(Toronto) The Canada Wolverines enthralled the 7,200 strong crowd that came to witness the Wolverines claw back from two big deficits to overcome the USA Tomahawks 36 – 20.
The match started with the usual fireworks expected when the two countries collide. Both teams traded blows for the first 5 minutes before an out-of-nowhere try was scored by USA second rower Ben Sadgrove. It was a fine try from Sadgrove who burst past a would-be Canada defender, before showing good speed and a nice step to pass by fullback Robin Legault to score a 50 metre solo try. Hooker Craig Priestly converted the try to make it 6 – 0 to USA.
The Wolverines were next to score when a pinpoint Steve Piatek cross-field kick saw winger Tony Felix leap above his opposite to pluck the ball from the air and crash over in the corner. An unsuccessful Piatek conversion took the score to 6 – 4 after 16 minutes. It wasn't long until the Tomahawks took the upper hand capitalizing from Canada’s mistakes with tries to Priestly and Mike Schacter within 3 minutes of each other. Priestly converted his own try but failed on Schacter’s, taking the Tomahawks to a commanding 16 – 4 lead after 25 minutes.
It was the fresh legs of Canada prop Enoch Wamalwa that started to provide some much needed go forward for the Wolverines, and when livewire reserve Joe Bangay entered the field, he made an immediate impact darting over from close range. With Piatek's successful conversion, the Wolverines went into the half time break within a converted try 16 – 10 down.
The second half began much like the first with both teams again going toe to toe until a Wolverine fumble20 metres from their own line paved the way for USA winger Taylor Welch to score a simple try in the corner. The sideline conversion was unsuccessful giving the Tomahawks a 20 – 10 lead after 52 minutes.
A costly Tomahawk mistake allowed the Wolverines to creep back into the game when, yet again, another fresh legged Wolverine, Geoff Bylund, was able to profit from a long cut out pass from Piatek to go over untouched adjacent to the posts. Piatek slotted the conversion to bring the score to 20 – 16. Just three minutes later, young British Columbia debutant, Adam Timler, made a great break down the sideline running 40 metres before being stopped just short of the line. It did not matter however, as Tony Felix crashed over from dummy half on the next play. A successful pressure cooker conversion by Piatek gave the Wolverines their first lead of the match 22 -20.
Buoyed by their lead and the enormous support from the raucous fans, the Wolverines just could not be stopped from here as a Dobbs pass found centre Christian Miller who scored under the posts untouched. Just three minutes later and the Wolverines were at it again when a sweeping backline play would hit Legault who scored in the corner. Piatek missed the latter conversion to take Canada to a 32 – 20 lead at the 65th minute.
There was plenty of time for the Tomahawks to hit back, but the humid conditions was taking its toll with both sides failing to control the ball for the next 10 minutes. With little time remaining, it looked like the Wolverines would seal the match with another debutant try to Craig Leveridge only for it to be dubiously called back for a forward pass. It did not matter however, as a dropped ball from the USA scrum allowed Adam Timler to shimmy and shake his way to the try line to the raptures of the crowd. The Wolverines taking out game one of the Colonial Cup 36 – 20.
This leaves Canada up 1-0 in the series with game 2 scheduled for August 24th in the USA before game 3 back at Lamport Stadium on September 28th.
MACRON 3 STARS
1st - Tony Felix (CAN)
2nd - Adam Timler (CAN)
3rd - Enoch Wamalwa (CAN)
Tony Felix (2), Joe Bangay, Christian Miller, Geoff Bylund, Robin Legault, Adam Timler
Steve Piatek (4)
Robin Legault, Brett King, Adam Timler, Christian Miller, Tony Felix, Matt Wyles (c), Steve Piatek, Eric Moyer, Graham Dobbs, Rob Autagavaia, Henry Miers (vc), Trent Hansen, Cam Grace, Joe Bangay, Geoff Bylund, Craig Leveridge, Enoch Wamalwa
Ben Sadgrove, Craig Priestly, Mike Schacter, Taylor Welch
Craig Priestly (2)
Kristian Freed, Taylor Welch, Akarika Dawn, Vai Notoa, Dennis Schmeiler, Matt Walsh, Damien O'Malveny, Bryan Confer, Craig Priestly, Curtis Cunz, Ben Sadgrove, Salesi Tongamoa, Andrew Kniesly, Pete Jordan, Mike Schacter, Mike Cartwright, Justin Ripley
Referee - Paul Byrne (ENG)
Attendance - 7,168