Bitter loss to Ontario has Rock singing the Blues

John
John Browne
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Losing to Ontario Blues was like having two fingers poked in a open wound.
You could see the disappointment in The Rock players’ eyes and their overall demeanour following the 26-23 loss in CRC league play Saturday at the Swilers Complex.

“When we all are one and one is all

To be a Rock and not to roll.”  

— Stairway to Heaven

Losing to Ontario Blues was like having two fingers poked in a open wound.

You could see the disappointment in The Rock players’ eyes and their overall demeanour following the 26-23 loss in CRC league play Saturday at the Swilers Complex.

You can get beat and not look beaten. The Rock looked beaten. Moreso because it was a rugby game they could have won.

A Rock win wouldn’t have changed the season outcome for the Blues, who won their third straight league championship earlier in the month, but it would have been Ontario’s only loss of the season and The Rock players could have lived with that.

Instead, it was The Blues who looked every bit worthy of a perfect 5-0 season based on the way they played after falling behind a couple of times in the hard-fought match.

Even Rock captain Owen Parfrey had to acknowledge that the Blues deserved another title.

“It’s obviously tough to take,” Parfrey said after shaking hands with the opposition following the game, “but you can see why they (Blues) won the league. They were very consistent and patient.

“When it looked like we had them on the ropes, they came back right away and hats off to them,” said Parfrey.

“They are the standard we have to try to build up to now,” noted the Rock veteran.

Parfrey said although the team’s 1-4 record doesn’t show it, “we’re much better than we were last year.

“There’s enough talent, but we’ve got to toughen our defence and step up our physical play.

“We just need to build up our consistency level. It’s something those (successful) veteran Rock teams had that we are try to still develop.”

There were some brief moments Saturday that reminded the fans of the old Rock teams that played at pace with confidence and flair, but it was like a vapour and, when the players were pushed to the edge, it soon dissipated like the steam in an early morning coffee.

Instead of rising to the occasion, today’s Rock team loses its form in crucial moments like an old party balloon.

You can’t blame the Blues for pointing out the obvious.

“We came to Newfoundland with one goal in mind — to get the perfect season,” said Blues head coach Chris Silverthorn. “And although it was a very close match, we are coming back home as the undefeated champions of the CRC.”

By their celebration after the game, you know the Blues desperately wanted to go unbeaten and beating the Rock at Swilers Complex was icing on the cake.

The Blues’ other wins this season were 50-27 and 11-7 over B.C. Bears and 53-23 over Prairie Wolf Pack.

The Blues beat The Rock twice by a two-game total of less than five points.

That’s the salt in the wound.

The Rock program has too much pride to give up.

The question is, does it have enough talent to keep up?

•••••

Newfoundland rugby legend Rod Snow was in Ottawa recently to help his friend Al Charron and the Ottawa Irish celebrate their 50th year anniversary.

The celebration included a special game that saw Ottawa Irish Classics defeat the Eastern Ontario Old Boys 25-10.

“Considering I was one of the younger guys playing at 43, the game was pretty intense and spirited,” said Snow. “I’m walking a little gingerly today not having played in a year until Saturday.”

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Brownie points

National team player Ciaran Hearn from Conception Bay South said it was good to be back playing in front of a home crowd Saturday. He told me before the CRC game he’d hope the team “put a performance out there that we and the fans are proud of.” As it turned out, the fans stayed loyal to the Rock to the disappointing end. Hearn produced eight of the Rock’s 23 points in the three-point loss to Ontario Blues… Dean Blanks, who recently announced his retirement due to a head injury, performed a ceremonial kick off before the start of Saturday’s CRC game between the home side and the Ontario Blues. I can’t recall the last time a local player was given that honour... Lots of negative reaction to my Christine Sinclair rant last week, but that’s fine. People have every right to disagree with me. Most people do. In any case, Sinclair continues to give one-on-one interviews to the national media. She gave one to CTV News last week after being told she would be honoured with a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. She was also quoted in the national newspapers. Look, I realize no one cares if I got that interview or not, but it is my job and that was my assignment that night. I’m not interested in sharing my questions with other media. And, yes, I admit I’m not as cute as Wendy Mesley — that well-known soccer mavin — though I may have better legs.

Organizations: Ontario Blues

Geographic location: Ontario, Ottawa, Newfoundland Canada

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