Nighthawks improve boys rugby playoff hopes


NEW GLASGOW – The Northumberland Nighthawks have strengthened the grip on their destiny in boys’ spring high school rugby.

The Nighthawks entered this week unbeaten, while the North Nova Gryphons remained winless after the Nighthawks’ 34-19 victory over the Gryphons last Thursday in New Glasgow.

Northumberland head coach John Rushton praised the team’s overall defence and its ability to run to open space.

The Nighthawks were continually able to break open and avoid tackles while swarming the Gryphons’ inside running game.

“We move the ball really well,” Rushton said. “We don’t have much size, but we have a lot of speed and we get the ball wide well.”

Mike MacGillivray, Justin MacLennan and Andrew Little scored unconverted tries in the first half to help the Nighthawks to a 15-7 lead.

MacLennan converted tries by Liam Fraser and Cole MacIsaac in the second half, while MacGillivray added his second try of the game.

Matt Munroe and Matt Chediac scored tries for the Gryphons, at one point trailed 10-7 before Northumberland closed the first half with a try.

North Nova was also awarded a penalty try.

The Nighthawks previously tied the Hants East Tigers 26-26 and defeated the Cobequid Cougars 25-5 in league action.

Northumberland will host North Nova next Tuesday in their next meeting in the single home-and-home regular-season schedule.

The Gryphons’ other loss last week was a 17-10 decision against the visiting Tigers. Munroe and Noah Teed scored the Gryphons’ tries.

North Nova trailed 12-10 in the second half and threatened to score during a sustain attack along the Tigers’ goal line, but the Tigers roared back to score their clinching try.

The Gryphons were scheduled to host Cobequid on Tuesday in their only scheduled game this week. They also have a re-scheduled road game against Hants East that was postponed from April 19.

North Nova’s female rugby team has fared well this season with two wins and a tie.

Victoria Straub scored three tries and added a convert, while Kaitlin Taylor added two tries as the Gryphons shut out the Nighthawks 42-0 on Thursday. Maria Holle, Lauren MacLeod and Nora Burrows each added a try.

MacLeod scored three tries, while Holle added two tries and Straub booted two converts as the Gryphons blanked Cobequid 39-0 on April 26. Rhea Young and Taylor added single tries.

Sophia Wornell and Jensen Arsenault scored tries on May 1 in a 10-10 tie with the visiting Tigers.

“Hants East is always tough,” Gryphons’ head coach Dougal MacInnis said. “They don’t back down and they tackle well.”

Jake Murray of the Nighthawks tries to elude a North Nova tackle during the first half of their rugby match on Thursday in New Glasgow. The Nighthawks won 34-19. (Goodwin photo)