(CHATHAM, ON) – For the Windsor Rogues, with their strong second place position of 6-2-0 and magnificent displays of talent above and beyond their B division status, it came as a bit of a shock to see them make mistakes in some of the basics of the game. They seemed plagued with ball handling mistakes, lost opportunities, and several moments of reluctance to run with the ball when openings were presented.
This was the scene which presented itself while in Chatham to face the Kent Havoc and their fans at CCI Field on Saturday.
WINDSOR ROGUES 17 : 22 KENT HAVOC
The Havoc, coming on the pitch occupying a weak fourth place in the NRU standings (3-4-0), are old comrades of the Rogues, but fully capable of playing tough against the strongest of teams. Their excellent coaching, commitment to training, and team unity was obvious.
Although the fumbles and missed opportunities displayed by Windsor gave the Havoc some of what they needed to hold back the might of the Rogues, the Kent boys were still forced to labour hard for every yard and were able to take, with much difficulty, 4 tries and just 1 conversion.
For the Windsor side, managing 3 tries, from veteran David Kane and rookies Aidan Wiebenga and Ryan Storey, with 1 conversion kick from captain Spencer Bryant, the Rogues were able to push the game to the point where the result could have swung either way. This is part of the glory of the Windsor boys this season; no one gets an easy ride, even when the Rogues are having less than a spectacular game.
For just as some Rogues made uncharacteristic mistakes in ball handling, they also displayed excellent, high-level skills while delivering hard and decisive tackles and rucks, with moments of text book perfect support, ball release, and off-loads.
Perhaps these plays were sometimes overlooked or missed by the crowd as the memory of a ball fumble is difficult to remove. The front-end players making these crucial moves became the unsung heroes in such a game. For both sides, the match became a personal battle to salvage standing and reputation.
The Rogues are back at AKO Park this Saturday at 1:30pm for the final divisional game against the rough and tough Norfolk Harvesters. The visitors will bring an undefeated record of 9-0-0 to the game. It truly is not to be missed.