After finally recovering from the HSBC World 7s tournament at BC Place last weekend the Beavers were getting all geared up for another big day of rugby on Saturday.
The club had hosting duties against the Ridge Meadows Bruins in their division 2 women’s game, and the rest of the club was off to Abbotsford to have a huge club game day at Exhibition Park where 3 men’s division games would be played. The games against Abbotsford would mark the first time these two clubs had played each other since last Spring, and these two clubs have definitely built a strong rivalry in the last few seasons.
SBAA 2nd Division Women – Loss 15 - 5
The Beavers played their second game of the Spring season against the Ridge-Meadows Bruins on Saturday. The Beavs represented the home field in a game of twelves. The women showed great stamina and communication throughout the game. The forwards successfully gained ground through their offensive pods. Hard drives from players like Kristle Chand, Shawna Binns and Allison McMillan pushed the Bruins back into their own territory. Both teams had high tackles throughout the game which resulted in yellow cards being handed out in the second half. The Bruins received the first yellow card for high tackling and shortly after that one Maretta Taylor of the Beavers received a yellow card for the same offense. The Beavers stayed strong while playing shorthanded, and didn't allow the Bruins to gain ground. In the second half Allison McMillan passed the ball to Laura Leigh who handed it off to Hannah Edwards who ran in a score in the far corner. Hannah Edwards kicked, and missed the convert. All in all the Beavers are feeling happy about the game Saturday and feel that there had been success with good team communication. This added communication was reflected in the score of 15-5 loss to the Bruins; a team that just a few weeks ago the Beavers had lost to with a final score of 61-5.
Tries: Hannah Edwards (1)
Women of the Match: Alexis Dohnal was the best back and Hannah Edwards was the best forward.
SBAA 3rd Division Men – Win 40 -14
The Thirsty Thirds kicked off another weekend with three teams away at Abbotsford. Coming off a long break after a tough loss to Chiliwack, the Thirsty Thirds were ready to take the field and prove themselves against the always competitive Abbotsford 3rd div team. The Beavers started the game with a speedy Mike Duffle delivering a resonating tackle at the kick off, setting an early precedent. From there, it was nothing but confidence for the mighty Thirds’ side. This week the men made notable improvements to tackling and rucking. Using the lesson learned in Chiliwack to tighten up defense and take advantage of good positioning. The scrum had a new look for loose forwards this week with big hitting Cam McMurchy stepping into the number eight spot. Cam ran the ball into the Abbotsford defense relentlessly throughout the 1st half, forcing Abbotsford to double up on defense and resulting in thinner numbers out wide. The score stayed relatively even through the 1st half with Nate Hutchison and Jamahl Knowles charging outside Abbotsford’s defensive reach and scoring a try each to match Abbotsfords two.
Nate Hutchison had a great game this weekend playing some tough defense on the wing and stepping up in time of need to fill the scrum half position. Versatility proved to be the ticket to playing time on this 3rd division team. At half time the Beavers made some impact substitutions bringing in James Pedersen and Phil Walkden at second row. The Beavers scrum once again making multiple player changes and maintaining momentum of the game. As the Beavers received the second half kick and the field seemed to tilt towards the Abbotsford try line. Jamahl Knowles ran in his second try of the game, putting the Beavers in a more comfortable spot on the score board. The Beavers scrum made a great showing this weekend and pushed Abbotsford back off their own ball and in one instance, across the try line for a score by Shane Ram. Not to be outdone, brother Sheldon Ram threw himself across the line and through the Abby defense for a try of his own. The back three Kyle Johnson Jamahl and Mitch Robertson played a solid game as they found success running the ball wide in the 2nd half.
Many opportunities were result of well-played ball from the wings retrieving kicks, and spreading the ball wide. The Beavers’ centers did a great job of supporting the back three too. Mike Reinhardt found his way through the Abbotsford defense for a try as a result of running great support for his fellow backs through the game. Players and fans alike couldn't help but take notice to a stellar performance by the hard-running Aaron Solomonsz. Aaron brought solid defense and a hunger for yards on Saturday. His hard work and great team play resulted in a well-deserved try and the nod for man of the match. Hamish Dring entered late in the game at flanker but was an instant stand out .The young Dring would make use of his time by capitalizing on some Abby blunders and scored the final try for the Beavs. After a well fought game, the Beavers took home a 40-14 victory over the Abbotsford 3rd div side. A very well earned victory for the young Beaver side who has not beaten Abby at this level in several seasons; well done boys!
Tries: Shane Ram (1) Aaron Solomonsz (1) Nathan Hutchinson (1) Jamahl Knowles (2) Sheldon Ram (1) Mike Reinhart (1) and Hamish Dring (1)
Man of the Match: James Stroud was the best forward and Aaron Solomonsz was the best back.
SBAA 2nd Division Men – Win 34-30
After a fire cracker of a game by the 3rd division boys the 2nd div side was all ready to take the field. The men had played Abbotsford very well the last few seasons but in their last appearance against Abby in the semifinals last Spring season Abby had taken the match. Hungry for redemption the boys got rolling quickly.
From kickoff the level of pace the game was played at was fast and hard. Both clubs were fielding a solid division two side that arguably held players that could easily compete at the division 1 level. There were plenty of big hits, and big plays early on. The 1st half tittered back and forth from the home side holding momentum and then back to the visitors taking that momentum away. Despite some individual errors both teams were playing a very good solid team style of play. Abby had a slight edge in the set pieces but in open field both packs were equally matched and it was a great battle to watch for who got possession of the ball in the sets. Veteran Beavers’ player Aaron Desnoyers was a quick squeeze in at the hooker spot after Nolan Spalek suddenly became unavailable. Aaron brought a gritty veteran presence to the young pack and did well to make up for his size on the field with some excellent individual play. The tight five was a rock as perusal and the loose forwards did well to spread the ball wide and make every tackle count on defense. With both Martin brothers playing in the backline the backs did an excellent job eating up the Abby backs on defense and gaining good yards when taking the ball up the field. The kicking game was excellent going both ways and both teams constantly joisted for good field position. The weather was changing almost as quick as ball possession was changing on the field; there was wind, rain, hail, and even some blue sky within the 80-minute game. At half time the boys had 12 points to their name just behind Abby on the score line.
Ryan Mitchell and Joey Murphy as perusal pulled through in the 2nd half with some big time scores. Ryan put two down behind the goal line and Joey drove one down himself. In all three instances the team said no to taking points and instead decided to keep the pedal to the metal with quick tap plays. That was the name of the game all day long; a quick pace helped keep Abbotsford on their back foot. Great running by Iain Small and Andrew McIntyre helped keep possession of the ball in the Beavers hand and both players had outstanding games. Brandon Craig and standoff Dylan Tatomir also did an excellent job making good decisions at the 9 and 10 position. Late in the 2nd half Abbotsford had scored nearly back to back tries and had the Beavers on the back of their heels with some penalty calls. The boys had a hard time in the lineouts and scrums, but the late substitution of Sheldon Ram who had a stunner of 2nd half in the 3rd division game helped change that completely. Sheldon did an excellent job in supporting the ball at the rucks and bringing some much needed weight to the scrums.
With time running out and Abbotsford up 30-27 the Beavers were working hard to get the game won. Finding work and finding some extra grit in their boots the boys marched their way down deep into Abbotsford half. It was the work of the salty veteran Desnoyers who had the honor of pounding in the deciding try for the win with no time left in the game. The ball was touched down and everyone’s arms went up as they celebrated with a huge victory in Abbotsford. It is always a tough opponent to play so it was so much sweeter to beat them at their home field with no time left. With the convert good the final whistle blew for a 34-30 win over Abbotsford. Well done to everyone that played in that game and making it so entertaining to watch!
Tries: Aaron Desnoyers (1) Ryan Mitchell (2) Joey Murphy (1) Iain Small (1) and Alex Martin (1)
Man of the Match: Best forward was Jack Wallace, and best back was Brandon Craig.
SBAA 1st Division Men vs. Abbotsford RFC – Loss 28-21
The 1st division men took the field after witnessing their 2nd division brothers upset Abby in the last play of their game. Even though one of their backline starters was unable to take the field due to injury at warmup the men were confident they could get the upper hand on the always tough Abbotsford 1st division side. Both teams had new players on the roster compared to the teams that took the field last May in the BC 1st division final, but nonetheless the game on Saturday still had a playoff feel to it.
A sluggish defensive start to the game put Beavers behind quickly by a couple scores. Some very tough scrumming leaned heavily in the hand of Abbotsford who were able to steal one in the Beavers 22 and swing the ball out wide past some cheating Beaver backs who had shot up the line to quickly. Another turned over ball in a ruck in those first dozen minutes was quickly gobbled up by the home team who then quickly went the other way with down to the far corner. 12-0 with still roughly 68 minutes left in the game and it could have easily ended right then and there with the visitors calling it a day. However a very determined group of players were on the field for that game and in no way were they going to make it that easy for Abby. A much weaker team with less character than these boys may have called it a day right then and there, but these boys rallied and stayed very calm even while the Beaver sideline was on the verge of having mass panic attacks.
Minor adjustment were discussed and made including some adjustments in the front row with James Kelly moving to the hooker spot to add some veteran experience and weight to it. Abbotsford were doing well to kill the Beavers ball in the rucks all game long and the only way to fix that was to get the boys to hit the rucks harder and ball runners to do a better job maintaining ball control. Sure enough after a few minutes of adjusting the game became a much more balanced one.
The Beavers were successful after being beaten up in the first 10 minutes of the game in gaining some momentum from good hard forward play. Pounding the ball up the short side of the field was working well for the Beavers as they were able to support each other in tight. As Abby started to get into some penalty trouble of their own the Beavers were able to take advantage of good field position when fan favourite Trevor Sear was able to pound a ball over the goal line. The kick was good and it was now a 12-7 game. The boys knew how they had to play and tried to play a grittier game than Abbotsford.
Building off of the confidence from the Beaver try the boys worked hard to stay down in Abbotsford’s half and the balance of the game started to settle in. Were the Beavers were beat in the scrum, the home side could not stop the Beavers’ lineouts and the visitors did an excellent job on putting pressure and causing errors on Abby’s line outs too. The back line on both teams was settled in for a dog fight as both teams had solid centers and two veterans playing at standoff. Some of the bigger hits in the game came from the centers hammering each other throughout the half. A converted penalty kick for Abby gave them a little breathing room as they notched a 15- 7 led. But stubbornly the Beavers made it down inside the 10 meter line of the home team and with a beauty pop pass into space by skipper James Kelly his brother Paul collected the ball and touched it down for a try. The ensuing kick was good and all of a sudden it was a tightly contested 14-15 game. And neither side was looking as if they had any intentions on calling it quits.
Before the half would be done their was still plenty of time for both teams to put some points on the board. Abbotsford struck again with another penalty convert but the Beavers would finish the half with a beautifully chased chip kick by Ryno Jacobs with both centers Clay Ross and Jamie Beaton jointly catching the ball. After catching the ball Beaton walked it in untouched for the try. The whistle blew for half and surprisingly the Beavers were up 21-18. The men were going to have to keep working on their discipline if they wanted to finish this game with the lead because that was what was killing them with 6 points in penalty kicks for Abbotsford and even a few kicks that went wide was really making this game awfully close.
The 2nd half would be a barn burner and exemplify solid defense from the Beavers. In fact, it could be argued that the Beavers were on defense for over 90% of the 2nd half. Abbotsford threw everything it had at the Beavers and the boys were holding strong. Penalty errors were catching up to both teams and as soon as any phase play was getting going the whistle would blow. Both packs were joisting for position not only in the sets but in the rucks too and players were starting to get under each others skin. The referee did a good job managing both teams and keeping some calm for the most part but over all the emotion of the game was that both teams wanted the win at any cost. The Beavers must have said their prayers the night before because Abbys’ kicker coasted three penalty kicks wide after tying the game up earlier on in the half. Both teams kept fighting for hard yards and it appeared Abbotsford may have had a little more depth in the 1st division ranks than the Beavers had. With about 14 minutes left in the game Beavers inside center Clay Ross got a yellow card for a late hit and the boys stepped up for him for his time off. Slowing the ball down at the breakdowns and containing it in tight the boys masterfully took away Abbys extra man advantage. Following the bin being over with the Beavers were gasping for some rest on defense. Unfortunatley for the boys after one to many penalties was called on the Beavers late and on their own 35 the players didn’t react quick enough to a quick tap penalty that was brought up the field with solid pace and then swung out wide to be scored in the corner. Shockingly Abbys’ kicker slotted his toughest kick of the game and the Beavers were down 28-21 with only a handful of minutes left in the game. The boys worked hard to get the ball down the field but were not able to get many offensive opportunities come their way that late in the game. The whole 2nd half was uncharacteristic to how the 1st half was played and the offensive opportunities were just not there for the Beavers. As the final whistle blew the 1st division team looked down in disappointment as they were hoping for a big win to seal three win swing for the club that day, but unfortunately they just came up short. The sidelines with all their loyalty still cheered and clapped the boys off the field and told all of them that should be proud of their effort that day; it was a great game of rugby!
The men played a hard physical game and with still more than half their season left to play the team will be looking to make some real noise in the coming weeks. If they want to be relevant in the playoff picture the 1st division needs some big wins coming up.
Tries: Trevor Sear (1) Paul Kelly (1) and Jamie Beaton (1)
Man of the Match: Best forward was Sean Connelly and the best back was Clay Ross.
This Saturday coming up will be the Beavers annual Alumni day at Sullivan Heights Park so come on down if you are in town and support your local Beavers as they look to win all their matches!