Division I: A Loss at Home
For their second game of a busy weekend swing through Nova Scotia, the PEI Mudmen stopped in Enfield to play the Division 1 Men’s team. Despite some hopeful spattering of rain the day before, there was no mud to be found on the Lion’s Den field.
Enfield started the game with energy, bolstered by some early penalties taken by PEI. Unfortunately, one of Enfield RFC’s kicks for touch stayed in bounds. After the PEI back three cleared the ball, Enfield tried an offensive chip kick. PEI’s scrum-half ended the soccer match by speeding through several missed tackles to score the first try of the game.
After the restart, PEI kicked for points when Enfield took a high tackle penalty. The attempt went wide, but PEI kept Enfield against their try line. Enfield took a scrum penalty, and from the ensuing line-out, PEI used quick passes to give their outside backs space to score a try in the corner.
Enfield replied with excellent distribution from scrum-half Mark Sweeney. Ryan Dickie, Jeremy “Chuck” Owens, and Bryan Campbell all did their part to muscle through PEI’s defense. When PEI took a ruck penalty at their 40, Chase Kirkendall made a beautiful kick to put 3 points up for Enfield RFC.
Players such as Brandon “I like that people are scared of me” Horne, Justin Dunn, and Evan Dickie put in huge hits to keep the Mudmen off the scoreboard before the first water break. PEI’s winger speed proved to be the difference though. Their wingers scored two quick tries in a row, finding overlaps after great offload passes from their centers. It would’ve been three tries except for a great open-field tackle by John McRae and Jordan Sheppard.
With the score at 24-3, Enfield needed a try to keep them in the game. Enfield RFC’s fly-half, Chase, started it with a highball over PEI’s back line. Alex “ayuckyuckyuck” Malay gathered the kick and ran until forced down near the try line. Evan Dickie took a pass from the ruck and stiff-armed his way in for a try.
PEI ended the first half by kicking a penalty for 3 points. After half, Enfield had to play shorthanded because of a dubious yellow card. PEI used the space provided to score a try through Enfield’s backs. Then PEI scored again not long after when their winger retrieved a grubber kick placed well in Enfield RFC’s corner.
Sam MacDonnell gave Enfield RFC a boost after those demoralizing tries, going on a long run before offloading to Mike McNamara to finish for a try. PEI answered right back by using the grubber again to score in the same manner after the restart.
Late in the second half, Enfield RFC found momentum by showing dominance in the scrum. For the next two tries, Enfield RFC’s pack drove PEI back into its try zone from 5-meter scrums. Evan Dickie showed off his dribbling skills, dragging the ball along behind the scrum for both tries. Enfield RFC fans also got a special treat when team captain Mark Sweeney went on a massive solo run, dancing around like he was on the Curly Portables dance floor.
[Editors Note: Thanks to Shawn MacSween for the video evidence of Dickie's chipkick]
With the heat sapping the energy out of both teams, the game ended with Evan Dickie and a PEI player each received yellow cards to prevent frustrations boiling over. Coach Joel Doyle commented: “Three tries and a yellow card should be called the Evan Dickie Hat-Trick.”
At the final whistle, the Lion’s Den scoreboard showed 44-29 for the PEI Mudmen. Man of the Match honours went to Alex Malay for Enfield and Stewie from the Mudmen.