both teams try to out-gorilla the other.
The Banff Bears Rugby Club dug out a dirty 37-5 win over the Calgary Canucks in Calgary Rugby Union action on Saturday (Aug. 11) at the Banff Rec. Grounds. Despite a dominating effort by Banff’s offence, there were few celebrations after the grind-it-out win.
“It definitely wasn’t polished and we didn’t do ourselves any favours. We challenged them in the wrong areas. We knew we could take it wide, but instead we tried to keep it tight,” said team manager Mark ‘Hoops’ Hooper.
Banff held a clear speed and fitness advantage; however too often the side was beat in the ruck and played to the Canucks’ strengths.
“We didn’t play to our potential and that’s frustrating. But we did win by 32 and that makes us 7-2 on the year,” Hooper said.
Matthew Widmer opened scoring for Banff, breaking away from his tackle for a clean 30-yard run for the try. Lukas Dubyk broke the Calgary line to extend the lead, while Matthew Soukas picked up a loose ball and charged down field to make it 21-0. Joe Carwin scored a try mid-way through the second half while Malcolm Wilson finished off the scoring. The Canucks broke the shut-out at the end of the match, but the game was long out of reach by that point.
Hooper said the performance is worrisome in the lead-up to playoff action.
“If we play that way we’ll get beat by stronger teams,” Hooper said. “I’ll talk to people and tell them where they played well and where they need to pick up. It’s mostly our older players who have to show more.”
The game was the last of the season for two of the team standouts – Matthew Soukas and Sinclair Hunt. Soukas is returning to Wilfred Laurier University while Hunt has a six-week trip to his native Australia. Both believe the team has a legitimate shot at bringing home a championship title.
“I’ll be back and hope to drink rum out of the championship trophy,” Hunt said. “The boys have been steam rollin’ of late. I’m confident we have the depth to win as long as we’re not resting on our laurels.”
Soukas will play rugby in Waterloo, Ont., and Banff has the legs to bring the championship home, he said. He captained the last Banff Community High School Championship team.
“It’s good to get the first season under my belt. This team is strong and each week we get tighter and tighter,” Soukas said.
The team also lost Josh Bartlett, who returned to school.
Banff’s final home game of the season takes place on Aug. 25 against Lethbridge at 3 p.m. at The Banff Rec. Grounds. It will be first match-up of the season between the two clubs.
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