May 30, 2016 - A squad of Senators made the trip south to play their first game of the season against Kingston Panthers last Sunday. On a swelteringly hot day, both sides were keen to make a positive start to the season. The Senators were a little undermanned in the centres after having two players pull out at the last minute. However, some of the more "mobile" back row forwards stepped up to cover them.
The game kicked off on time, and almost immediately Kingston were on the offensive, with a deft kick over the top and chase to touch down in the corner. During the scramble, outside-centre Harris burst a tyre so he had to hobble off. The Senators now had two flankers in the centre positions.
The Senators played some good rugby, linking, passing and tackling well. Senators Man-of-the-Match Warren Clifford made several jinking runs through the Panthers' defenses, but was all too often left isolated. Geoff Lewis eventually crashed over from close range to even the score. However, this was the last time that the Senators would cross the Kingston line, as Kingston proceeded to turn the screw, dominating the scrums, and adding a further five tries with some scintillating running.
Harris came back on in the second half after having treated his puncture with an old bicycle repair kit he found in the Senators medical box. However, the first time he hit the gas he pulled up as if shot in the calf by a sniper. A strained Achilles' tendon meant that his game was over. He will have to undergo extensive "physio" treatment this week in order to be able to make the long walk down the road from the Gale River Motel to the "Dutch Treat" pub in Franconia next Saturday night. Failing that, Dave Christie has been chosen to be the "Beast of Burden".
The Senators played hard, and suffered three further injuries: Brad Bates split his eyebrow open against Mike Storeshaw's bald, scrum-capped, yet still hard head. Brad had to go to hospital for several stitches, but turned up to the pub later not looking too upset about it. The same couldn't be said for Storeshaw. Jon Smith tore a peck (whatever that is - something forwards have, probably), and light-weight hooker Alex Cassol injured his neck in the scrum. Captain Clifford advised him to play on the wing in future.
All-in-all, despite the 6-1 defeat, an enjoyable day's rugby was had by all, followed by an hospitable after-game gathering at the Panthers' downtown pub.
Next game: Franconia!