Two tries from World Cup hero Conor Trainor and a hat trick from 7s star Phil Mack lifted Pacific Tyee past Ontario Blues 36-31 in an exciting if often baffling fixture at Burlington RFC on Saturday.
A good crowd of around 700 saw seven lead changes before Trainor intercepted a loose pass from Blues Ryan Macsween with 6 minutes left to give the Tyee a 36-28 lead before Blues rallied with an injury time penalty kick from Derek Daypuck to gain a bonus point.
The Blues had taken a 6-0 lead with two Daypuck penalties in the first 10 minutes of Ontario pressure, but Mack scored the first of his three tries, ducking a tackle and scoring in the corner, Connor Braid converting. Daypuck kicked Ontario ahead again before yet another Mack try out wide, again converted by Braid.
The Blues then camped on the Tyee line and their scrum dominated to the point where referee Brian Arciero first yellow carded scrum half Sean White, then awarded the Blues a penalty try when the Tyee scrum buckled on their own line, Daypucks convert giving Blues a 16-14 lead at the half.
The Blues began the second half with purpose, driving deep into Pacific territory before winning a scrum near the line, which halfback Jamie Mackenzie picked and dove over in the corner, Daypuck converting.
Off the kickoff, Blues fumbled, Mack chipped through and was awarded a try in a controversial race with John Moonlight to the loose ball, 23-19 Ontario.
From that kickoff, Blues stole and drove in Tyee territory, lock Tyler Ardron going over from a well-worked maul.
But the Tyee, with a fully capped backline, had the last word, Trainor getting a crazy bounce off a kicked ball back into his hands to score, Braid hitting a 40 meter drop goal and then Trainor's gift wrapped intercept. Blues came back with Moonlight crashing to the line, but not over, and from the ensuing penalty, Daypuck converted to close the gap to 36-31 on full time.
“We talked about a structured game plan that took care of the ball” said Blues coach Chris Silverthorn, “but in the end, we just chucked it around and it came back to haunt us. The Tyee have some great athletes and we contained them for the most part, but we simply gave them too many chances down the stretch.”
The win gives the Tyee five points in the standings, same as Ontario, although the Blues have a game in hand with two played against the Tyee three. First place Prairie Wolfpack come to town on Tuesday night, facing the Blues at Oakville RFC, 630 pm kickoff, see www.oakvillecrusaders.com in a crucial game for both teams.