CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Rugby dominated the sports pages of the local papers 60 years ago before the growth of Canadian football. Now the game is back in a big way, as evident by the powerful showing of the Hunter’s Ale House Mudmen with their first and second division clubs both 5-0 in the tough Nova Scotia Senior Rugby League.
Rugby is now extremely popular and is played by both men and women at most senior high schools in Atlantic Canada. There's also the women’s Charlottetown Rugby Football Club, which won the Nova Scotia a week ago.
The standouts for the Mudmen’s Division 1 club are ex-senior high school stars like Isaac and Isaiah Hood, Mark and Ryan Lloyd, Steve MacMillan and Isaac Kirkland. Holland College football star Marcus Dunphy is also a major force in this game and when he joins the full squad, they're capable of winning the Nova Scotia crown.
The Mudmen are in Dartmouth, N.S., today to take on the Pigdogs while the division 2 squad heads to Kentville, N.S., to play the Valley Bulldogs.
Last week, five veterans from top rugby teams out of the city a long while ago made their 2017 debut and they certainly performed with distinction. Pharmacist Bill Doucette, Dale MacLeod, Ross Wheatley, Rob Carter and Blake Doyle now want more playing time and I'm not surprised. Doucette, for example, enjoyed his holidays last year by climbing Mount Everest with Dr. George Carruthers and others. With that kind of attitude spreading among the team’s players, the Mudmen are destined for great things.
It's been 60-plus years since the Charlottetown Nomads won the Maritime rugby crown with guys like Spy and Charlie Ready, Art Perry, Dick Carroll, Clee Gillis, Noel Wilson, Aquinas Ryan and others, but not many are still around.
If you ask Hunters Mudmen GM and head coach Eddie MacDonald he'll tell you his Division 1 club may turn the trick this season. We shall see.
The Charlottetown Gaudet’s Auto Body Islanders are in the midst of their best-of-five New Brunswick Senior Baseball League quarter-final with Moncton.
The Islanders played Game 2 on Friday after losing 7-5 in Moncton on Thursday night. Game 3 is set for the Hub City Sunday.
The Islanders added four of the top junior standouts in Ryan MacIsaac, J.J. Oram, Dominique Ryan and pitcher Spencer Horne. The Islanders could be without ace right-hander Jordan Stevenson, who hasn't fully recovered from a hip injury, and if he can't go, the Islanders playoff run could be a short one.
In Kings County playoffs, there's a lot of attention on the Peakes-Morell best-of-five series with the Chevies up 1-0 after a 2-0 opening game win.
This rivalry goes back into the 1950s and there's no love lost between these two clubs. Look for the series to go the distance.
On the local golf scene, young Tyler Hashmi captured the Maple Leaf tour event at Fox Harb’r on Nova Scotia’s north shore last week with rounds of 74, 73 and 71.
The Colonel Gray student is just 17 years old. Tyler's dad, Yousef, played great last week in the P.E.I. Humane Society tournament at Fox Meadow, but the team burden was too great, as he and George Halliwell's team had to rally to be fifth overall.
Dr. Bill Scantlebury and his team of Colin Moore, Nick Reardon and Robbie Morrison tied the Old Dutch team of Glen MacKinnon, Dave Chisolm, Paul Crabbe and Darcy Rossiter at 16-under par.
Just a reminder the annual Mike Kelly golf classic in support of the UPEI men’s hockey team goes next Saturday at Fox Meadow.
Crapaud's Scott Harris, who recently joined the New Jersey Devils in player assessment role, is home visiting his brothers Matt, Steve and Craig.
Charlottetown youngster Thomas Casey, who played last season with Notre Dame, is making a strong bid for a spot with the Charlottetown junior Islanders of the Quebec league.
He's got wheels, scoring tough and feisty like his dad Tim.
I had a chat with Island Storm GM Brett Poirier yesterday and he told me they had signed Montreal’s Kemy Osse, who played at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
He was a star with the Quebec team that beat Nova Scotia for the 2009 gold medal at Canada Games. That Nova Scotia squad was coached by new Storm bench boss Tim Kendrick.
More signings are in the works.
The international harness racing community is singing the praises of Prince Edward Island these days for the passionate crowds, knowledgeable fans and the reception they received for the World Trotting Conference and the World Driving Championships during Old Home Week.
It is very likely we will have international visitors from here onwards for Old Home Week. Most likened it to the Little Brown Jug, the Hambletonian and the Elitlopp in Sweden, which we have been saying for years.
Local harness racing continues tonight in Charlottetown with a 13-dash card. The $2,250 open mares has Ramblinglily on the outside and three-year-old Dusty Lane Zendaya on the rail.
The feature goes in Race 12 and Adkins Hanover is the favourite for Corey MacPherson.
A big card at Mohawk Raceway tonight as the $615,000 Canadian Pacing Derby is top billing with the likes of Rockin Ron, Keystone Velocity and McWicked in the field of 10. Dr. Ian Moore sends out Percy Blue Chip and Shadow Moon in the final of the Champlain stakes.
At Yonkers, New York, Mark MacDonald drives Jimmy Takter's Blood Line in the $500,000 Messenger stakes.
Monday at Pocono, Anthony MacDonald has Lawmaker from Post 7 in the $252,000 Pennsylvania sire stake two-year-old trot final.
There's also the annual Labour Day card Monday at Summerside at 1 p.m.
Fred MacDonald's column appears every Saturday in The Guardian. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.