Guardian Angels vs. Niagara Wasps
June 23, 2018

June 25, 2018

This past weekend the Guardian Angels were scheduled to face off against the Niagara Wasps. Unfortunately, Niagara was unable to field a full team and had to default the game, giving the Angels a 20-0 win. However, the Angels were still itching to play on Saturday and arranged a friendly exhibition game again the Aurora Barbarians, who also had no game on Saturday. 

It was a great game from the start. The rain was pouring down making the players look like they were starring in a "Tide" commercial. Mud was flying everywhere and smiles were seen all around the field. The referee of the game was Khalil Ajram, co-president of the Barbarians and a huge supporter of the Angels. Khalil was a key player in helping the Angels form their team this season.  

The game opened up with lots of back and forth rugby along the gain line, The Angels punched it up the field slowly and the first try was scored by scrum half, Karen Chrobak, off a quick fake and dive across the line. When interviewed after the game, Chrobak said "I don't score scared me a little". The conversion was made by Shannon Howes for 2 points. 

The Barbs came back strong scoring a try under the posts and coverting it (we think) as we weren't really keeping score. We will give the try to Saffara Whiteley Hoffelner because we like her :) 

The Barbs came back scoring another try off an undisciplined penalty by the Angels. A quick tap-and-go play resulted in a try with a delivery to their prop, Brittany, who crashed across the line. We, again, are unsure if the convert was made but we will say "yes" and issue it to Jackie Martineau because we like her.  

The Angels deviated from their disciplined game plan however. A yellow card was issued to #14, Nina Bui, for being annoying or for a high tackle...we can't recall. She was sent to the "sin bin" for 10 minutes but the Barbs felt sorry for her and allowed her to keep playing. This happens quite frequently in rugby apparently...

With this act of kindness and compassion from the Barbs, the Angels came back into the game with high spirits. Michelle Saabas (#29 on the roster) broke the line and scored a fabulous try off a agile run. When interviewed after the game Saabas said "I have been sprint training for 6-months waiting for a moment like this". Her father can attest to this training. 

Finally with 5 minutes left in the game, the Barbarians scored one final try to seal the deal. Again, we have no clue who scored this so we will issue it to Brittany Douglas. We are also unsure if the conversion was made so we will say it was and issue it to Meg Hern (because its funny). 

The score in the end was 3 trys for the Barbs and 2 trys for the Angels. When interviewed after the game, referee Khalil Ajram quoted "it was an interesting game and none of the players would stop talking". Spectators mentioned it was a fun game wo watch. Seeing everyone smiling and having a great time was very refreshing. 
The Angels organization developed a concept called the "Angel of the Game" where they award one-two women with halos from APTOELLA RUGBY, bottles of wine and a massage from SportSide Medical Services. This is done to recognize their dedication to the sport of rugby on and mostly OFF the field. The winners of the Angel's Halo this game were Meaghan Sheahan and Rachel Kay!

Meaghan was a player at the University of Guelph from 2002-2005 and the Aurora Barbarians from 2002-2015. She has also been the Girls' Rugby Coach at St Augustine CHS (15s) from 2007-2011 and St Theresa of Lisieux (7s and 15s) 2011- present.

"We won YRAAs a few times when I was in high school, and I coached STL to a the YRAA Tier 2 championships last year (2017). Guelph won championships when I was there... if I remember what year. Lol." She was also the director of the Barbs women's program for 4 years.

Rachel Kay has a very extensive resume so we chose to leave it in point form:

1993 - Started high school rugby team at Humberview High School in Bolton, Ontario

1993 to 2016 - Yeomen Women's RFC - 1st team player, executive board member for 3 years, captain for 5

1993-1997 - Queen's University Women's Rugby Team - OUA All Star

1996 and 98 - Trained with Granada University men’s team, played with Granada women’s team in Spain

Refereed for university rugby league in Spain, Minis in Trinidad and High school in Toronto 

1994 to 2001 - Ontario Women's Rugby Team

1999 - Played with Trinidad Northerns RFC Men’s 2nds team

2000 - MacMaster University Women's Rugby Team - OUA All star

1997-2001 - Long listed for Canadian Women's Rugby Team

2001 - Women's World Cup - Non-travelling reserve for Canadian team

2007 - Assistant Coach MacMaster Women’s Rugby Team 

2008 - Capped for Trinidad and Tobago at Sevens World Cup qualifier in Bahamas

2018 - Guardian Angels

The Angels play again July 7th against the Toronto Nomads 11:30am at Fletcher's Fields. 
Nena Orescanin-Wicken received woman of the match for the backs. Her speed and awesome offloads made it an easy choice.

Nena is by far one of the most passionate women on the team. She loves coming out every Saturday and is heartbroken to miss any time on the pitch. 
The woman of the match for the forwards was Dallas Hunt who played hooker. Dallas punched the ball up numerous times off rucks and mauls gaining the Angels valuable ground. Dallas also stole a few scrums throughout the game.

Guardian Angels vs. Toronto Saracens
June 16, 2018

June 20, 2018

This past weekend the Guardian Angels faced off against the first place team in the OWL 2s divison and the 2017 OWL cup champions, the Toronto Saracens. The game was the by far the most physical game the Angels have played thus far, especially playing in the 32 degree heat! The game was exceptionally close with fans biting their finger nails to the very last minute. 

The game opened up with much physicality and no scoring for the first 20 minutes of field time. There were plenty of close calls and near-trys but all seemed to fall slightly short with knock-ons or penalties calling them back. Finally, Jacky Elfiki opened up scoring and drove the ball over the try line after a gruelling break in the Saracens line. Elfiki then converted her own try bringing the score to 7-0 for the Angels. 

The Saracens came back with physicality and strong running lines in their backs. The Angels held strong with stunning defence at each breakdown ensuring the corners of all rucks were manned. With a lucky turnover in Saracens territory, Shannon Howe (former Saracens player), displayed some evasive running and scored the second try of the game bringing the score to 12-0 as the conversion was unfortunately missed. 

The Saracens came back determined and ran the ball in to open up their scoring in the first half bringing the score to 12-5. The game went back and forth like this for another 20 minutes with no scoring occuring but close chances thwarted by unlucky bounces or penalties. The Saracens finally capitalized on an Angels penalty and brought the score to 12-12 with a try and conversion. At half time the Angels made some key substitutions to get some fresh players on the field and also discussed game strategy and discipline on defence as their penalty count was in the double digits.  

The Angels deviated from their disciplined game plan however. A yellow card was issued to #8, Davine Burton, and the Angels were forced to play 15 players on 14 for a full 10 minutes. They managed to hold their ground defensively and came back with a try from Jenn Burleigh off a great run from Nina Bui...which was unfortunately called back due to another Angels penalty! With this back and forth rugby going on for another 15 minutes, Nina Bui finally broke the line and scored a try for the Angels bringing the lead back to the Angels at 17-12 as the conversion was missed. 

The Saracens would not let up easily as they returned with a try of their own off a capitalization on a reversed penalty. The conversion was successful and the Saracens took the lead for the first time in the game, bringing the score to 19-17 with 12 minutes left in the game. The Angels battled back inch by inch for the remaining 10 minutes with no success at scoring a try.

Finally with 1 minute left in the game, the Saracens incurred a penalty 20 yards out from their try line and the Angels made an intelligent decision to kick for posts. Shannon Howe made a successful clutch kick for 3 points and the Angels took the lead by 1 point with 60 seconds left in the game! They held strong for the remaining 60 seconds and clutched their second win of the season with a final score of 20-19 against the first-placed Saracens team. 
Tamara Dixon received woman of the match for the forward pack. She played tight-head prop for her first time with the Angels.

With her aggressive offensive runs and her big tackles on defence, she was an easy choice for the award.

Tamara is a former Team Ontario player and currently coaches the rugby program at Sheridan College. 
The woman of the match for the backs was Nina Bui, a former Yeolions rugby player and a current Team Canada player for the Canada Ravens (Rugby League). 

Nina had some outstanding runs and game-saving tackles throughout the game. She was a key element to the Angels success. 
The Angels organization developed a concept called the "Angel of the Game" where they award one-two women with halos from APTOELLA RUGBY, bottles of wine and a massage from SportSide Medical Services. This is done to recognize their dedication to the sport of rugby on and mostly OFF the field. The winner of the Angel's Halo this game was Shannon Howe.

Shannon previously played rugby for the Toronto Saracens RFC and St. Anne-de-Bellevue RFC. She has played a total of 16 years from 1998-2012 when she initially retired. 2018 marks her 17th year playing rugby, coming out of retirement to play with the Angels. 

Shannon has also played for U19 Quebec, University of Toronto, Ontario Senior Women and U23 Canada. 

Her awards include two-time OUA All Star with University of Toronto and U19 Quebec MVP. She also coached the University of Toronto from 2007-2010.

She was also on the Toronto Saracens Executive Board from 2003-2012 (Social, Recruitment, VP, Women’s Club Captain) and her first born son, Declan (4 years old), currently plays for the Toronto City Rugby Club. Her second two children are still too young for rugby.

The Angels looks to maintain their momentum next week when they face off against the Niagara Wasps 11:30am at Fletcher's Fields. 

Guardian Angels vs. Aurora Barbarians
June 9, 2018
Game Summary

By: Laura Sinclair

The Guardian Angels Rugby Club may be a new veteran team, but that doesn't mean they don't have what it takes to win solid matches. 

The team, comprised of women aged 30+ is a flexible organization specifically for women that have busy schedules- whether that be from motherhood, work and other commitments that make heading to training sessions twice a week difficult. The Angels have implemented a "no training" rule, so players could just go to games on the weekend. 

This past weekend the Angels took on the Aurora Barbarians on Saturday, June 9 at 11:30 a.m. and won the match 29-24. 

The game started off quick with Shelley Shaw scoring the first try after a break through the line and a dive into the end zone. Shannon Howes completed the conversion for the extra two points bringing the score to 7-0. 

Shelley Shaw was on a roll, also scoring the second try after a quick decision to pick and go 5 meters out from the line. Shannon Howes again converted the kick to bring the score to 14-0 for the Angels.

Tamara Dixon took off on an 50-yard sprint up the sideline cutting into the centre of the field to touch down for the third try of the game. 

The Barbs responded to the quick lead from the Angels with some physicality, capitalizing on an Angels penalty and running the ball into the try zone off a penalty, bringing the score to 19-7 at the half. 

At the start of the second half, the Barbs made some key player substitutions which influenced the physicality and pace of the half. The Barbs had two fast tries off of Angels penalties, bringing the score to 19-14.

The Angels responded to what looked to be the midst of a Barbs comeback by picking up their strategic game to push another try over the line, bringing the score to 24-14 thanks to Nena Orescanin-Wicken. 

From there, the Angels didn't look back, with Jennifer Burleigh scoring the final try for the team, making the final score 29-24.  

The players of the game include Shannon Howes, a mother of three (with one set of twins). She had an amazing game with big breaks through the line, fabulous side stepping and great offloads. She pulled this off while her three kids looked on from the sidelines.
The second player of the game was Nathalie Grachnik (Bendavid). Nat came out of retirement and impressively claimed woman of the match her first game back. Nat led the forwards with her amazing leadership in the scrums, her quick decision making skills in open field, and some amazing tackles.
The Angels organization developed a concept called the "Angel of the Game" where they award one-two women with halos from APTOELLA RUGBY, bottles of wine and a massage from SportSide Medical Services. This is done to recognize their dedication to the sport of rugby on and mostly OFF the field. The winners of the Angel's Halo this game were Cathy Caldarola and Nathalie Bandavid.

Cathy started playing at Florida State University in 1994 where she went to collegiate rugby nationals 3 of the 5 years. She moved to Toronto for her MBA in 2007 and became a member of the Toronto Scottish RFC. She played for the Scottish for 11 years where she held many positions including social director. She was also their first female president in their 61 year history! She formed relationships with the Scottish Rugby Union and was featured in SCRUM magazine for being a female president in a rugby club. She is also currently serving her third year on the Fletcher’s Fields board of directors.

Nat started playing at Bayview Secondary School in 1995. Years to come she represented her club (The Aurora Barbarians), the University of Guelph, the University of Toronto, Rugby Ontario and Rugby Canada. Since her last international appearance in 2009, She has added a son and daughter to list of achievements :) She played for the Aurora Barbarians in the OWL Ontario Women's league) until August 2015. She has captained many teams and earned MVP's in various settings - both testaments of her leadership capabilities.  Towards the end of her career she earned a sportsmanship award from her club. She also has an award named after her the "Nat Bendavid" junior player of the year. 

Throughout her playing career, she also gave back in the capacity of coach (which she continues to do to this day).  Included in her coaching was a CISAA silver medal with the Pickering College Pumas, an Ontario Summer Games Gold medal (TRU U-17 Girls), and many York Region teams (Stouffville DSS Senior Girls-Tier 2 Champs, and Thornlea SS volleyball and various rugby teams - boys and girls 2015-2018).  She often participate as a coach in rugby clinics as well and hardly turns down opportunities to help out in the rugby world.  She loves the game, and always shares that passion with all of the kids new to the game.  In October 2015, she was inducted into the Richmond Hill Sports Hall of Fame.

The Angels will try to take their momentum from their first win of the season into their next game against the Saracens in Waterloo. Game information is on their Facebook page and schedule section of their website. The Angels kick off at 11:30am vs. the Toronto Saracens rugby club on Saturday June 16, 2018 at Fletcher's Fields Rugby Club.