NEW GLASGOW – Redemption.
Tuesday, in rematches of the 2013 NSSAF regional rugby finals, both North Nova teams won the banners they watched go to their opponents a year ago.
“Honestly as a second year, I was in the game last year, but this is unbelievable,” said Paige Clarke about her team’s regional championship victory. “This is what we worked for all season. Since day one this is what we wanted.
“It just showed we are number one in the region and that we do deserve to be at provincials, not just because we’re hosting.”
The Gryphons won the girl’s final 29-5 over the CEC Cougars.
Caroline Straub led their offense with a try, a penalty kick and three conversions. Keeley MacCuish and Lindsay Feit continued the strong offensive presence they have had all season as MacCuish added two tries, while Feit scored one.
Karen Hu had the lone Cougars try.
North Nova was all over CEC in the first half, scoring all 29 of their points before halftime. In the second half the Cougars pressured for much of the half, but the Gryphons backs were able to hold the line and keep CEC to the lone try, which they scored near the sideline.
“We definitely need to work on keeping our energy high, especially in the second half,” said Clarke. “We need to keep our rucks, keep our feet, just everything. (We also need to) not get too stressed out or tired. It all makes a difference in the end.”
Last season’s loss in the regional final by North Nova came in Truro. With the game in New Glasgow this year Clarke believes the support from the school, parents and friends, made a difference.
Next week the Gryphons will have the same home-field advantage as they host the provincial championship June 6-7. With their regional victory they will go in as the number one seed. The Cougars will be seeded lower as the second Northumberland region representative.
“It’s really exciting because we knew we would have that (home-field advantage), but still it’s here and we don’t have to travel,” she said. “It’s a great feeling to be able to play (provincials) here at home.”
BOYS: North Nova 45 Hants East 10
Michael Jordan and his Grade 12 teammates will go out on top – regional champions – although there is another banner they have their eyes on.
“As a Grade 12 there is no better feeling," said Jordan. "You can't imagine what it feels like to be here after all we've worked for this year. It's (winning the regional championship) the best feeling you could possibly imagine, it really is."
North Nova won 45-10 over Hants East on Thursday, which gives them the higher seeding heading into next week’s provincials.
Although both teams knew going into the game that they would be attending provincials, according to Jordan it didn’t take away from the win.
"Not at all because we wanted to get this win for the sole purpose of the banner," he said. "The ultimate goal is still to win the provincial championship."
Team co-captain Darryl Wheadon led his team with two tries and five conversions. Mark Vokey and Ryan MacDonald each scored two apiece, while Cole Livingstone added one.
In the regular season each team won a game apiece, but yesterday Jordan said they had little doubt they would be able to win.
"We just wanted to stick to our game plan," he said. "We knew a lot about them having played them twice already this year. We knew if we stuck to our game plan that we could pull off a win."
Heading into provincials he said the team will continue to work on their plays and conditioning, but overall they feel confident that they have a shot at being competitive with the provinces best.
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris