On the road again......, Willie Nelson has nothing on the Surrey Beavers in the fall portion of the current season. Week 3 found the Firsts & Seconds making their way to Hume Park in New Westminster to renew acquaintances and make seasonal introductions with United RFC. There were enough players available for both squads this week, they just couldn't be at training all together. The player pool wasn't much deeper than that though.
SBAA 2nd Division Men vs United RC – Win 45-24
Week 3 in BCRU action had the club still looking for a win, not just the Seconds - the club. Neither 1sts nor 2nds had tasted victory this far, which was very uncharacteristic for the usually successful Surrey Beavers. The Seconds match started with Surrey on offence and managing multiple phases, this would force United into an error as they took an eager offside penalty. Nate Hutchinson stood up to the kick and used his unconventional stroke to slot the 3 pointer. 3-0 for The Beavs, as they were used to being in the hole after the scoring of the first points of any of their matches, this was fresh ground. Surrey would follow up with more of the same, when Cam McMurchy-Barber broke a big run through the porous United backfield. Cam would off load and be there at try-time to finish the play. Nate Hutchinson nailed the convert for a 10-0 lead for Surrey in the early going. United wasn't going away anytime soon as the Beavers were offside their own 22 drop out. The United kicker turned the foolish mistake into points for United, which was the first real sign of pushback from them. It would not be their only pushback as United would take advantage of another Surrey mistake and pop in a try of their own, the successful convert tied matters at 10-10. Though giving up 10 unanswered points, the Beavers weren't rolling over, when Andrew "The Lip" McIntyre made a try scoring run from a penalty. The 25-yard score took the starch out of the United tails. The failed convert had Surrey leading 15-10 at the half.
The second half began with a couple of personnel changes for the Beavers. It wasn't too long before United would strike on a play that included a missed forward pass and they capitalized with a major score that was not converted, we were again even at 15-15. As if to reply immediately Surrey would build pressure in the offensive zone and Andrew McIntyre touched down his second try of the day from a 10-meter run. The convert was sharp and missed, 20-15 Surrey on the right side of good. Apparently, the Beavers enjoyed this process and went right back to work successfully rucking straight back into the goal area with Ryan "Peepshow" Kulasekare with the final touch. Again, the sharp angle convert was missed, 25-15 for Surrey. United bounced back with a penalty shot at goal, which was up hill and short. The missed kick wouldn't discourage the plucky United squad, when they would take advantage of what appeared to be several infractions that were apparently missed by the match official. Their try gave them a glimmer of hope. The convert was again wanting, which was now the pattern. Still 25-20 for Surrey. The Beavers weren't about to be distressed for too long and went hard back at United, as though Surrey woke up from a refreshing slumber. The black clad visitors pounded back into United territory and ran off ruck after ruck, when Andrew McIntyre would take charge and score his hat trick try, which as the run of play would show the convert was yet again unsuccessful. It was certainly good that these missed points weren't going to be the difference in the game - at least not at this point. 30-20 for Surrey. Right at the close of play a tired United team would take a penalty on the 5-meter line out from their goal area. A quick-thinking Woodsy tapped the ball and scored while United had their backs to the ball and were retiring to the goal line. The also missed convert made the score 35-20 as the final whistle was blown after the attempt. The first Surrey win of the year was a relief for players and coaches alike.
SBAA 1st Division Men vs United RC – Win 45-24
The highlight match of the day had the Surrey First Division against a United team that Surrey had a watershed with in a game early in the second half of last season. In that neutral site match, due to weather, United frustrated Surrey with good defence and the Beavers compounded the frustration by lacking their own execution. Which teams would show up today?
Surrey would receive the kick off and grind it back into the United red zone and appeared to be on their way to the goal area when Surrey forced United into a penalty within reach of Brandon "The Cat" Gatto which was well made. 3-0 for Surrey early, so far so good. This seemed to over please the Beavers as they experienced a lack of intensity that allowed United to strike back with a long run that scored the for try of the match. The long convert was made by the very good United kicker. It was 7-3 for United. It would be interesting to see how Surrey would react to this adversity. The reaction featured strong ruck phase play that again pressured United and they would show a lack of discipline and take another penalty that Brandon Gatto would strike true. It was now 7-6 for United. Again, United refused to roll over, recognized a defensive mismatch, and made the Beavers pay for their lack of attention to detail by scoring an unconverted try, making things 12-6 for United. This had the Surrey on field leadership group up in arms, realizing they had experienced the very example of inadequate rugby outcomes. The group collected themselves and fought back, when the Beavers would take advantage of a United handling error. Surrey ran an 8th man pick from the subsequent scrum down and Matt Bose would score the try with authority. The tough convert brought matters to 12-11 for United, with the Beavs coming on. Surrey now clearly understood the path to victory and buckled down with a focused and concentrated effort. Before long The Beavers were driving and breaking out a run of runs. This process led to Matt Bose again depositing the ball in the goal area for a convincing try that Gatto topped off with a good kick, Surrey looked to be taking charge as they went ahead 18-13. The Beaver tide, which isn't a Castor disease, was rolling as just before half, United was penalized for 'hands in the ruck'. Surrey elected to kick for touch and take the lineout, which was caught & driven for another try that Gatto was to convert. The tally held at 25-12 for Surrey at the break.
Halftime itself was reserved for players only as the fellas were empowered to pull themselves together to find a formula that would provide the desired win, their first.
The half opened with some back & forth until United set up an overlap in the backs, which Surrey didn't recognize or respond too. The resulting 60-yard run for a try was converted, pulling United within a converted try of the lead. 25-19 for Surrey. The Beavers got themselves under control again and ground up time and field position on route to a 10-meter run by Joe Murphy off of a maul for his try, with the extra points shanked Surrey gained a moments breath with an 11-point spread at 30-19 for Surrey. Sure enough, a pesky and persistent United team would decide that this game wasn't over yet, when they stormed back with a kick & chase play that was recovered and dished off to a winger for a try that would keep them within reach of Surrey. The convert was not to be, and the active score was 30-24 for Surrey with their room for error gone. The Beaver supporters need not have fretted long when Surrey quickly answered the challenge with an overlap that scored winger Aaron Solomonsz in the corner, the convert was missed, but the margin expanded to a 9-point lead that provided some breathing room. 35-24 Surrey. The Beavers kept coming to finish off and close out United. After resumption of play Surrey would remain on offence and executed a series of offloads that was capped by David 'Burger' Jefferys in a good bit of hustle by the big man. The Beavers would then round out the scoring with another rambling try that included yeomans work done by Paul Kelly & Alex Martin who set up Ryan "not related to Jeff" Mitchell for the last points of the day, as the convert would be shy. The final whistle found the Firsts with their first win, a decisive 45-24 victory in which the Beavers played the quick rucking, off loading style that will serve them well in weeks and matches to come.
Two wins for Surrey against a United club that gave the Beavers fits at one point last season was encouraging for all, though it was noted by the coaches that these wins did not mean there was nothing left to work on in training. The process will be ongoing.
Just trying to capture the spirit of the thing.......