It was a perfect day for rugby. On Saturday, May 27th, the Assassins RFC woke up to a sunny day for their season opener. After seven weeks of hard work and training, players were ready to hit the pitch.
The Assassin women were the first team to make their debut for the 2017 season. A strong squad of veterans and promising rookies faced the Brandon Barbarians in their home opener. The ladies quickly stormed to an early lead as the forward pack dominated the contact point, allowing the back line to use their speed and take advantage of a thinly spread defense. Clean catches and quick support allowed the women to continue their advance after every try, leading to a commanding 32-0 lead by half time.
The second half continued with more of the same as the Assassin women quickly re-established their ball control on the field. Scoring efforts from nine different players led to a final score of 71-0 in favour of the Assassin women. While the entire team put forward a solid effort, Faith Gushulak was named Lady of the Match for her strong runs, communication, and drive throughout the game. Honourable mentions also went to Breanne Berke for her control of the back line and Lita Worobec for quick hands and a strong breakout performance at inside center.
The Assassin men also faced off against the Brandon Barbarians in their season opener. The reigning champions got off to a quick start, driving forward to establish an early lead with a try from coach Jarett McLaughlin. The Barbarians couldn’t seem to get their footing against the speed of the Assassin offense. Scoring efforts from both the forward pack and back line led the men to a 44-0 lead at the half.
The Assassin men continued the second half as they finished the first, dominating the breakdown and allowing for very clean ball delivery. The Assassin forwards also set a very strong scrum, holding the Barbarian forwards and allowing the back line to make short work of the defense. The Assassin men capped the day with a commanding final score of 96-0, with both Jarett McLaughlin and fly half Justin Mackay running in a hat trick. Man of the Match went to Jade Billington for his dominant performance on the flank and at the breakdown. Honourable mentions also went to Bobby McKay and Daniel Strang for their ball control and leadership on the pitch.
Like any good rugby club, the Assassins finished their night off with a celebration. The club would like to thank Derek Morgan for hosting the season kickoff BBQ, and the Limelight for enduring what is sure to be the first of many nights of Assassins karaoke this year. After such a strong start, it will be exciting to see what the season has in store. The Assassins next test will be on Thursday, June 1st as the Assassin women play the Sturgeon Creek Rowdies, the 1st Division men take on the Wasps, and the Assassins 2nd and 3rd Division men go head to head.
Written by: Megan McManes
Photos: Stephanie Setka