Most people think going on a sea cruise would be relaxing. The trip to Victoria was no different. The only downer on this road trip was that we had to leave at 7:00 a.m. This was earlier than the 8:00 a.m. departure to Seattle. Nevertheless, 20 hardy Twits showed up for the ride. This included the surprise return of our two regular trainers, from their hiatus, and one Twit on the injury list. Fortunately, Chuck, Dirk, Mike K. and Dan Berg met us in Victoria. This bolstered our playing number to 21, of which 4 wore red. Ebb tide had a few more players and one yellow shorts. Cheered on by a handful of fans we took the field.
The start of the game did not show us at our best. After playing on our heels for the first five minutes, the crimson Tide scored their first try by cutting through a channel from 30 m out. Fortunately, Lance replied with a try of his own. Receiving the ball from a line out, he ran untouched through the Tide and scored from midfield. By this time, we were able to shake off our sea legs (we got that from the ferry ride) and our defense stiffened. Led by JR, Lolly, and Dirk, we were able to stifle their offence. JR and Lolly made several tackles off their scrum and Dirk made a few try saving tackles in the open field. This was Dirk’s full game as fullback, as Rick was moved up to play on the back line. That did not discourage the Tide, they ran it into our endzone, but could not touch it down as we held them up. Nevertheless, they did score a few minutes later off a 5 m scrum.
The defensive struggle continued in the second quarter. We continued to tackle their players as they were receiving the ball. This allowed us to prevent them from making any long runs. We finally created a break of our own. Lance received the ball off a scrum and once again was able to make one of his patent runs down the field and scored. Just as the first half was ending we knotted the score at two. Although we played well in the first half, it did cost us. Rick re-injured his shoulder/chest, and Handball, back from a two-week hiatus, sustained an upper body injury as well.
Normally, TJ’s half time speech is exciting enough, but on this occasion, one Twit couldn’t keep it together and had to answer the call of nature in the middle of the field. This caused quite an uproar on the side line from the fans. Coach Peewee, always the diplomat, apologized to the crowd and did what he could to appease the complainants. We think someone will be taken to court for his indiscretion.
The third quarter was a mirror image of the second quarter. Neither team could score even though both teams had ample opportunities. The defence dominated both sides of the ball. Our feisty winger, Lauren, made her first full on tackle. As the Tide was inching down the field, Lauren tackled the ball carrier by jumping on his back. (See photo below) With both arms around his chest, she stopped the play cold. The amusing aftermath of this tackle was that the ball carrier complained vociferously about a high tackle from our 110 lbs. Lauren. He was fortunate that it was not Moose or Ted that jumped on his back. Another highlight was when Ted broke through the line and rumbled for 35+ m down the field. He was ahead of the entire team and looked like a cinch to score. Unfortunately, he had another 40 m to go. Ted wisely passed off to TJ who was stopped by the defenders.
Things finally opened in the 4th quarter. Because of injuries, Coach Peewee gambled and put on 4 red shorts at the same time. We also changed our game plan as well. Instead of pounding the ball down the pitch after a penalty, Lance kicked the ball out bounds to gain field position. This worked brilliantly. One of his kicks resulted in a 10 m lineout. Mark, threw the ball in, which was secured by Lolly and cleaned up by TJ. Instead of passing the ball out, we kept it in the maul and pushed it into the endzone. TJ’s try gave us our only lead in the game. We were unable to hold the Tide off the scoresheet as they scored their third try moments later. As the game was ending, the Tide made one final attempt to break the tie. Starting in their own end, their big center received the ball, raced around our winger and sprinted toward our endzone. Dirk gave chase and was closing the gap but it was too much to make up. At our 40m line, Dirk dove for his legs and just missed tripping him up. It should have been an easy game clinching try, but at the 10 m line, the ball carrier collapsed and was lying on his back. Lauren and some other Twits secured the ball and the game ended in a fitting draw. It was every player’s nightmare; he pulled his hamstring and was incapacitated. What really happened? According to Dirk, when he missed the tackle, he got up, waved his fingers at him, and used his voodoo powers to cause him to collapse.
Final score: 3-3
Like we noted before, road wins are hard to come by. In this case, a tie was almost as satisfying. Both teams played well and the draw was very fitting. Many of our players played out of position and did a bang-up job. Gord played the full game as centre and did amazingly well. Mike Kajander was named forward of the game and Lance was named back of the game by the Tide. JR received the Twilighter Belt for his stellar contributions. We enjoyed their pulled pork dinner and made it back in time to catch the 5:00 p.m. ferry instead of our scheduled 6:00 p.m. sailing. The only disappointment to a great trip was the buffet not being open on our ferry ride back.