North Thompson Spartans junior and senior rugby teams continue to have a strong start to their seasons, according to Gabe Francis, one of the coaches.
As reported in last week’s Times, both teams recorded lop-sided shutouts in their first games – the juniors defeating Sahali 48-0 and the senior beating NorKam 50-0.
On April 19 the North Thompson teams hosted Sahali at Clearwater Secondary School and again both recorded shutout wins by wide margins.
This past weekend the Spartans took part in RugbyFest in Kamloops, winning some and losing some but always giving credible performances, even against much stronger squads.
On Friday, April 22 at RugbyFest, the junior Spartans notched a 17-5 win over Jasper.
Francis described the game as, “… we were outsized but never outhearted.”
Seniors fell short against Hunting Hills 12-7 in one of the most physical matches the team has played for some time.
“Lots of big Alberta beef on that team,” Francis commented.
On Saturday, the juniors faced the strongest competition that they have ever seen and hung in the games well.
The first Saturday loss came to L.V. Rogers of Nelson – a school that has a rugby academy, so their players are involved in the game and sport specific training all school year.
“I was pleasantly surprised that the match was as close as it was,” Francis said. “We had a 5-0 lead at half time and they were leading 12-10 up until their final try in “injury time” (also known as extra time – a rugby match doesn’t end when the clock runs out, it ends at the next non-penalty whistle) which made the final score 17-10.
Junior Spartan tries came from Mason Wadlegger and Jaxon Kjenstad.
The second junior match saw the boys play a large side from Fleetwood Park of Surrey. The boys had an outstanding second half ibut the game ended in a 27-19 loss. Tries for the Spartans came from Jaxon Kjenstad plus two from Keanen Bromley.
The seniors played with much greater chemistry on Saturday than they had on Friday, registering a 17-10 win over Maple Ridge Secondary, and a 22-7 win over Guildford Park of Surrey.
“A big thanks to the Norkam athletes who dressed with us to give us the numbers to make the weekend happen,” the Spartan coach added. “We played some aggressive teams and matched their intensity, the boys didn’t get pushed around.”
The Spartan teams are made up of players from both Clearwater and Barriere secondary schools.
Inset photo: North Thompson Spartan junior Keanen Bromley of Clearwater Secondary School carries the ball while teammate Cedrik Menard follows up behind.