Co-coach Craig Inward instructs members of the new Charlottetown Rugby Football Club during a scrum at a recent practice. The club opens its inaugural season today with an exhibition match versus the Nova Scotia under-20 Keltics at 1 p.m. at Co-op Field in Charlottetown.
©Charles Reid/The Guardian
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Things couldn’t have gone better for the Charlottetown Rugby Football Club (CRFC) this season.
In its inaugural year in the Nova Scotia Senior Rugby League, the club went undefeated and can close out the season with a Tier A women’s championship today with a win over the Halifax Tars.
Yes, there is added pressure. There is an expectation we will win to complete our undefeated season. However, we need to pretend it is just a regular game because anything can happen.
Abby Goodwin of the Charlottetown Rugby Football Club on trying to close out the season undefeated.
The title game starts at noon at Co-op Field in Charlottetown and though the CRFC rolled through the league the Abby Goodwin isn’t taking the Tars lightly.
“Tars are a well-established club in Halifax. They have a solid mix of experienced and young players. Last time we played them they had a strong scrum and pace in the back line, so we have to come out hard on defence and play a tight offensive game,” said Goodwin, who helped start the team. “We need to draw on the skills we have been learning at practice while using on our experience and fitness to take home gold.”
CRFC drew upon many former UPEI Panthers and Island high school ruggers to fill out its roster and it’s paid off with a high-scoring group. Going into the title game, the team has a few bumps and bruises, but its roster is more or less OK.
“We have a few key players who have gotten injured over the course of the season,” said Goodwin. “Luckily, we have a deep bench so others will be given the opportunity to step up.”
The title game is part of a full day of rugby at Co-op Field.
After the Tier A women’s game, the Hunter’s Ale House Mudmen B division team hosts Caledonia at 2:30 p.m. Then the Mudmen A division squad welcomes Halifax RFC to town. Following the women’s game is a rookie rugby jamboree.
Regardless of the outcome, Goodwin said the CRFC’s first season success boils down to a good mix of players, coaching and familiarity.
“There has been a number of key success factors for CRFC. One is the dedication and passion from the players who have come out. Early on we had some solid commitment and a few who trickled in in June, but since we started playing we have had 25-30 loyal athletes that have been doing an incredible job of getting to practices and games. Secondly, the leadership we see from our coaches has been important. Hats off to James David Voye and Craig Inward. Without them we would not have done so well. They have put in a lot of time and energy into our team and they deserve credit,” she said. “Finally, our team is super close socially. Most of us have played together in the past and we have an added connection of being the foundational squad of the CRFC.”