Panthers on the prowl as 2023 Bay of Quinte, Barbarian Cup nears




The PECI Panther rugby squads poised to participate in the upcoming Bay of Quinte (BOQ) Championships and Barbarian Cup had positive showings last week.

In Senior action, the boys capped off a tremendous spring, taking the Bay of Quinte regular season title with a win over the Central Ontario tournament host the Centennial Chargers 38-5.

The Senior Cats had six different try scorers. Hudson Flynn, Gerrit Kempers, Riley Grimmon, Keagan Zantingh, Andrew Cumptsy and Reese Kleinsteuber all found the end line. Grimmon and Flynn added converts.

In an exhibition tune-up hosted by PECI on Wednesday against undefeated Napanee Secondary, the Girls’ Varsity Panthers worked out a 25-12 win over the visiting Hawks.

This despite the fact that the shorthanded PECI squad was missing five starters, including Team Ontario’s Drew Spencer. Tries were scored by scrumhalf Izzy Bailas, 8-man Sadie Caissie, centre Abi Childerhose, fullback Reese Rowbotham, and in her last play as a Panther flyhalf, Bethany Foster scored a 60- metre try to finish the game.

“It’s a storybook finish for a career cut short by COVID and it was awesome to have that moment for Bethany. It was quite a send-off for a foundational member of the rebirth of Panthers rugby,” PECI coach Doug Holt commented. PECI’s junior girls will play in the Barbarian Cup early next month.

In junior boys action, PECI put forth its best game of the season against the Bayside Red Devils.

“Our defence was organized, our offense was flowing and we controlled possession against Bayside. However, we played a large portion of the game in our end, so when we committed turnovers, a good and much more experienced Bayside team were able to capitalize. They took the three turnovers in the first half and turn them into scores,” Holt said.

Bayside took the contest 31-12. PECI Tries were scored by centre Cam Billing, lock Azlan Heyliger with a convert by scrumhalf Connor Borton.

Holt noted the excellent play from prop Cole Carruthers who carried the ball the most, while Declan Daye had an outstanding run.

“There was excellent all around play from winger Alex Lavender, who shut down multiple runs to the outside, forced turnovers, and broke off some big runs for us,” the coach added. The PECI Senior Boys were slated to play in a rematch against Centennial on Wednesday at the BOQ Championships at Mary Ann Sills Park at 10 a.m.