Under overcast skies and on a wet, slick Swilers Rugby Complex field, The Rock squeezed out a 16-14 win over the visiting Prairie Wolf Pack to take their first win of the 2013 CRC campaign.
While happy with the victory, The Rock were a little disappointed with the narrow margin as they dominated both possession and territory and left several points on the field.
The Wolf Pack were first on the board as winger Duncan McGuire collected a poor Rock chip kick 5 minutes in and beat the cover to dot down in the corner.
Gordon McRorie was good with the conversion to make it 7-0 Wolf Pack.
The Rock got on the board at 18 minutes when Dean Blanks narrowed the margin to 7-3 with a penalty kick. Wolf Pack prop Tyler Hawes increased their lead at the 20 minute mark by charging down an attempted clearing kick and following up to ground the ball in goal.
Another successful conversion brought the score to 14-3.
The Rock then enjoyed a long period of pressure deep in Wolf Pack territory but came up empty after both Patrick Parfrey and Zac Coughlan were judged to knock the ball on as they each crossed the Wolf Pack line for near tries.
The halftime score remained 14-3 for the Wolf Pack.
The Rock opened up the second half well and were rewarded with a successful Dean Blanks penalty from 42m to narrow the Wolf Pack lead to 14-6.
Five minutes later a Wolf Pack infraction led to a long distance touch kick by Patrick Parfrey that pinned the Wolf Pack deep in their end. Rock scrum half Mike Simpson was able to sneak in the corner from the resulting lineout and a successful conversion by Blanks made it 14-13.
The Rock were reduced to 14 men at 58 minutes after flanker Toni Wodziki took exception to some Wolf Pack stomping and was red carded. Wolf Pack prop Tyler Hawes was on the receiving end and required several minutes of medical attention as a result.
The Rock took the lead for good at the 60 minute mark as Dean Blanks slotted a penalty from 35m to make it 16-14 for The Rock.
The Rock dominated the rest of the second half and almost all play was in the Wolf Pack half of the field. This pressure led to more Rock penalty opportunities but Blanks was off target with two long distance attempts and another from the left touch line. A final penalty attempt in the last ten minutes hit the right post.
After the final whistle Rock players gave a salute to the 700-800 fans in attendance and will now turn their attention to their rematch with the Wolf Pack in Calgary Friday August 30th.