Nighthawks roll to 4-0 after wins over Cougars, NNEC


ALMA – The Northumberland Nighthawks are still looking like the class of boys’ high school rugby in the Northumberland Region.

The Nighthawks improved their record to 4-0 and secured top seed in their semifinal match scheduled for May 21 at home by defeating the visiting North Nova Gryphons 10-5 on Tuesday.

Justin MacLennan converted Parker Swain’s try and booted a penalty kick to aid the Nighthawks’ offence.

The Nighthawks are not sure who their opponents will be next week until the schedule is complete. Game between the Cobequid Cougars and Hants East Tigers will help determine the remaining seeds, including North Nova.

Tyler Matchem and Swain scored tries as the Nighthawks defeated the visiting Cobequid Cougars 15-7 last Thursday.

The Nighthawks had a stiff, chilly wind on their backs in the first half and generated an 8-0 at the break.

MacLennan’s penalty kick gave the Nighthawks’ a 3-0 lead and they kept the pressure on the Cobequid defence.

The effort paid off with Matchem’s impressive run to the end zone later in the first half.

Cobequid mounted a surge in the second half, but the Nighthawks achieved a goal-line stand and were able to run the ball while keeping their kicks low against the wind.

Swain scored his try after bolting through the pack virtually untouched, and MacLennan converted to stretch the Nighthawks’ lead to 15-0.

The Cougars answered with their own converted try in the game’s final seconds.

“I think CEC is really strong on defence,” Nighthawks’ coach John Rushton said. “They didn’t give us much.”

The win was Northumberland’s second against CEC. The Nighthawks have also posted a win against the Hants East Tigers.

Northumberland had boys’ games to play against North Nova and Hants East that were not played when high school rugby was originally cancelled. Those games will not be made up, and the standings will be determined by the games that can be played.

The North Nova girls will end their regular season in Antigonish against the Dr. J.H. Gillis Royals on Thursday. They defeated Northumberland in their game on Tuesday.

The Gryphons kept their date last Friday and Saturday at the annual David Voye Memorial high school rugby tourney hosted by the Three Oaks Axemen of Summerside, P.E.I.

The Charlottetown Rural Raiders edged the Gryphons 21-19 in the championship game in the female division.

North Nova defeated West Isle 52-0 on Friday and reached the final on Saturday by blanking Three Oaks 22-0.

North Nova boys lost their three games during in the boys’ division.

The host Axemen defeated North Nova 17-5 and the Colonel Grey Colonels from Charlottetown topped North 22-5 in preliminary games on Friday, while Hants East shut out North Nova 27-0 on Saturday in a cross-over match.

Nighthawks’ Tyler Matchem breaks a tackle as he rambles toward the end zone. (Goodwin photo)