NEW GLASGOW – A few feet to the right and the game could’ve had a significant change in the final result.
Luckily for the North Nova Gryphons girls rugby team a last minute kick by Halifax West was wide and they held on for a 7-5 victory to open the NSSAF provincial rugby championship yesterday in New Glasgow.
North Nova opened the first half with a large amount of the possession, but booming kicks by Halifax West throughout the half relieved the pressure and allowed for the occasional push down field. Neither team scored before halftime, although North Nova’s Caroline Straub had a penalty kick opportunity, they had the ball held up on the line and in the final minutes the Gryphons were consistently within feet of the try zone.
In the second half the same possession play by North Nova continued and eventually they were able to push themselves over the line for the opening try of the game. Hailey Conley capped off the drive, which looked like Halifax might be able to stop as they held three North Nova players back from the line.
“I was just thinking ‘you need drop the shoulder and push as hard as you can,’” said Conley about her thought process when she scored. “I saw the line and I just drove the ball to it and laid on top of it, making sure nobody else’s hands were under it.”
Straub made no mistake on the conversion to give North Nova the 7-0 lead with under 10 to play.
In the final stretch Halifax West grabbed the momentum and eventually Brianna O’Malley would score to give them a chance to tie. They missed the conversion kick as the final whistle blew.
“It was such a relief,” said Conley. “There’s just a little bit of panic when you’re standing there at the line, but her to miss was a great relief, especially when that final whistle was blown.
“We were just hoping the wind came up or it falls. You’re just hoping that it misses.”
In their second game of the day North Nova defeated Riverview 45-0 to finish 2-0 in their pool and advance to Saturday.
Straub led the team with two tries and five converts, while Keeley MacCuish and Lily MacDonald also each scored two tries. Chay Heath scored one try to round out the Gryphons scoring.
They will now face Citadel High School in Saturday’s semifinal at 10 a.m. at Northumberland.
“We just need to keep doing what we’re doing,” said coach Dougal MacInnis. “We’re into a last chance situation and need to leave it all on the field.”
North Nova 7 vs. Halifax West 5
Avon View 5 vs. CEC 5
Halifax West 31 vs. Riverview 0
Citadel 22 vs. CEC 12
North Nova 45 vs. Riverview 0
Avon View 15 vs. Citadel 5
North Nova 14 vs. Citadel 22
KES 12 vs. Hants East 8
Citadel 36 vs. Glace Bay 0
Dartmouth 27 vs. Hants East 14
North Nova 51 vs. Glace Bay 0
KES 10 vs. Dartmouth 5
Saturday, June 7
10 a.m. Girls semi - Avon View vs. Halifax West at NNEC
10 a.m. Girls semi - North Nova vs. Citadel at NRHS
11 a.m. Boys semi - KES vs. North Nova at NNEC
11 a.m. Boys semi - Citadel vs. Dartmouth at NRHS
2 p.m. Girls final
3 p.m. Boys email@example.com On Twitter: @NGNewsChris