When I first starting playing for the Blues in 1979, I had just finished grade 11, playing rugby at Ridgemont High School. We did not have a junior program, I played 3rds. At practice and at games I introduced myself as Boggy’s little brother. My first game at Twin Elm, I stepped into the Blues change room, a wee bit timid and shy. If you can believe it I was actually quiet.
As I walked into the room, John Russell, probably in his 50s, is lying stretched out, ala Burt Reynolds, a wry smile, a cigarette in one hand, his knee bandaged up for support and the alluring aroma of A535 wafting through the room. After the game, I walk back in and the only difference for John was a bit more dirt on him, a wobbly pop in his hand and a wry smile for a job well done!
Welcome to the Blues!
Blues Minor and Junior Rugby
Many changes too place with Rugby Canada in 2018. The minors and junior programs moved to the odd age grade (so U12 became U13, and U18 became U19). The changes created some gains and some challenges for our club. From our perspective we succeeded in fielding teams at all the age grades for the boys, U11, U13, U15 and U17. The biggest challange was at the U19 Boys level, numbers never really materialised.
The biggest challenge at the junior level was getting viable games with the clubs in EORU. The strongest part of the EORU was the two Montreal teams (Beaconsfield and Ste Anne’s). Both fielded U15 and U17 boys teams, and the Montreal Irish are probably 1-2 years away from fielding similar squads.
There have been rumours that we will be switching back to the even age grades. I have discussed this with RO and RC, and at the current moment there is no plan to change back. But in rugby, never say never… If his changes we will inform everyone involved.
Blues Junior Girls Rugby
New in 2018 was the introduction of Girls rugby within the club (outside of the minors). We have girls playing at the U11 and U13 age grades, as a co-ed participation. This year we fielded a U15 girls side. The team combined with the Gatineau Gladiateurs U15 girls to win 3 out of 4 matches and dominated the EORU girls U15 league. We look forward to the growth of this within the club.
Blues Senior Men’s Rugby
On the senior men’s side, we saw more competitive matches, during the season wit Kingston and the Montreal Irish. This bodes well for the LPR Super League and was promising in providing much needed challenges for our senor men. Unfortunately, the playoff matches did see much success for our senior men. A couple of disappointing results in the LPR semi finals.
In 2018, the Eastern provincial unions attempted to rekindle the East Coast Super League. Comprised of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in east; and, EORU, Rugby Quebec and Arrows Academy (essentially the semi pro Arrow’s ‘B’ side) in the central. It was only at the Senior Mens level and started with a lot of promise. The EORU team, comprised prominently of Blues and Kingston Panthers got off to a stellar victory over the Quebec Senior men. The conveners had issued a preliminary schedule which we agreed to, but for some reason the Arrows management did not have the same interpretation as Rugby Quebec and EORU. Hopefully, this will be properly managed next year.
We will be holding a 5 year strategic review, early in the new year. Our last 5 year goal have, for the most part, been achieved. We are atop the Quebec Super Rugby League, and knocking on the door of the Ontario Marshall Premiership League.
Blues Classics (aka Old Boys, over 35s)
Still in the planning stages; I believe the best scenario for the future, at the moment, is to arrange two friendlies and participate in the Fall brawl. I would ropose match one to kick off the senior men’s season in May, and a second for Blues Day. We can get Rugby Canada sanctioning for those two matches (covers insurance) at about $160 per game (so $10 per player, per game) and then have the Old Boys sign up for the fall brawl as a visitors to keep costs down.
Excited for 2019, Advance!
Bytown Blues RFC – President