Sunday, May 26, 2013

Kevin Melnychuk is a Centaur

The snow is now long gone and the progression of the seasons brings change in active seasonal sports.
Although I haven't played in years I still feel a certain acclimation to kick a ball around as spring is the season for rugby.  Now that I am old, sore, tired and out of shape I prefer to watch rather then play. And if I am going to watch, I am going to watch Kevin Melnychuk (Melon) play.

For the last few years Melon has been playing rugby with his home team the Grand Prairie Centaurs. I  haven't gotten out to see him play as many times as I would like, but when I have it was damn entertaining.

The latest game was a cold Saturday morning.  The perfect temperature for rugby - when you get a scrape the blood cools and scabs quickly.   I arrived right in time for kickoff.

Kevin was wearing the #12 jersey meaning he was playing Inside Centre, what I would consider his speciality.

Like you would expect for a first game of a season; it started slow. Lot's of grubby penalties and knock-ons leading to scrums and free kicks as the boys were finding their stride.

Eventually, the game got a bit of a rhythm going and some good tough rugby was played.

The Drayton Valley Riggers popped in the first try which was answered by the Centaurs as Kevin scored on a nice 10 yard run in for a try. The game remained close with the Riggers getting in for another try early in the second half. 

Even though the wrong team scored, I had to admit I had a feeling of glee on what that would mean. Ever since high school Kevin has challenged the conversion kick. If a kicker is worth his salt at all, AT ALL, there should be no chance for an attacker to block his kick. I know it can be a distraction but really, it's the equivalent of the coyote chasing the roadrunner in looney tunes. There is no chance. True to form, Kevin did not disappoint by challenging the kick to no effect. Awesome!

Down by a try the Centaurs poured it on. They dominated field position with nice set pieces, some good inside running and even better support.

This pressure led to a poor clearing kick by the Riggers away from the pack straight into the Centaur wingers hands. The Winger poured on the speed to the outside and caught the corner to score. Full disclosure, I was right along the line cheering and I think he stepped out of bounds right before scoring. Good thing there was no flag man on the side.

Now leading by 2 the Centaurs kept coming with some straight ahead play.

I still can't believe that the 8 man tries this pass in the closing minutes. I also can't believe it works.

The quality of the rugby definitely improved through the game but overall it was pretty sloppy. I am sure they will take the 17-15 win as something to build on any day though.

From my perspective it was great to see Kevin again and it was even better to see him score and the team win.

Every time I watch rugby I think that I want to go and play again. But I know that I have no fitness any more and I fear that I am getting soft. My last 'comeback' ended abruptly with a stupid injury in practise which made me feel like a tourist.  So for now I will just try and make it out to watch a couple more of the Centaurs games in Edmonton this year.

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