In Kootenay Rugby Union action the Trail Colonials suffered a setback as they bowed to a formidable Cranbrook Rogues side on Saturday at Upper Sunningdale Park.
Prior to Saturday’s match, all three teams had a record of 1-1, as Nelson shocked Cranbrook 46-21 in Nelson on May 12.
Cranbrook showed up overconfident and undermanned in that game, and were determined not to make the same mistake twice.
On Saturday, the Rogues showed up with a considerably stronger side. Conversely, the Colonials fielded a team that lacked experience at important positions.
“The plan was to play a territorial game because of the matchup and Bryan (Lauzon) kicked for yards every chance he got to start the game,” said Colonial spokesman Ryan Molofy.
The ploy succeeded in keeping the Cranbrook side at bay for the first 20 minutes. Trail even had a chance to take the lead off a penalty kick but it flew wide.
“Over the course of the first half, we were constantly on defense due to Cranbrook’s ability to create overlaps and that started to wear us down,” said Molofy.
The Rogues capitalized, scoring two trys by halftime. But with the game getting away, tempers began to flare.
The Colonials lost a player to a red-card and the Rogues lost some players to injury as both teams played short-handed.
In the second half, it was more of the same. Cranbrook dominated in the lineouts, winning almost all of them.
The Rogues pounded in three more trys as the Colonials struggled to find defensive support. As in the last game, Cranbrook’s kicking was hot, making every conversion but one.
The game would have been even more of a blowout if not for strong tackling by fullback Cody McIntyre. Following a couple of penalties by Cranbrook on their own goal line, Colonials captain Lauzon was able to stretch a try over the line for the last play of the game to make it 33-7.
“The way the season is shaping up, we are hoping that Nelson loses to Cranbrook in Cranbrook this weekend and then we have to beat Nelson in Nelson on June 9,” he added. Nelson is looking good this year, buoyed by a cohort of graduates from their strong high school program, which was set up 4 or 5 years ago.
If, however, Nelson beats Cranbrook, Trail must beat Nelson and hope the bonus points work out in their favour. Bonus points can be awarded by finishing within 7 points in a game or scoring 4 trys during a match.
The winner of regular season play hosts the KRU finals June 16.