The Tantramar Titans are on the prowl and if anybody harboured any doubt they need only to look at the results of the semifinals for the provincial high school rugby championship for young ladies.
The Titans strongly resembled their football brothers on Sunday afternoon as they zigged and zagged to a 36-0 half time lead and coasted to a 54-12 victory over St. Malachy’s Macs and face just one more challenge before hanging another NBIAA championship banner in the school gymnasium.
The other semi-final game was played earlier this week between Moncton High and Hampton.
If Moncton won, the provincial final will be held here in Sackville on Friday, but if Hampton won the game will be played on their home field.
Their one-sided victories came at the expense of Riverview, Bernice MacNaughton, Miramichi Valley, James M. Hill, Harrison Trimble and Riverview.Tantramar and Moncton ended regular season competition with identical six win-one tie-no loss records, but the Titans earned first place in the North-East Division due to having fewer points allowed.
Coach Lorissa Johnson said the easy semi-final win came as a bit of a surprise as St. Mac’s easily won their division. However, she said the Titans had been able to practice during the week – many days had been missed due to the weather – and they were well prepared although excited and a little nervous.
Actually, because of the extreme rains the David Jardine Field has been closed for the remainder of the school year and Sunday’s match was staged on the Lorne Street field under damp conditions.
But the local squad wasted no time – they crossed the goal line early and often and refused to give the visitors any opportunities. With a roster of 50, coach Johnson was able to utilize many of her substitutes and they all came three with flying colours.
As usual, it was the Grant sisters – Sara and Vanessa, the Davis twins – Jessie and Kylas – and Ashley Sherwood carrying the bulk of the mail, while the defense was tough in limiting the visitors to brief periods with the ball.
Five Titans have been selected to play for Team New Brunswick this summer – tournaments will be held in Prince Edward Island and Ontario. With the U18 squad are the Grant sisters while with the U16 squad are Margie Faulkner, Hannah O’Neal and Alexa Stodin.
Coach Johnson says that while several key players will be graduating later this month she is confident the program is geared for success well into the future. The game has really caught on, attracting huge number to try out each year and there will be at least a couple of dozen reserves prepared to step up.
It took a few years to evolve but a year ago the Titans went through the season with just one loss – that to Moncton – and as a result missed advancing along the playoff trail.
“Moncton has given us problems over the years,” says Johnson, “so this year we are hoping to meet them here the day after tomorrow and take them down. We are confident we have the better team and feel this is our year.”