On Sunday, June 26th, the Charlottetown Mudmen RFC stopped in Enfield for the second game of a weekend swing through Nova Scotia. Enfield RFC came into the game confident, winners of their first two Division 3 games. This game was a chance to show their stuff against the hardware contenders from PEI.
The Mudmen set the tone early, with quick passes through their backs. Enfield’s defense looked hesitant, unsure of defensive responsibilities. This allowed PEI’s outside center to break through and score in the corner not long after the opening kick.
Enfield answered with great runs by Chuck “Charles” Chuck and Sam “Alfred” MacDonell. Enfield pinned the Mudmen against their try-line for several minutes, including a 22-dropout block. Then PEI exposed Enfield’s defense again, scoring from their own side through deft footwork.
PEI maintained the pressure after the kickoff. Enfield forwards Connor MacIntosh, Jason “Mr.Div1” Purcell, Brandon “BMoney” Horne, Mikey McNamara and Justin Dunn ran several crash plays, rucking with ferocity. But some unfortunate penalties and knock-ons gave Charlottetown possession on Enfield’s side. PEI’s fly-half ran several dummy lines off a scrum and scored uncontested, much to the dismay of the Jack Heald. The Mudmen converted the try to lead 17-0 at the first water break.
“Somebody hit somebody,” said Coach Joel Doyle, fresh stress-freckles appearing on his cheeks.
Both teams settled into crash-and-bang rugby after the break. After runs and huge tackles made by both sides, Tyler “Champ” LeBlanc bounced off three Mudmen defenders to score a try. Matt Taylor, still distraught about the Brexit vote, missed the convert.
PEI found space after the restart and pushed Enfield back to its try-line. The referee called a penalty on Enfield in a mountainous ruck, drawing the ire of the local crowd in the bleachers at the Lion’s Den. A PEI flanker crashed in for a try after the restart.
Then Alex “Barrel” Malay showed why he is on the U23 Provincial Team, scoring two highlight-reel tries in a row. Potato-colored players littered the field in his wake after both efforts. Matt Taylor, unable to get over that a rugby ball looks like Boris Johnson’s head, ceded kicking responsibilities to Cam “Insert Nickname Here” Farnell. Cam converted the second try to make the score 22-17 at half.
Veterans Ryan Dickie and Justin Dunn gave defense tips at half, while Coach Joel Doyle hit Derrek “Beakman” Head with his Clipboard. Beakman promised to be more like Alex Malay.
The scoring disappeared after the break for both teams. The baking heat sapped all energy, and everyone looked tired. Frustrations mounted and the referee handed out three yellow cards in the first fifteen minutes after half. PEI’s scrum-half broke the deadlock by finishing a series of nice passes to score in the corner.
With fresh legs after his referee-imposed rest, Justin “Justice” Dunn took a pass from Alex Malay to score near the end of the game. With the final whistle, the scoreboard showed 39-22, for Charlottetown Mudmen RFC.
The Men of the Match honours went to Justin Dunn for Enfield RFC, and to PEI’s fly-half.
Ever the metronome, Daniela Mayo knocks over another shot at goal
In the second game of a Sunday fun day double-header at the Lion’s Den, Enfield RFC’s women’s team played the Under-18 Provincial team.
SaraLynne Knockwood started the game with a huge run for Enfield, brought down just before the try-line by the speedy U18 backs. Those same backs turned the pressure around and pushed Enfield into their end to defend. The U18s found the try-zone first, scoring off a scrum near Enfield’s uprights.
Enfield RFC’s Adrienne “Look where we are ladies” MacDonald went for a run after the restart, breaking through several tackles to score a try. Daniella Mayo made the convert to make the score 7-7.
Then Enfield dominated play as the U18s struggled to make tackles on veteran players. Enfield RFC’s Tasha Mckenzie and Becca MacDonnell each scored tries after hard work by players such as Emma Julien, Ashley K. Ettinger, and Megan Sullivan.
The U18s found their speed again after some lapses, and put pressure on Enfield. They put together a great series of passes to score a try before half, bringing the score to 17-14.
When asked what he though of their performance so far, Enfield RFC Women’s Coach, Drew “Heman” Hutt, added: “Put a picture of me giving the thumbs-up.”
After Becca MacDonnell made a brilliant try-line tackle, the U18s kept their intensity up and scored another try to take the lead. The Lion’s Den bleachers, filled with parents of the U18 girls, cheered their daughters’ performance.
The U18s lapsed on defense shortly after, and Enfield RFC regained its lead. Amy Fraser, Tasha Mckenzie and Emma Julian each scored tries, making the score 39-19.
Just when they looked exhausted from the scorching sun, the U18s found their reserve energy. They pinned Enfield against their try-line for long minutes, touching the ball down for another try after hard work from their forwards.
A few minutes later, Enfield found space to run again. Courtney Ettinger, coming out of retirement for the game, helped set-up Megan Sullivan for a try. Then Ashley K Ettinger offloaded to Amy Fraser for another try. Daniela Mayo made both converts.
With the U18s set to play in the Eastern Canadian Championships in New Brunswick from July 12th - 16th, the girls worked hard to impress Coach Mary Giles and secure playing spots. The girls showed determination at the end of the game, scoring another try. The final score was 52-31 for Enfield RFC.