Knights slide by Snakes in thriller

Rugby: HTA to host South Central zone semifinal May 27 against Bow Valley

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 03:08 pm

Holy Trinity Academy Knight Jesper Honkonen and Jazz Singh try to chase down a Rundle College Cobra May 22 at HTA. The Knights came-from-behind to win 24-21.
Holy Trinity Academy Knight Jesper Honkonen and Jazz Singh try to chase down a Rundle College Cobra May 22 at HTA. The Knights came-from-behind to win 24-21.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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Sometimes it pays off to tune out your coach.

Holy Trinity Academy Knight scrumhalf Jazz Singh didn’t hear coach Joe Buck’s plea to pass in the dying minutes of their game against the Rundle College Cobras.

Instead Singh turned up-field and sprinted 40 yards into the try zone to give the Knights a come-from-behind 24-21 victory over the Cobras May 22 at HTA in boys Big Sky Rugby Union action Thursday.

“I was honestly trying to pass it out to Spencer (Buck) because he had an overlap but I saw this gap out of the side of my eye and said: ‘Should I take it?’ Singh said.

“I thought it was now or never… My first thought is always to pass but this time, I ran.”

Singh didn’t stop until touching it down to give HTA the lead at 22-21. Singh then made the key conversion to ice the victory.

He would never have had the chance if not for the toughness of one of the smaller Knights.

Knights back Joey McMullen took a huge hit from a Cobra but didn’t cough up the ball.

“That hit he took from that huge guy, kept us the possession that ultimately gave us that last try,” Singh said.

Coach Joe Buck admitted initially he didn’t want Singh to take off, but he is more than happy with the results.

“I thought he was going to get caught in contact, but I didn’t see the hole he did,” Buck said. He was also singing the praises of McMullen.

“He got tackled by that great big guy and did he lose the ball? No. Did we keep possession? Yes,” Buck said. “He’s got the heart of a lion.”

The Knights lacked some heart in the opening 30 minutes after falling behind 14-7.

HTA’s Christian Sprague opened the scoring with a try to give the Knights the early 7-0 lead. However, the Cobras scored two consecutive trys, the last one being a 75-yard scamper by Val Turlsunova-Rausch to give the Snakes a 14-7 lead at half.

Turlsunova-Rausch would add another try early in the second half to give the Cobras what appeared to be an insurmountable 21-7 lead, especially with the Knights going into a stiff west wind in the second half.

They opted to tap-and-go in the final 30 minutes to ensure they kept possession.

Nothing works better than having Knight Cristian Sprague take possession of the ball.

Sprague, who was named HTA’s man of the match, got the Knights to within 21-12 when he romped into the try zone from 12 yards out.

He wasn’t done yet.

Spencer Buck made a nifty pitch to Sprague, who then cut outside with a romp that conjured up Welsh images of former Knight Jeff Hassler to make it 21-17.

Singh would score the winning try just a few minutes later.

Cobras coach John Long said it was a tale of two halves.

“They played a fast-up tempo game in the second half and never gave us the ball,” he said.

“The are very good at getting the ball to their top players. We didn’t have the ball much at all in the second half.”

It was if the Knights flicked an off-on switch.

“We made some dumb mistakes and switched on our intensity,” said Knights flanker Joel Visser.

The Knights finished the Big Sky Rugby Union with a 3-2 record, good for second place the Big Sky. The regular season standings help determine the seeding for the South Central Tier I zone playoff which begins tonight May 28 when HTA hosts the Bow Valley Cobracats at 5:30 p.m.

“We have to beat BVC – all I know about them is they haven’t lost and they are big,” Buck said. “We have won two in a row and we have lots of confidence.”

The winner will take on the Foothills Falcons in the South Central Zone final June 3 at the Comp at 6:15 p.m.


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