It was a warm, sunny day in May 1985 when the North Toronto Norsemen rugby team pulled off an upset that seemed like “something out of a Hollywood movie.”
Mark Harris, the only player on the “pesky little North Toronto Norsemen” team to have played rugby before, remembers it as if it was yesterday. Back for more in what was only its second year in rugby competition, and having been annihilated 44-0 at Lawrence Park the year before, the Norsemen upended the reigning provincial champion Panthers 7-0 to win the city championship in front of 300 people at Eglinton Flats.
The players on that team, and others who played between 1984 and 2014, will gather on the Broadway Avenue school’s own field on May 8 for a 30-year reunion celebrating that unlikely victory and the school’s rugby history.
The event will start at 3 p.m. with a North Toronto CI senior boys rugby home game, followed by refreshments and fellowship. Harris said the reunion will be “like a homecoming” for many of the alumna, considering there had been no home field until a new school and field were built three years ago.
“It’s going to be eye opening to see this beautiful school and this beautiful field and have our own fans there,” he said. “We could only have imagined that back in the day.”
In that fateful “Hollywood” game 30 years ago, Harris was the one to open the scoring, with a try, scoring four points (it is worth five now). Kicker David Shaw missed the conversion, but later nailed a penalty kick for three after a high tackle by Lawrence Park.
“They had thumped us the year before — and I mean thumped us,” Harris said. “And for them not even to score was a big deal.”
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