On one of the hottest opening days in recent memory’s. (But I have had a lot hits to head). But the plus 30 temps sure made the season opener of the 2016 season one we won’t forget with everything going on. With both mens teams in action to kick off the year. First up on the day was a mini festival hosted by the Edmonton Rugby Union, at the festival there were many Crude faces around with children who were suiting up for other clubs. The young Crude definitely boost the respective squads they dressed for. Disappointing from a club aspect as we should have Crude juniors. Well maybe next season we can launch a club junior program and see the Crude kids in action. On to the seniors, the mighty “Black Aces” 3rd division were up first against a well drilled Lloydminister Reapers squad. A early kickoff and reshuffling of the line up saw the Crude with 3 rookies, couple injured, couple 2nd div players filling out the empty spots. The eldest player Ginger opting not to wear his gold shorts for this one and youngest player a couple decades younger and freshly outta diapers sees the game and season get started with some good defense from both side. Lloydminister controlling much of the play, as they did most of the day but Crude playing hard with glimpses of great phase play. Ten minutes in reapers prop breaks the line and busts ahead, Blake Hamula get in front of him and receives a straight arm that might of brought Blake back to his Ukranian dance days. Feet near armpits and face to ground thud… But manages to hang on for the tackle. Continued pressure sees Reapers score to take lead. Crude looking like it the first game of the season with slight handling errors creeping in just when it looked like they would climb back in the game and Lloydminister capitalizing on the chances scoring another three tries before half. After the half the young pairing of Keegan Edwards at scrum half and Teddy Carr at flyhalf showed that there is good young potential in the thirds this season. Both playing hard sees the hard work pay off and Crude finally scores in the game. I believe it was Hamula’s replacement Luke Baker who touched down for the five pointer. Really just a formality as Lloyd controlled the game and grinded out a 39-5 final score. Crude thirds win the boat race to even it up on the day. Good job “Aces” short turn around as next game is Saturday May 14 vs the Pirates. Mean while the defending second division city champions were preparing for the start of their season. With super Saturday not being that super really, Crude a little disorganized sees them miss manage the time and end up with a short near non-existant warm up. Still waiting for the last couple squad members to finish the 3rd div game saw Crude late for kickoff. Dawned in the new black jersey’s Crude kickoff to the Lep pirates. Right from the kick off you could tell there was a sense of Stanley cup hangover as the Crude saw limited ball and lacking the usual intensity at the breakdowns. After some solid defense the Lep Tigers find a way though and rumble some 50 meters for the first score of the game conversion out front of posts missed 5-0 LT’s. Not long after Leps center breaks line again looks like he going to score but no chance with Siti Coko tracking him down and making the try saver 5 meters out. Crude slowly finding there feet from ensuing penalty and start to build some momentum. Which is shortly stopped with some bad timed penalties, from dangerous tackles to breakdown infringements it was clear Crude would have to clean up their game if they were to be successful. Lep Tigers score a try off a turnover and sees them out to a 10-0 lead after conversion again missed 30 minutes into the game. After the score the game got little more testy, as the Crude started to play little with a little bit of edge. A couple squirmishes broke out and the ref starting to hand out cards like candy. LT’s with one in the bin would see Crude break through out wide with Siti Coko and Connor Sher playing the give and go perfectly to score bringing the Crude within 5. Conversion missed from out wide. 10-5 LT’s. half time. Half time saw the Crude huddled under the trees trying to cool down. Couple pukes and a good rally chat from bench boss Gordie Thompson and the boys were ready for a comeback. With LT’s player returning from bin and Richard Pretorious going to the bin for repeat infringements the LT’s strike early going up 15-5. Crude starting to feel the pressure re-group in endzone and stay positive. With little niggly going on what seems every breakdown sees Crude turn ball over and Dylan Pretty steps a few defenders and scampers to the line. Trevor Macaulay makes the convert 15-12 Lep Tigers. Another quick Crude score from the kickoff sees Siti Coko juke and jive around the defense touching down in the corner. Valiant effort on convert hitting post but staying out. Crude first lead of the game 17-15 with 60 minutes gone. More scrappy rugby and a few foul words saw Crude down to 12 guys with three on yellow cards. On the powerplay LT’s use the man advantage overlap and touch down to regain the lead. 20-17 LT’s. Not much time left in the game and both teams back to 15 players, Crude pressure for the tying score. Penalty 22M out and a questionable decision from Macaulay sees a cross field kick land short of intended target where LT’s retain the ball. Time ticking away under 2 minutes when great defensive scrum sees Crude steal the ball from scrum and are away. Another high tackle leads to a penalty 10 meters out. Macaulay makes another decision and instead of trying to tie the game with a penalty kick sees him tap to himself and take on the defense. A couple swerves and bounces off defenders sees him crash over for the Try with under 30 seconds to play. Convert is made by Macaulay Crude up 24-20. New rugby laws states that as long as there is time left on clock after try scored there will be a kickoff. Crude looking to close out game sees the kickoff bobbled around. Ref calls for a knock-on LT’s which ends the game. Crude escape with a narrow late victory 24-20. Post match LT’s are no where to be seen, no hosting, no beers, just tears I guess. Maybe there coach was giving them a bag skate?? I don’t know. So LA Crude promptly invited/challenged there sister club Edson Axeman to a boatrace. These are two power houses when it comes to boatraces. Both teams have great talent. Crude suck back the beers like a D-Luck hydrovac and squeak out the victory. Many more celebratory drinks were had in the sun but not overlooked was the fire in Fort McMurray, with so many people out of home not to mention our brother rugby team from up there the Knights, I ask you look deep and try to give support where possible. We are lucky to be able to play the game we love in the city we love Leduc!! Vi Va LA Crude. See you next weekend for our home opener CRUDE NATION.
As the snow melted early, and the field repairs done just in time (thanks to the volunteers who filled in with sand) the first sevens tournament of the year was on…. Some call it the best weekend of the year JASPER 7’s. A storied tradition of being the start of the rugby season. Once again the Crude boys would be entering there ever exciting mens team in the elite competition, and the CrudeWest girls gearing up in the ladies division. The Crude would stagger into Jasper with the hopes of three peat on the horizon. First up was pool game vs U of A cubs. A game which saw the effects of a late night at the Athabee (team bonding session) saw the university side controlling the ball early. Not long into the game U of A breaks away but great cover defense from Siti Coko saw a perfectly timed ankle tap tackle, some how the ref awarded a penalty to the U of A and saw them spin ball wide where they sped to the try line only to again be met by Siti Coko who’s dive tackle (to save a try) ended up knocking out the ball and the strong runner. The effects of the hit took its toll as Coko was forced to leave with a knee slight knee injury. After the break to help him off the field it was the Crude who started to turn it up. Dylan Pretty starts off the scoring on the day with great run. Followed by his manwife Luke Baker, U of A scores a couple late tries and Crude are trying to regroup. A perfectly timed intercept from Eric Lopatinsky seen the big bird stride away, Trevor Macaulay sealed the win 25-10. After a couple hour break the Men were back at it. this time against the Clan. From the opening kickoff the Crude controlled the play with crafty veteran and Calgary Canuck John Ogilvy dawning the black and yellow again to help the Crude. His restarts all weekend were spot on. Allowing the forwards to contest and on most occasions deliver a big hit. As what happened this game when a perfectly timed hard tackle from Trevor Macaulay cause ball to spurt out where Luke Baker who scoops and dashes towards goal line eventually stopped just short but Dylan Pretty cleans up for the try. Other tries from Macaulay, Lopatinsky, Ogilvy, and Richard Pretorious. Crude win big 31-5. With the win the men finish top of pool A and will face the Calgary Hornets in the semi-finals. Calgary Hornets a constant at the top of the Alberta Cup in 15’s. who were well rested and unseen the night before came ready to play with a big squad. But it was the Crude who were hungry to repeat as champs who came out quick. Coko feeling better after a mid afternoon nap was slicing his way through the defense wanting the ball at every opportunity, showing his true class. Crude play a very well game on both sides of the ball keeping Hornets out of the end zone and win 19-0. With the win it would see Crude go up against the favorites ISL Donkeys. A team made up of 4 team Canada players and the rest prairie wolf pack (defending CRC champs.) But you know what they say, sevens is won on the field. After a little negotiating at the coin toss and Crude being more prepared. Intensity fired up as the ref blew his whistle and the Cup final was on the ball was kicked off into the sun. Crude controls ball, Siti Coko running hard was met at the gain line a few times. Crude recycle the ball and gain confidence. ISL Donkeys proving to be stiff competition force knock on. Ensuing scrum pressure from forwards (Chris Line, Luke Baker, Trevor Macaulay) caused a scramble where Coko pick up and dishes to Dylan Pretty a patent stiff arm to would be Canadian winger Duncan MacGuire sees Pretty sprint off and score under the posts. Convert good Crude up 7-0. Donkeys fire back with some good sevens play spinning ball wide taking advantage of people hiding out wide (catching breath) and Connor Poulin score for ISL. Convert is missed Crude up 7-5 at half time. Second half sees Siti Coko wanting ball off the kick off. Ball retained by Trevor Macaulay and popped to the fleet footed Fijian who weaves his was through the holes and out sprinting Canadian scrum half Jake Robinson, Siti knocks over convert 14-5 Crude. Time winding down ISL Donkeys hungry for the win bear down and grind out a try by Gordie McRorie. The Canadian kicker knocks over the convert 14-12 to the Crude. Time winding down thanks to the pre discussed half length, sees Crude bundled into touch at the half way line. Donkeys quick line out is interrupted by the sounds of full time. A surprised but elated crowd sees the Crude prevail once again in a tight final over a very good ISL Donkey team. 14-12. As for the ladies team fought valiantly in their two games. Winning the first game of the day vs Edson Axeladies in a early morning combat. Second game would see them up against the eventual finalists U of A pandas. The pandas have a very strong program and seen them regularly in the final of tournaments they enter. Pandas prevail with the win and knocking out the CrudeWest in the quarterfinals. The loss definitely did not spoil the mood as a few girls went and played with the GP Sirens where they would lose the plate final to St. Albert I believe. Good work girls. The post tournament festivities are legendary at this tournament. Costumes filled the street and good times were had by all. There was even a Amazing Race contestants sighting as they raced for the pit stop. You never know what you will see at a rugby tourney!! Great showing Crude Nation!!!
Chris Line, Luke Baker, Trevor Macaulay, Siti Coko, John Ogilvy, Dylan Pretty, Eric Lopatinsky (subs) Keegan Edwards, Mike Griko, Richard Pretorious, Blake Hamula, Connor Sher, Rob Ryby. (Manager) Marcus Beyer
Mel Hofstetter, Kennedy Cooper, Kelly Wig, Veronica Haynes, Victoria Gaudin, Allison Gaudin, Jessica Irvine, Allana Irvine, Grace Box, Courtney Abel, Rhea Thomas, Ashley Holtz, Lauren Oscapella, Rena Nerysoo