The Bay Area Pelicans Rugby Club recently completed its regular season in the Division II section of the Florida Rugby Union. But there's no rest for the weary.
The club will host the Cayman Storm Rugby Club on Saturday at Coquina Key Park in St. Petersburg. Kickoff is 3 p.m. The Pelicans previously hosted the Cayman Club in January 2010 and earned a 17-11 win.
While the match is just an exhibition, it will be hard to tell once the game gets going.
"It's a friendly, but really there's no such thing as a friendly,'' said Nick Fraser, a member of the Pelicans. "Once the game gets started it's all about playing hard and trying to win.''
The Pelicans just completed their regular season, which included 14 games against teams from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Jacksonville. Fraser said the team finished in the middle of the standings.
Members of the Pelicans are Sean Letona, Vince O'Shea, Maikali Raikadroke, Tim Madigan, Mark Herter, John Davis, John Mullen, Malakai Tubuvuya (player/coach), Merritt Mclean, Aran Johnson, Rob Brush, Iain Brodie, Russell Hitchens, Stu McConnell, Isaac Daniel, Terry Pledger, Kirk Stanford, Maikey Tuinakauvadra, Veresa Dagaga, Dave Gegenfurtner, Greg Cooper, Mark Hawkins, Craig Chalmers and Jim Orandash.
Fraser said the team is made up mostly of players from the Pinellas County area. Most of them are here from other countries such as South Africa, Australia, England, France and Fiji, where rugby is big. There is turnover every year because some players have transient jobs that take them away from the area.
But each year the team manages to remain competitive.
"Rugby is really big around here,'' Fraser said. "The Pelicans have been around for about 30 years. It's a growing sport. We also have an over-35 team that is very competitive. They played in the Fort Lauderdale Ruggerfest earlier in the year and won the over-35 division. Then we played against the team from Florida in the open final and got beat up by those college kids.''
The County Golf Association held a better ball tournament June 13 at Wentworth. The regular division gross winners were Jimmy Minskey and Pat Maxon, who shot 70. The senior division gross winners were Larry Vander Bie and Mike Sanderson, who shot 67. The overall net winners were Dan Barbaro and Jim Hammar, who shot 60.
There was also an individual tournament June 9 at the Bayou Club. The regular division gross winner was Marshall Ames, who shot 73. The regular division net winners were Steve Bennett and Pat Maxon, who shot 67s. The senior division gross winner was Mark Wheaton, who shot 71. The senior net winner was Gary McDonal, who shot 68.
Katherine Shelton of St. Petersburg won the girls 16 singles division at the Hunter's Green Country Club Rookie Tournament on June 11-12. Shelton defeated Alexandra Gittens 8-2 and top-seeded Jessica Honsberg 8-5 in the round robin tournament. Takuma Walter of St. Petersburg won the boys 10 singles championship.
Sunshine State Games
The Alachua County Festival took place last week in Gainesville. A couple of local athletes won in their respective sports. John Edwards of St. Petersburg won the men's canoe/kayak 500-meter open sprint in High Springs with a time of two minutes, 31 seconds. He also won the C1 men's canoe open class on the 10-mile course with a time of one hour, 38 minutes, 19 seconds. And Missie Hendry and Natalie Moore of the Tampa Bay Synchrays won the duet masters division in synchronized swimming.
Junior skaters from Astro Skate in Pinellas Park recently returned from the Southern Regional Championships in Port Richey. There were eight skaters who qualified for nationals, which will be held in Fort Wayne, Ind., on July 24-Aug. 7.
Here are the eight skaters and how they placed at regionals: Aimee Bergeron (first elementary girls figures, elementary girls loop, second elementary solo dance), Bridget Budny (first sophomore women's figures, second freshman women's loops, third freshman/sophomore women's free), Joseph Budny (first freshman/sophomore men's figures, freshman/sophomore men's loops, freshman/sophomore men's free), Nicole Ogloza (first sophomore women's loops, sophomore solo dance, junior world class solo dance, international solo free dance, second sophomore women's figures), Joseph Ott (first esquire men's figures), Ruth Ross (first esquire B solo dance, second golden women solo dance), Samantha West (second juvenile girls figures, third juvenile solo dance) and Fred Wheeler (second golden men's solo dance).