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Virginia Cardinals Dispel Myths

Tuesday Mar 4, 2008 in Amateur Competitions Masters

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(Time to pack down for the Cardinals. Above in trhe rain, below in the sun. Stephen Hanks photos.)

March 3, 2008 - They may have dominated the 2007 Aspen Ruggerfest, but the Virginia Cardinals 45+ Masters Rugby Club still believed they had a score to settle when they faced Canada’s Myths & Legends squad at the Ft. Lauderdale Ruggerfest held at Tradewinds Park on February 23-24. The Canadian club had edged the Cardinals in last year’s Ft. Lauderdale final, 23-20 (after also beating the Cards in the 2006 final), and were defending champs of the Saranac Lake Tournament. So the Cards came to Florida this year prepared to render their opponent’s mythical status more like a fairy tale.

After handily whipping Jersey Shore 40-5 in their first Saturday contest (six different players scored tries), the Cardinals 45s blew out Life University ’s Old Boys, setting up the big rematch with Canada . On Sunday afternoon, the Cards watched their Over 50 team beat up on the Florida Ole Boys, 27-5, before taking the pitch for the final. Bill Hayward’s penalty kick early in the first half staked Virginia to a 3-0 lead, before a John Lawrence try and another Hayward penalty kick increased the Cards’ edge to 11-0. Myths and Legends came back with a try and kick before the end of the half to make the score 11-7.

It became clear in the second half that this match would be a war of attrition. The Cardinals had 35 players suited up for a match played on a hot Florida afternoon, while the Canadians had just a handful of substitutions. Early in the second half a brief but torrential rain cooled things off a bit, but it wasn’t enough to help Myths & Legends. The teams played a scoreless second half, giving the 45+ Cardinals their well-deserved 2008 Ft. Lauderdale Ruggerfest title. This growing Masters Rugby powerhouse has become the team to beat later this year in Saranac and Aspen. But perhaps Myths & Legends can get a bit of revenge if the teams meet in Vancouver, British Columbia on May 10.

- Stephen Hanks
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