After a decisive victory over New Brunswick Black Spruce on Saturday, the Thunder rugby team improved its performance Monday (May 19) with a 49-5 result over the visiting Nova Scotia Keltics. Once again, the score at half-time was 16-0, showing that either the Thunder are slow starters or their fitness is superior to their opposition.
On a cold and windy afternoon that seemed more like November, it was the visitors who seemed more at home with lots of possession and assaults but they lacked the finishing touch. The Thunder seized on errors and interceptions for brief attacks but they, too, had trouble finishing.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay, returning to play rugby after several years absence, figured in much of the Keltics’ defence. However, the brief Thunder forays inside the Keltic 22m yielded three penalties which Steve Piatek handled without difficulty. Just before the break, Shaun Windsor, with some elusive running, took the ball from the Thunder 30m line up to the Keltic 15m before unloading to fullback Jon Goldie who scored in the corner.
With a cross-wind favouring them slightly, Piatek used some excellent tactical kicking to keep the Keltic pinned in their half. However, the first score in the second half came from a beautifully timed pass from former Canadian National team scrumhalf Morgan Williams. That pass was then spun wide to 23 year-old left winger Paul Forrest who raced down his wing for what was to be the Keltics only points in the game.
The Keltics, with a strong performances from fullback Landry, kept the Thunder at bay until halfway through the second half when the Thunder seemed to click into gear. The forwards drove from 25 m out and prop Mike Pletch crashed over. From the re-start, Windsor took off again from inside his 22m; the ball went to winger David Jones, then to Goldie, Piatek, the veteran #8 Dave Knowles, and finally second rower Geoff Sinke took it over the goal-line.
More pressure and good angled running saw forward Andrew Lombard take it in for another. Minutes later, flanker Shaun Allen danced around some poor tackling from the tiring Keltic defence and passed off to Dan West in support for another try. And it wasn’t over yet. In a movement started by replacement scrumhalf Colin Brown, the Thunder again moved the ball through several players, including Rory McDonnell, with the final pass going to Brown who scored. Piatek kicked five of six conversions and three penalties for a tally of 19 points to add to the six tries for a final score 49-5 for the Thunder.
The Thunder’s next game is an exhibition fixture against Leicestershire County on Thursday, May 29, 7 p.m. at Oakville’s Crusader Park.
Steve Piatek (Brantford Harlequins) 19 (3 P, 5 C)
One try each from: Jon Goldie, Mike Pletch, Andrew Lombard, Dan West, (all Oakville), Geoff Sinke (Stoney Creek), Colin Brown (London).
Keltics: Paul Forrest.