Slow start costs Titans in loss to Hornets
A lingering bad habit crept back into an otherwise good season for the Red Deer Titans Saturday.
The Titans were somewhat slow out of the gate and dropped a 29-23 decision to the visiting Calgary Hornets in Calgary Rugby Union Second Division action.
“We came out a bit slow. That’s probably been one of our little issues this year,” said Titans coach Andy Croft, who watched his club fall to 9-2 and into second place in the division, behind the Calgary Saracens. “We’ve always started a bit slower than you would hope. We started off a bit slow, and then there were areas of the game where we destroyed them.
“When we played at the pace we wanted to, they couldn’t handle it.”
The Hornets were likely lucky to escape with the win, but did just enough to upset the Titans, who got two tries from Derek Lockhart and one from Dion Clifford. Brandon Gerhart added two converts and two penalty kicks.
“It was disappointing to lose this game. We think we should have beat them,” said Croft.
“This is the first time we’ve lost at home this year. Our goal was not to be beat at home, so that’s a little disappointing. This is a team (Hornets) that if we meet them in the playoffs we’re be looking to beat them and we will the next time we play.”
Despite Saturday’s result, Croft is pleased with the manner in which the Titans’ season has unfolded.
“We’re very happy in that respect,” he said. “This year the players have shown more commitment to the team, everyone is playing a lot more physical. We’re not individuals, we’re trying to be a team so the 15 people out there are trying to help each other out.
“You see someone struggling in any area of the game . . . someone goes over to help them up.”
The Titans sideline boss is confident that his team can present a serious challenge for the provincial second division title.
“We’re in a very good position,” he said. “We have a great bunch of guys. They put their bodies on the line when they’re on the pitch with each other and that’s what you need. So we’re really aiming to win it all this year.”
The Titans have qualified for the Calgary Rugby Union semifinals and will play their first playoff game at home or in Calgary. The league final is set for Calgary and the champion will take on the Edmonton Rugby Union representative in the provincial final Sept. 28 at Edmonton.