Titans stung by slow start

The Red Deer Titans women’s team has stumbled out of the Calgary Rugby Union starting gate, but what else is new?

A member of the Titans Women’s Div. 1 rugby team takes and elbow in the throat while attempt to take down a Calgary Hornet

A member of the Titans Women’s Div. 1 rugby team takes and elbow in the throat while attempt to take down a Calgary Hornet

Hornets 33 Titans 29

The Red Deer Titans women’s team has stumbled out of the Calgary Rugby Union starting gate, but what else is new?

“Once we get fit and get more girls out to practice, we’re going to be all right,” Titans women’s coach Bill Bowd said Saturday, following a 33-29 loss to the Calgary Hornets at Titans Park. “Right now it’s just a matter of getting bodies out. We’ll have some university students come in soon and in the next little while I think we’ll see a big improvement.”

The Titans men’s teams also came out on the short end of scores with the visiting Hornets I and III teams.

“The start of the season is always slow for Red Deer. Our men’s third division team has some under-20 players out this year, and that will make for a big difference. But our (men’s) first division team is slow all of the time and it’s going to be the same this year. The first few games are just trial and error until we get enough players out.”

The Titans women’s squad is competing in the CRU First Division this season after playing ­­— and mostly losing — in the Premier Division each of the last two seasons.

“We always have a lot of young girls and we’re just not experienced enough (to compete in the Premier Division),” said Bowd.

“This division gives us about the same number of games, and it’s just a little easier competition.”

The Premier Division features the Calgary Irish and the Druids and Lep Tigers from Edmonton, three teams that boast up to a half dozen provincial or national team players.

“Dropping down to the first division is better for learning,” said Bowd. “We have so many young girls and even the older girls don’t want to play that hard, hard competition, so it’s better to play where you’re doing well.

“It still comes done to the fact that you get more people (players) coming out when you’re winning than losing, so we’re better off being in a league where we’re winning more.”

Bowd stressed that the Titans didn’t get great attendance at the top level.

“During practices and games, we didn’t have the numbers, barely having 15 players for games,” he said. “But this is going to be good because we have a lot of girls coming back. We still have four to five girls who haven’t made it to practice because school is just finishing up for them. Some have been on holidays or they’ve been out touring.”

Aly Bowd, the coach’s daughter, is attending school in Australia and will join the Titans in June, as will Nicole Boorman and Bernie Larose, who are finished school but are currently on vacation.

“Those are three good players who will help us,” said the Titans coach.

The Titans are currently paced by a foursome of veterans in prop Courtney Armstrong, flanker Nicole Leonwich and backfield players Chelsey Clifford and Anita Larose.

“They are all solid, veteran players who know what’s going on,” said Bowd.

Anita Larose scored a try and added two converts for the Titans in Saturday’s setback. Leonwich, Clifford and Melissa Wyntjes each had a try for the Red Deer side.

The Titans fell to 0-2 on the season after opening with a default loss to the visiting Calgary Irish seven days previous. The Titans actually won the game but forfeited because they had only 11 players.

l The Hornets completed the sweep on the men’s side, beating the Titans 39-17 in first division action and 20-5 in third division play.

The defending provincial champion Hornets overwhelmed the Titans early in the first division contest, leading 27-3 at the half.

Wade Moore led the Titans with two tries and a pair of converts, while Dean Plant added a try.

Steven Holmes, on a pass from Derek Lockhart, accounted for the lone try for the young Titans squad in the third division match.

Both Red Deer men’s squads sit with 1-1 records and travel to Calgary Saturday to face the Saracens.