(WINDSOR, ON) – The Windsor Rogues must be commended for giving the Norfolk Harvesters the greatest challenge they faced all season. The final league game of the year produced a disappointing 15 point spread in Norfolk’s favour.
The Harvesters, for several years now, have become used to trouncing their opposition with much ease. Some games have produced morale deadening scores of 30+ points greater than their withered opponents. Shockingly, in early June, Norfolk posted a stinging score of 91-0. It is little wonder they have won the division title several times in recent years.
Windsor Rogues 19 : 34 Norfolk Harvesters
Norfolk is good; very good. They’re fast on their feet, quick thinking, hard hitting on the tackles, excellent ball passing skills, good support for the rucks, and strong scrumming. In other words, everything required to play excellent rugby and to win games.
On Saturday they were never content to get a few tries but to bring in a harvest of tries.
The Rogues, with their 6-3-0 standing, chose not to be swayed by the hype. Windsor prepared for the Harvesters style of game. The coaches had them tightening up their rucking skills as well as deepening the focus of each player to encourage them to keep their feet moving during play and to hustle into position to support or be ready for a pass.
Cohesion and unity in defensive and offensive play between players, coupled with good communication, usually increases passing quality by preventing miss-cues, fumbles, and the dreaded openings in defensive lines opponents like to exploit. However, drills, mental attitude, and experience do not always guarantee victory. The opposing side may have the edge in one or all of these areas.
It appeared Norfolk had the edge in most areas of play with moments with excellent ability to see the slightest of breakdowns in the Rogues defense and to execute some well orchestrated passes. Most line-outs and scrums were lost to Norfolk, giving the visitors much needed possession.
Player sizes and fitness appeared roughly equal between the two teams and both boasted more than a few players capable of tearing across the pitch for at least 50 yards when given the chance. It was one such Rogue, Kory Bremner, who did just that to score an exciting try with the venerable Zac Cushing showing his usual good timing and toughness to take one for himself.
The unassuming, unimposing, yet extremely capable Ben Rae, gave the Windsor crowd of fans a try of which to be proud. Captain Spencer Bryant managed two accurate kicks between the posts to increase the tally by 4 points.
In the final 20 minutes, the Rogues had a few veterans to throw into the mix just when spirits were at their lowest. Players since the 1980’s, Mike Park, who also wears a coaches hat, and Shaun Cushing, the club president, are two of Windsor’s veterans still capable of bringing down an opponent or two and carrying the ball a good number of yards. Unfortunately their much needed energy, experience, and strength proved not enough to push the Rogues into a victory.
Norfolk walked away from the game holding the top position in the Division.