Having the fortunate opportunity to prepare for Saturday's game while watching the Italian National Team workout on the Markham pitch Saturday must have put some fire into the young Irish Squad. Cobourg was our toughest competition yet contesting at every ruck and scrum and generally playing a very solid defence. The Irish side found themselves having to battle for every bit of ball they could.
Once again, some incredibly good ball distribution by our SH Ethan Callaway and FH Rhys Patterson gave our centers David Horner and Luke Avveduto the opportunity to do what they do best and that was smash through the gain line. Winger Eli Gosher and Open Side Flanker Brayden McGee providing consistent support and allowing our offensive phases to roll over and over.
It must be mentioned that because the front row often go unnoticed in junior rugby, they rarely get any recognition for their efforts but today that changes. Our Tight Head Thomas Khajeh had perhaps the best game of this season and perhaps his two year career. He was solid in the rucks, his push cadence calling in the scrum could be heard all over the field and our scrum was consistently moving forward because of it. He also took the ball into contact solidly and never once lost possession. He doesn't know it yet but at practice tomorrow he will be receiving the Coaches' Player of the Match Award.
Notable performances were David Horner at Inside Center who was a danger every time he got the ball and a relative wall on defense. Cobourg named him Player of the Match and it was very well deserved. Brayden McGee romped to 3 tries and developed a very good habit in forcing their defence to congregate on him before he successfully distributed the ball. Our two Locks Reilly Barker and Ben Veitch were fantastic, powering our scrum but both adding a try each and like Thomas it may be been Reilly's best game of his 2 year playing career. He ran like a pro and was a major force on defence.
Our SH Ethan played what seemed like a quiet but technically sound game. Without his digging the ball from the rucks (which we really need to be better at) and getting them to his partner in crime Rhys Patterson we would have had some problems. The Cobourg SH was particularly good at getting on Ethan from set piece and ruck but Ethan never rattled. It allowed Rhys to put in 2 tries of his own and he finished the game with a further 4 converts. It should be noted that of the 4 converts he missed, two hit an upright and one was from the sideline and fell inches short of the uprights.
Cobourg's lone try was scored on a 50m run by our own Lucas Minovski who volunteered in the first half to fill out Cobourg's lineup. Luke DeLuca was the other good sportsman who volunteered to suit up for Cobourg in the 2nd half. That is what rugby is all about. I am extremely proud of these two young men.
The team played well against a solid and well coached side from Cobourg. The 48-5 score did not represent the effort Cobourg put in and the danger they constantly had us under. It was a great game against a very good team.
I'd also like to put a shout out to Kyle Henderson who at the last moment volunteered and travelled to Markham to referee our game. Maybe one of the best referees I have seen handling these young boys who are still learning this wonderful game. His patience to explain calls, correct issues and know when to make calls and when to warn was spectacular. Thanks Kyle.