ALMA – The NRHS Nighthawks are heading back to high school rugby provincials.
In a qualifying game played May 28 against King’s-Edgehill, the ’Hawks built a 21-0 lead on two tries from Justin MacLennan and another from Gavin Bourque, and held off their opponents to win 21-12 and reach the N.S. championship tournament.
“I can’t wait to get another chance at it,” said MacLennan, who also booted three conversions and is, along with Bailey Pye, one of the team captains. “We hope to win it again.”
The Nighthawks will be looking for their second straight provincial banner and will be joined by their cross-county rival NNEC Gryphons, who beat the Nighthawks 15-10 on May 23 to win the regional banner. It was the only loss the Nighthawks incurred this season.
“(NNEC is) a good team, they’ve got a great defence and they shut us down,” MacLennan said of the regional final.
This will be Matt Chediac’s third time at provincials; the Gryphons won the banner in his Grade 9 year but haven’t made it as far since. “We improved a lot from the start of the season, just experience-wise, and our work ethic’s improved.
“The Grade 12 guys are really excited for this, especially the ones who have been playing for a while now,” Chediac added.
“For sure, our goal would be nothing less than gold.”
Provincials will be played this weekend at Avon View in the Annapolis Valley. The NNEC girls team is also taking part, after they romped to the regional banner on May 21 with a 48-5
victory over the CEC Cougars. The Nighthawk girls rugby team are also heading to provincial for the first time in 16 years, and this is the first time ever that all four teams in the county are competing for a championship.
Victoria Straub is still in search of her first provincial banner at North Nova; this is her team’s straight year at provincials.
“This year, I have a good feeling that we’ll finally do well,” said the fourth-year player. “I would love to (win a Nova Scotia title). It’s always been the plan since Grade 9. I think we have a shot, if we play together and play as well as we can.”
• The NNEC boys will play 11 a.m. against Sir John ‘A’ MacDonald and 5:45 p.m. against the Nighthawks.
• The Gryphon girls play against Citadel at 3:15 p.m., and at 5:45 p.m. against CEC.
• The NNEC boys have won three provincial championship, the girls team has won twice. The boys team at NRHS won its first-ever title in 2018.