The Spring campaign had finally arrived for the Beavers, and after the club’s players had all of December to rest and only focus on the “social aspects” of the club it was finally time to get back to the sport of rugby.
The cold weather had obviously impacted most clubs and their team training sessions, and the Beavers by Saturday, January 28 had only had four training sessions outside. This compared to the month and a half Fall preseason the club had has left the coaching staff in 2017 trying to condense about three weeks of planned training sessions into only a handful of training sessions before the season started. All clubs have clearly been placed in the same boat so there was no time to feel sorry for each other and the Beavers’ coaching staff did their best to prepare the players the best they could for Saturday’s matches. The women headed off to Ridge Meadows to face the always-tough Bruins who have dominated the Beavers in women’s and 3rd division men the last few seasons. The 2nd division men would be the only men’s side in action playing host to the Fall Cup runner-ups Kamloops Raiders. With the snow now cleared from the fields the Beavers looked to set a path to starting the 2017 Spring season off on the right foot.
SBAA 2nd Division Women: Loss 61 - 5
Saturday started the beginning of the spring half for the Beavers 2nd division women. They played a hard hitting 10's game against the Ridge Meadows Bruins. The Ridge Meadows women played hard, fast, and showed off their strong rucking capabilities. The Beavers focused on structure and maintaining ball control. The team worked well together throughout the game, and the ladies had amazing communication. Unfortunately, their efforts did not fuse together to give the side a win.
The women at this time are less concerned about the outcomes of their games on the score sheet and more concerned about getting execution and building a team mentality on and off the field. The club still has plenty of work to do to build a strong women’s side but it is excellent to see that the women are fielding a team consistently at the division 2 level and developing several young, aspiring women rugby players at the same time.
Keep the hard work up ladies!
Tries: Alexis Dohnal (1)
Women of the Match: Best back was Alexis Dohnal and best forward was Steph Jones
SBAA 2nd Division Men: Loss 20 - 17
The 2nd div men had the honor of opening up the 2017 campaign for the Surrey senior men and they had a real challenge on their hands with a very tough Kamloops opponent coming for a visit. The boys knew that Kamloops was going to be eager and hungry to even up the series as the Beavers took wins in the regular season Fall match, and the Fall Cup Final. The lads were happy to see fine weather on a January day and satisfied in seeing their home field finally without snow on it even though it does look to be more brown than green at present. Never the less the fans came out the men were warmed up and ready to kick off the Spring rugby season.
The 1st half was a tight match, but the Beavers did start off strong and had some solid running in their backline. Center Jeff Bergunder had some solid runs off led passes from starting fly half Dylan Tatomir and Jeff looked to break the defensive line on several occasions. Unfortunately for the Beavs holding onto the ball for more than a few phases was an issue, and on several occasions the 2nd div side found themselves either knocking on the ball or losing the ball at the breakdown. There was no early reward for the Beavers for good running from the centers as support on the ball runner wasn’t good enough. Finally, Alex Martin another hard running center decided to take matters into his own hands and scored the first try of the game on a stiff run that knocked down the first defender, and then running through the next defender he ran in for a stellar big boy try. Just like that the Beavers were up 5-0 with a missed convert attempt.
Fellow back and winger Jareed Samuel also led by example and picked up the loose ball in open field and ran it in untouched from 20 plus meters away for a nice score. However, for the Beavers besides some stellar individual plays the whole team concept of the game was lacking especially in supporting each other at the breakdowns and in open play. Possession was a major issue for the Beavers in this match and the men did not take advantage of most of the positive individual play happening out on the pitch.
Before half time Kamloops rallied and got two penalty kicks and a late try that gave them the led 13-10. The boys were physically in the game, but clearly not mentally and were constantly shooting themselves in the foot with the amount of errors they were making at the breakdown. Too many penalties and too many turnovers had not only kept the Raiders in the game, but gave them the led.
The coaches decided that putting some reserves in at halftime and just after half would help rally the troops so some changes were made. Some fresh forwards in the pack and some veteran backs were thrown into the game with the belief that they would turn the tide. Unfortunately even with scrums now leaning in Surrey’s favor and solid line out plays, Kamloops kept the game physical and it was tough for the Beavers to gain any momentum. There were some good breaks in play by several Beaver players, but execution was not there and the lads failed to take advantage of several offensive opportunities. The forwards inconsistency at the break down was a killer and to many times they found themselves getting pushed off their own ball. The biggest issue on the day was missed kicks for points and the fact that the Beavers left 10 points on the board from missed kicks was a major issue. By the 60th minute of the game when a kick for points would have tied the game up for the Beavers the kick attempt was considered an afterthought and the boys tried to pound it in to no avail.
With Kamloops striking first in the 2nd half with some solid running and play by their forwards they took a solid 20-10 led. An excellent counter attack by 2nd div back veteran Tyler Johnson a Beaver try was scored with finally a good convert kick by Brandon Craig. The game would still see plenty of good opportunities that turned into disaster as the side just couldn’t finish on the day and get some much needed points. Neither the bounces nor the calls were going in the Beavers favor on that day and the division 2 men would have to accept their first loss in what had been a solid 3 month winning streak.
Total credit to the Kamloops Raiders who showed up to the field well prepared and they were clearly the hungrier team on the day. No question Kamloops deserved to win the game as the Beavers were a little to lethargic, and submissive in their play and because of that they left the field with a loss and only 1 bonus point.
Head coach Kevin Taylor said after the game that wins do not happen from “good spurts of play”, and that is all the Beavers showed on Saturday; some great individual play was not complimented by the necessary good solid team play that was present all throughout the Fall season. The men will get back to it at training as there is no time to wallow in a loss, but instead grow from it and get better. The competition only looks to be getting tougher as a solid Meraloma side comes for a visit this Saturday.
Tries: Alex Martin (1) Jareed Samuel (1) and Tyler Johnson (1)
Man of the Match: Best back was Tyler Johnson and best forward was Joey Murphy
The club looks to have a very exciting day on Saturday, February 4 as they play host in all three senior men’s games and one senior women’s game. This season already looks to be a real challenge if the Beavers expect to be considered one of the top clubs in their respected competition.