Nighthawks, Gryphons in rugby quest


ALMA — The Northumberland Nighthawks are Northumberland Region Division I boys high school rugby champions for 2018.

The Nighthawks secured the regional banner and top seed out of the region for the provincial championship this week in Halifax after a convincing 40-12 victory over the visiting Hants East Tigers last Thursday in Alma.

Tyler Lewis scored three of the Nighthawks’ eight unconverted tries.

Josh Fraser, Cole MacIsaac, Michael MacGillivray, Jake Murray and Liam Fraser added single tries for the Nighthawks.

Head coach John Rushton said he was pleased with the outcome, which decided the regional championship and seeding for both the Nighthawks and the Tigers at the provincial championships.

The tournament will include four teams in each of two pools with the Nighthawks and Tigers from Northumberland Region, as well as three teams each from the Capital and Western Regions.

“We were ready for the game,” Rushton said of the game against the Tigers. “We think we still have some areas that need work.”

The Tigers advanced to face the Nighthawks after requiring a try on their last possession on May 22 for a 27-22 victory over the North Nova Gryphons. The teams were tied 5-5 at the half before trading 17 points each until the Tigers’ winning try.

“We gave them a good game but it just didn’t go our way,” Gryphons head coach Scott Taylor said.

Campbell Burrows and Matt Munroe each scored two tries for North Nova. Hayden Butler added a convert.

The Nighthawks were to play Cobequid in the other scheduled regional semifinal match, but Cobequid bowed out of the match.

Meanwhile, North Nova’s girls will represent the region at their provincial championship in Halifax after defeating Cobequid 88-0 last Thursday in New Glasgow.

Caitlin Taylor led the Gryphons’ onslaught with four tries, while Evan Wornell added a try and five converts and Victoria Straub collected a try and four converts.

Both the Northumberland boys and North Nova girls were expected to gain better seeding for having won their respective regional championships.

Northumberland’s preliminary games are at 9 a.m. and noon on Friday. The North Nova girls have games at noon and 4 p.m. on Friday. Playoffs are Saturday at Cole Harbour.

Nighthawks back Michael MacGillivray struggles for extra yardage as several Tigers players try to tackle him to the ground. (Goodwin photo)