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Saturday, July 08, 2023
Hodgkins & Atlantic Fall in Coast to Coast Cup Final

The Arrows Academy took the coveted Coast to Coast Cup Anchor back to Toronto.

A last-minute, 70-metre team try saw the Young Arrows earn a comeback 29-28 victory over host side Atlantic Selects which had Jamin Hodgkins in their line-up, in the thriller at Wanderers Grounds, which sealed the championship for the visiting Academy.

Adam Doyle was the one who dotted down the 79th-minute winner, and he was joined on the scoresheet by Stan Blazbowski, Ben James and Evan Roy. Tiarnan Neville added seven points from the boot, while Thibaut Trape kicked the winning conversion to put the Arrows ahead for good.

The match — a de facto tournament final, after both sides had won over the British Columbia Bears in the days leading up to the Saturday fixture — was evenly contested throughout the full 80.

The Arrows Academy were quickest out of the gate, and were rewarded when fullback Blazkowski knifed in from short-range to score the match opener.

The hosts responded with a strong 20-minute spell of play to jump ahead 8-7, with Hodgkins kicking a penalty ahead of an unconverted Austin Comeau try off a rolling maul.

The Young Arrows regained the lead at the half-hour mark through a barging James charge across the whitewash, but a late penalty from Hodgkins reduced the Selects’ deficit to three points heading into the interval.

Neville added to the lead with a 25-metre penalty goal 10 minutes after the restart, but the hosts would soon begin to claw back.

First it was another Comeau try in the 55th minute off the maul, with Hodgkins’ conversion putting the Selects ahead 18-17.

Ten minutes later, Jack McCarthy raced in to score; Hodgkins’ extras extended the hosts’ lead to eight, before his 73rd-minute drop goal pushed the advantage to double-digits.

Now a two-score game, the Arrows Academy immediately responded through a try muscled across by Evan Roy. The conversion attempt went just wide, but the Selects’ lead was cut to six with five minutes to play.

With time winding down and the clock ticking to 79 minutes, the Selects elected to kick deep into Young Arrows’ territory. The high ball was deftly gathered by Steven Commerford, who collected and spun it wide to Goodwin. The No. 8 offloaded outside to a streaking Ethan Voskamp, who in turn offloaded over his head back to Goodwin in space.

Goodwin then sucked in the final defender before finding the support-running Doyle, who scampered the final 35 meters to finish off the highlight-reel scoring play.

Still down by one, Trape nailed the crucial conversion to put the visitors ahead.

With the clock entering the red after the restart, the Atlantic Selects found an improbable lifeline after the ball was knocked on by the Young Arrows. The Selects won the ensuing scrum, and with possession inside the red zone, they set up for a drop goal attempt; however, it wasn’t meant to be for the hosts, as the pass to Hodgkins was short and knocked on by the fullback, ending the match and confirming the Coast to Coast Cup Championship for the Arrows Academy.

Blazkowski was named Player of the Match, while teammate and Academy captain Goodwin earned Player of the Tournament honors.
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