Memories and rugby

By Gareth Williams

Both the men’s and women’s Dinos rugby teams lost to local clubs in the Brian Collins and Joah Atkinson Memorial Cup at the Calgary Irish Rugby Club Sun., Oct. 16. The ladies ended up on the wrong side of a six-try drubbing to the Calgary Irish, while the men were edged out by one try against the Calgary Saracens.

The women’s side put up some brave defensive play against one of the best teams in the city, but failed to score any points for themselves. After giving up two tries early in the game, the Dinos closed down the Irish with some heavy tackles. Just before half-time the Dinos were undone when the Irish’s scrumhalf broke through the Dino line, showing a clean set of heels to the university girls to score.

Although the Dinos fought well in the second half and only gave up two late tries, they couldn’t take advantage of their own possession as their cold hands kept dropping the ball. The Dinos lost 36-0.

Despite the loss, Tammy Durham, the women’s coach, was happy with her ladies’ performance.

“I was really pleased with their determination. They kept up their concentration even after being scored against,” said Durham, noting that four of the U of C’s squad were playing in their first game ever.

The men’s team kept their game against the Saracens much closer. The Dinos fielded their strongest team in the first half of the game and kept the Saracens on the defensive.

The Saracens scored five minutes into the game, but the Dinos were quickly back level when Mitch McLeod finished, after some sustained pressure, in the Saracens’ territory. After the break, the game opened up and both teams took turns scoring.

At the final whistle, the Saracens were up by a try–though no one knew the exact score because the game was to raise money for the Brian Collins and Joah Atkinson Memorial Scholarship and mostly friendly.

Neil Cosco, the Dinos’ stand-in captain for the day, was happy in spite of the loss to the Saracens.

“It’s a huge improvement,” said Cosco. “Everyone’s talking a lot more and the guys are getting used to each other.”

Although both the Dinos’ teams were somewhat disappointed by their results, the tournament itself was an impressive success. The games were played in a festive mood, with plenty of fans watching with beers or Irish coffees in hand.

Joah Atkinson’s family flew out from Whiterock, B.C. to watch while four of her friends made the journey to play for the Calgary Irish. A roast pig was cooked up by the clubhouse and the pig’s head was displayed on a stake on the touchline Lord of the Flies style. Money for the scholarship was raised through the roast dinner and “Livestrong”-esque bracelets.

Brian Collins’ father, Dave Collins, is impressed by how much money Calgary’s rugby community has been able to raise for the scholarship in the past three years through this popular event.

“I think at this point [the tournament] is more of a celebration than a memorial,” explained Collins with a beer in his hand and a proud smile on his face.

The men’s team defend their Western Intercollegiate Rugby Championship title Oct. 21-22 against the University of Lethbridge, Mount Royal College and the Dinos’ strongest opponents, the University of Alberta. The Dinos face the U of L at 3 p.m. on Friday. Bronze and gold medal matches will be played Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. respectively. All games are on the rugby field next to the Hawkins field hockey turf at the U of C.