On this very hot and dry day - the PK Girls prevailed with a buzzer beater try at literally the last seconds of the game by Kendall Dewitt to win 15-10 to earn a spot in the Division 1 finals next Thursday at Ellerslie against rival Bev Facey. It was truly a wonderfully hard fought victory and we can all be very proud of how these young ladies represented 'the old blue and white today'!
The game opened up with both teams needing to feel each other out in terms of strengths and weaknesses. As it was so hot, the pace of the game was not frenetic but several turnover balls were exchanged as both teams dealt out punishing tackles between the 22s. Finally, scrum half Emily Dewitt was able to bust loose with her sister Kendall Dewitt from flank on her hip. Emily drew in the defenders and then popped a nice pass up to Kendall who ran it in for the score - no convert was made and PK was up 5-0. McNally then cam alive and pressed but the PK D line held up strong by pressing and causing a lot of turnover ball. The kick game also became a factor as scrum half Emily Dewitt made a few timely box kicks that her winger Desiree Rose and her standoff Sarah Weihmann were able to chase down deep. Again, the turnover ball from McNally knock on caused a PK scrum around half. Once again the forwards dug deep and Kendall Dewitt was able to take a ball off a beautifully counterrucked ruck that props Reed Andruchow and Joelly Bragg along with 8 Sydney De La Mare were able to drive McNally off of. She (Kendall) then skirted outside for a beautiful try in the corner. Again, with weird swirling winds at field level, the convert was missed and PK was up 10-0 to close out quarter 1.
The heat continued to be a factor and the hard, dry field (basically like concrete to fall on) became a factor as well creating plenty of turnover ball to both sides. However, play remained basically between the 22s as teams kicked for touch and scrummed down a ton with all the knock ons to both sides and no one punched it in - score remained 10-0 PK. The backline made some huge tackles to keep us in this one led by Katryne Pharis at inside center and McKenna Marthiensen at Standoff, Ainsley McKinnon at outside centre as well as Amelie Gautier at Full Back and both wingers Camilla Hollody and Desiree Rose. One can also not miss the punishment dealt out all game long by Kendall Dewitt at flank and her sister Emily at scrum half. But alas the heat started to really play a role as several PK athletes needed to take a break in quarter 3 - including both team captains - just such a hot day.
This is when McNally really turned up the pressure on PK. Most of the quarter was played inside our half so the girls had to dig deep and play strong defense off their backfoot for most of the quarter. PK also took an unfortunate penalty and had a player sin binned so ended up playing down a man for 10 minutes as well. To their credit, the girls found that next gear and despite the heat and punishing tackles required, they were able to hold McNally back several times inside their 22 but did eventually concede 2 tries to the outside but McNally really had to fight for them. After the penalty was over, PK rallied hard, kicked for touch a few times in a row to get out of danger and managed to kill the clock.
Well, here we had a brand new game - it was tied up and the way the teams were slugging it out, the next score was likely to take the game. Both teams had excellent series or phases of play but remained between the 22s as kicking or strong tackling to out of bounds led to slowing it up. That however changed when PK scrum half Emily Dewitt very smartly took the quick lineout ball around half whipping it in to a waiting Hannah Clarks' hands. This totally caught McNally off guard and PK was able to advance for the first time of the half deep into McNally territory inside their 22. After some fierce forward running by Kaylee Boggart, Sydney De La Mare, Joely Bragg and Reed Andruchow, the tired McNally side was forced into a slew of late penalties close to their 5 M line. With seconds left on the clock, they had an injury timeout just as PK was awarded a penalty. After some debate, the PK squad decided to run it - again, Kendall Dewitt went to work; she took the pop up and ran outside for the buzzer beating try! Convert was unsuccessful but it was just enough to secure the win as the referee blew the final whistle.
What a game and what an amazing group of dedicated and tough girls. They truly deserve any accolades you can send their way - battered and bruised but strong and resolved to the end - true team victory today. To quote one of my favorite bands Great Big Sea
"Let them say what they want, 'they' won't stop trying, oh you know
'they' might stumble, if they push 'them' 'round
'they' might fall, but they'll never lie down
That sums this team up - never quit, never say never - they just dig deep and find it together to the end.
PK Rugby Rocks
NEXT ACTION : PREMIER FINAL - Thursday, may 26 - Ellerslie - time TBA
April 27: Hello Sports Fans! Welcome to another exciting season of "scrumming around".
Let me start by saying that if you have never experienced a live rugby game - this is the year that you cannot afford to miss. We have a very dynamic lineup of amazingly talented veterans and some surprise standout rookies that are really coming together into a solid rugby unit! I know, it sounds like I'm biased as their coach; but, if you ask around in the community, you will hear much the same. One of our Grade 12's was even recently selected to the Under 18 Team Canada 7s travelling squad and played games in England! It is always an exciting spectator sport but this year is even more special given the talent level and the level of rugby (we are playing in Division 1 for the first time in 4 years-so the competition is also very talented). What it basically comes down to is an awesome spectacle when we take the field and, as a bonus, we have 3 home games this season!
Game Story: Quarter 1
No coach alive can ask for a better start to game 1 of the season. PK girls lined up to receive the kick off, caught it in the air and ran it down the length of the field for a beautiful try by team captain and scrum half Emily Dewitt. Caught Ross Shep napping and had an early lead. After that, both teams settled into a bit of a groove and it became a bit of a cat and mouse game in between the 22's until once again PK broke out - this time again led by Emily Dewitt but followed beautifully in support down the wing by Camilla Hollody. As Emily drew in the opposition fullback, she took the hit and popped the ball up to a waiting Camilla who scored the easy try under the posts. It was rugby in its purest sense - sacrifice oneself for the good of the team. Ross Shep would however answer with their own nice strike to the outside after some great ball handling inside the PK 22 and it was 10-5. To close out the 1st quarter however, it was the back's turn. After a great and clean scrum win by hooker Lauren Barter, StandOff McKenna Marthiensen delivered a beautiful switch pass to a streaking Kathryne Pharis around midfield and she proceeded to pound through the heart of the Shep defense to score in the corner to make it 15-5.
As we had a bit of a lead, we made some changes at the quarter but Shep kept all of their starters in and put the hammer down. From the opening scrum to the end of the quarter, the ball stayed on the PK half of the field. It then became a brutal contest of wills and heart to see who would bend and break. Not once, not twice but 4 times inside the 5M line the PK girls held their own and managed to get under the ball to stop Shep from scoring. Quite a feat indeed! Shep remained relentless however and kept on driving at a tiring PK squad. However, to their credit and led by the punishing tackling of Sydney DeLaMare, Kathryne Pharis, Hanna Clarke, Kennedy Palmer and newcomer Jessica Currie at fullback PK was able to come out conceding only one score so it was 15-10.
Being the tight contest it was, we had to go back to the starting 15 to close out the game here - tired but with buoyed spirits from their herculean goal line stands, the team erupted again in the 3rd. Here again, it was a Dewitt sister who led the surge. When PK was close to the goal line, Kendall Dewitt took a penalty ball and pierced through the line for a score outside to make it 20-10 and give us some breathing room. Struggling in the wind neither team converted any trys and lineouts were a challenge so both teams ran the ball on most penalty opportunities. Tiring work for the front 8 but they took to it like champs and held our ground yet again. Score remained 20-10 going into the home stretch.
If you know anything about rugby, the best teams find a second gear in the 4th quarter and find a way to put some distance between themselves and their opponents on the board. Our squad proved to be one of those - when it counted, they somehow dug down deeply and just plain out-willed the other team. Ross Shep put up a battle but our fitness and desire won the day. Firstly, we rucked huge on opening set, stole a ball off the back and forced Shep into a penalty situation. After that, the pods ran hard up the gut and Sydney DeLaMare was able to break loose and touch it down for the score (her first of 2 on the quarter- later to close the game out, she busted off the back of a scrum on our side of centre and just plain outran the other team to score under the posts but she looked for help the whole way down like the solid teammate that she is). Emily Dewitt added our first convert of the day on a dropkick to that 2nd score and we were at 32-10. She (Emily D) would later add a final score for our team by running outside off a ruck around the opposing 22 to touch it down in the corner - PK 37-Shep 10 and that is where it finished.
Overall - it was an amazing effort by the team and I am happy to report that all healthy athletes who were dressed for the game played minutes as we were able to substitute a couple late in the game. Great start to the season!
PK Rugby Rocks!
Thanks to Glenn Freeman for the Pictures!