Saturday in the park, feels like the fourth of July…would you believe September 15? Yes, Fall is officially a week away and the rains have begun. There was no rain that could dampen the spirits of the Beavers and the Beaver faithful as Week 2 began in the BCRU.
Surrey was tasked with 3 games this day. The 3rds started the day at home against UBC, simultaneously the 2nds were away, on the rock, at SFU RFC, and the 1sts were home to United RC. The schedule maker’s faculties were called into question as it appeared to make no sense to have the 2nds away from home and unable to support the 1s. However, when the schedule maker gives you lemons, you juice them and add vodka, such was the roster planning.
SBAA 3rd Division Men vs UBC – Loss 19-21
The first home game of the season was the Thirsty Thirds taking on UBC. The writer was in the parking lot when the UBC bus arrived and 25 strapping young university students stepped off. It was apparent that the 3rd division line up was going to have their work cut out for them. The 3rds were punctuated with 1st division subs and some returning veterans. It was understood that UBC would have players that most likely played a pretty good level of High School Rugby and represented age grade rugby. It was clear they were going to be fit and well organized. The strategy then was to keep the Beaver offence tight and not give too much opportunity for handling errors on the drizzly day. It was felt that an old style hard rucking forwards in your face Beaver Rugby would give the club the best chance of success in the match. When Captain Riley Robinson led the boys on the pitch, having to make a last minute substitution as starting flanker and veteran Clayton “TQ”(Twenty Questions) Andrews didn’t ask enough questions, like “Where is the game?”, and drove to UBC. Another seasoned Beaver Marshall Farmer stood up when called and distinguished himself. Boot met ball the game played out as thought.
Both sides came out with several handling errors and a rash of early scrums. After a feeling-out period the sides settled in with UBC striking first on the board. The thirds kicked from behind their 22, and said kick was run back through them by a solid kick-counter attack. Having to eat points from a breakdown has been a Thirds trait going back a couple of years, except this time the 3s stood up and relatively soon after answered back with a big run from #10 Jordan Sousa who stepped up and converted his own try from in front of the posts. The first half ended in a respectable 7-7.
The second half settled down to a back and forth game. The Beavs had long periods of play only to lose 2 tries as a result of a period of disorganization. On each occasion they replied, first with good strong forward pressure turning into a try by Biran Manak that was the highlight of the forward movement with hard running by returnee Adam van Niekerk. The third try came off a very well-placed coffin corner kick by Sousa that was collected and put down by the speedy winger Nate Hutchinson. The only difference between the two teams on the day was the conversion of the second try, which Surrey missed a wide attempt and UBC made all of theirs. A well played good hard game with the 3rds taking a tough loss 21-19. Thanks for the great match UBC, best of luck with the rest of the season.
Tries: Jordan Sousa(1), Biran Manak(1), and Nate Hutchinson(1)
Converts: Jordan Sousa(2)
SBAA 2nd Division Men vs SFU RFC – Win 37-7
The 2nd Division game took place simultaneously to the 3rds and no matter what the voices say I can’t be in two places at once. The details were provided in an in-depth interview with forward coach Jeff Mitchell. “The forwards maintained solid ball possession and Darian Archer was a defensive asset, as usual,” said Mitchell.
The Beavers used the foot to further their cause putting SFU in awkward situations on a sloppy track all game long. In the backs, rising star Brandon Gatto was making good decisions and young Spencer Mitchell (related) was strong on the defensive side. Mitchell pointed to one play where the only sub on the day, long time veteran rugby player Adam Dring received a kick off and managed to run 40 yards and set up a successful ruck that led to a seal-the-deal try from Ryan Mitchell (not related). Overall the forwards were a solid unit who worked well together unselfishly with 4 of the 5 tries scored by different forwards. The backs put up a wall on defence stifling the majority of the SFU attack. Surrey won with a very convincing 37-7 final.
A much better result compared to week 1 and the Div 2 boys next match will be on Sept 29 when they will take on Burnaby Lake RFC for the Div 2 lads first home game of the season.
Tries: Joey Murphy(1), Brandon Gatto(1), Ryan Mitchell(1), Steve Friesen(1), Cam McMurchy-Barber(1)
Converts: Brandon Gatto(3)
Penalty Kicks: Brandon Gatto(2)
SBAA 1st Division Men vs United RC – Win 82-19
The 1st Division game against United RC was to be another measuring stick in the 6 team league, as with the Original 6 NHL franchises each club will see a lot of each other and each game will have a potential on playoff tie breakers in categories such as head to head and point differential. The Beavers came out a bit tentative it seemed, but there is a reason a rugby match is 80 minutes . The game started with not much in the way of excitement. The play was in the center third of the field with possession being somewhat even. United made some early errors and took penalties in their own end and Jamie Beaton slotted an early penalty kick establishing a relatively early 3-0 lead. With everything going well, a blocked clearance deep in the Beaver defensive end allowed United back in the game after recovering the ball in the end zone. The convert was missed and United held a slim 5-3 lead for a short period. Not soon after the kick off the Beavers got back down in the United’s half with possession and took another crack for points. A good kick gave the Beavers a 6-5 lead, and the boys would never look back. Surrey scored soon after by Jamie Beaton on a defiant run through the heart of the United backs. Beaton converted his own try and there was an obvious up tick in the gate of the Beavers walking back to accept the kick off. The 1sts were really seen to gel as they scored 4 more tries before the half; 1) Nick Sharp, winger, picked up a beautiful one bounce pass off a scrum and made a determined run down the touch line and overcame contact at the try line for a great effort, 2) Iain Small made a pick off a nicely wheeled scrum and took his tackler into the end zone as he put the ball down, 3) Marcus Tam made a pure speed run from 40 yards, out pacing his chasers, and 4) Tyler Johnson also had a big run with United players being juked and straight armed. At the half Surrey was firmly in command at 39-5.
The second half was more of the same with Surrey appearing to score at will and United being unable to stop them in any meaningful way. The performances were turned in all over the pitch with another 6 tries in the half; 1) Clay Ross collected a beautifully placed grubber Beaton put the through the United backline and scored with ease 2) The entire pack should be credited with the next try as their heavy rucking work (as demonstrated in the last 5 min against Abby) drew United into a scrum on their own goal line that resulted in a stolen ball and 7 point penalty try after a high tackle was made on Iain Small going over the line for a try 3)David Jeffreys powered in a try from a rucking situation at short yardage, 4)Nat Silva scored as he was passed the ball unselfishly from Beaton on the goal line without a defender within 20 yards, having just received a pass from Jamie Beaton in the same situation, Beaton or Ross could have easily scored, but showed true class in ensuring that Silva scored as well. Hats off boys!! 5)Giuseppe Lagrutta came on as a sub, having played the entire 3rds game and scored a try. And 6) Clay Ross ended the festivities with another 5 pointer. Surrey scored 40 points in the second half, eclipsing the mark of 39 in the first half enroute to a try-fest over United and giving up a couple 2nd half tries to the visitors who were down but not a crushed side.
The Div 1 lads look to continue their excellent play this Saturday as they head over to Port Alberni and give the Black Sheep a visit. The boys look forward to playing in the outstanding venue the Black Sheep call home.
Tries: Jamie Beaton(1), Nick Sharp(1), Iain Small(2), Marcus Tam(1), Tyler Johnson(1), Clay Ross(2), David Jeffreys(1), Nat Silva(1), and Giuseppe Lagrutta(1)
Converts: Jamie Beaton(10)
Penalty Kicks: Jamie Beaton(2)