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Week 1 – St Annes

Points for Week 1 available here
Cards for Week 1 available here

First XV

Write-up to come

Second XV

Saturday dawned wet and gray, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the lads who headed out to the west island to do battle against hated cross-town rivals. The team met at Momesso’s pretty much on time, a departure from standard Wanderers practice, but a welcome change. The gym at Ecole St. Georges was open to both men’s and women’s sides and provided a dry place to get kitted out and leave our bags for the duration of the afternoon.

Just after halftime of the game preceding our own, the team began to warm up on a junior soccer pitch, getting a good stretch in before breaking into backs and forwards for some position-specific work. Captains were called, and the team linked up for some final pre-game reps.

The final whistle blew for the women’s match, so we jogged over to our sidelines and had our cleats checked. Following some last minute words from the coach, we all took our places just behind midfield. Kevin Elliott picked up the ball, the whistle blew, and our season began.

We started out pressing St Annes hard right off the kickoff, recovering our own ball and putting several phases together right off the mark. Securing clean ball and strong support quickly lead the team deep into the opposing 22, where we found ourselves with a penalty on the 5m line following and off-side and subsequent mouthing-off from St Annes. Unfortunately we were unable to capitalize on the field position, missing out on an early 5 points. After being driven back a bit and securing a penalty off-center and outside the 22, Chris Pam missed his first attempt of the season and the Wanderers missed out on another 3 points.

St Annes was then able to hold off some more Wanderers pressure for the next few minutes, before some solid play allowed them to work their way into the Wanderers’ half. A penalty lead to a line-out deep in Wanderers territory, and a well executed drive off the line-out resulted in a try being awarded to St Annes. The conversion was missed and St Annes went back to their half up 5 points to nil.

Not to be outdone, the Wanderers came back hard through several minutes of back and forth rugby. The drive was almost stalled following the Yellow Card for Panos Marmara, penalized for dangerous play while rolling after a tackle with his feet in the air (almost hitting a St Anne’s player in the face). Whether this should have been a card at all is a matter for some debate, but the net result was the same – Wanderers down to 14 men for 10 minutes.

Following some strong play by the depleted pack and some nifty lines from the backs, winger Innocent Ahorukemeye found himself with ball in hand and only the goal line ahead of him. Keeping ahead of pursuit, Innocent reached the goal and touched the ball down, drawing the Wanderers even at 5’s. Chris Pam added the conversion, and the Wanderers were ahead 7-5. A short while later the whistle blew, and the team took a 2 point lead into the break.

The 2nd half didn’t start as well as the first, with the Wanderers seemingly on the back foot right from the start. We were unable to secure possession for any prolonged period, and were relegated to defense for the majority of the 2nd frame. After several goal-line stands and a thwarted attempt at the line-out/drive combination that had netted St Anne’s their first points, the centers got involved and St Anne’s went over for their second major of the game. The St Annes kicker slotted the convert and the Wanderers jogged back to midfield down 12-7.

The Wanderers remained on the defensive for the balance of the match, though there were some signs of life. Working themselves into the St Anne’s half, the Wanderers were faced with a “points-or-line-out” decision. Trailing by 5, the decision was made to kick for touch and make an attempt for the try. As had happened far too often throughout the afternoon, we were unable to win our own ball from set piece, and St Anne’s was able to kick away and relieve the pressure.

With 5 minutes to go, the Wanderers found themselves defending on their own 22. St Annes worked the ball to their centers then chipped back inside. The St Annes’ flyhalf narrowly won the race to the ball, chipping ahead again and falling on the ball in the in-goal. The conversion was missed, and St Annes was ahead 17-7. Three minutes later the ref blew his whistle to end the match, ending any chance the Wanderers had to narrow the gap and secure a bonus point in the loss.

It was a fair start to the season, but both backs and forwards have some improvements to make before facing the Ottawa Irish in week 2 (May 28th, at home).

Man of the Match

Johnny Yu – The personification of the phrase “its not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog”, Johnny Yu easily made half the tackles for the Wanderers. He repeatedly brought down players twice his weight and significantly taller, only to stand back up and do it again the very next phase. He set an example that the rest of us will be struggling all season to live up to. Well done, Johnny!

Newly Capped Wanderers

The first game of a new season naturally brings with it a crop of new Wanderers. Earning their first cap wearing the black-and-baby-blue were:

  • Panos Marmara
  • Fahim Moussi
  • Kevin Elliott
  • Parnell Adam
  • Stephen O’Neill
  • Kuzi Murwira
  • Jonathan Chammas
  • Eric Pam

Welcome to all the new Wanderers.

Final Score: St Annes-17, Montreal Wanderers-7

Next Match: Saturday, May 28th – Home, against the Ottawa Irish

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