With Marcello Wainwright still sidelined, his Toronto Arrows teammates returned to winning ways with a comprehensive 19-10 road victory over the Houston SaberCats. Stubborn defense from the hosts prevented the visiting Arrows from claiming a bonus point, but Toronto will have left Texas satisfied with a performance that featured dominance in both territory (64%) and possession (59%).
The Arrows were the more motivated of the two sides right from the get-go, spending the majority of the opening 20 minutes parked deep in Houston territory. Despite wave after wave of goal-line attacks from Toronto, the SaberCats did enough to prevent an early breach.
Ever probing, the visitors eventually broke the dam shortly after the initial hydration break. Spencer Jones drew enough attention to open up space along the touchline, and when the ball made its way to Manuel Montero, the big Argentine found enough room to score his team-leading seventh try of the season.
After another spell of sustained Toronto pressure, a series of accumulated Houston penalties resulted in SaberCats scrum-half Nick Boyer’s dismissal to the bin. The Arrows then capitalized with the man advantage, with Tomas de la Vega fully extending to touch down for a score while dragging two would-be tacklers on his back. Arrows fly-half Will Kelly, making his first start for the club, tacked on the conversion.
Well against the run of play, Houston added a penalty goal through the boot of Sam Windsor on the final play of the opening frame, reducing the visitors’ lead to nine points entering the interval.
The opening stages of the second half proved to be the most evenly-matched of the game, with both sides earning cycles of possession in attacking territory, though neither able to put up points to show for it.
As the half drew on, Toronto’s pressure increased, and the visitors’ persistence was rewarded when Manuel Diana barged over from close range for the Arrows’ third tally of the match. Kelly’s conversion put Toronto ahead 19-3.
A late charge-down try from Houston’s Cecil Garber pulled the home side back to a nine-point deficit, but that would be as close as the SaberCats would come to staging a comeback.