SBAA 2nd Division Men vs Kamloops RFC – Win 25-22
With byes in 1st & 3rds (due to the collapse of Ridge Meadows) the 2nds had the entire home stage to themselves on Saturday when they hosted defending BC Second Division Champions and current first place Kamloops RFC, a team that wouldn't be out of place in First Division. The fourth place Beavers had their work cut out for them.
Kamloops arrived at Sullivan Heights in a luxury coach and unloaded their side. A quick look hinted that Kamloops might not be as physically dominating as previous incarnations, and this was confirmed at kick off. Kamloops was definitely not as big as they were in the BC semifinals 2 seasons earlier, but with their record, they had to be doing something right. They probably still outweighed their host by only 10 pounds per man, on average, instead of 30.
Kick off and the early going had Surrey regularly moving forward and Kamloops defending. When in their own end Kamloops took some undisciplined penalties that Brandon 'The Cat' Gatto bashed over the bar, making 2 of 3, and putting pressure on the visitors to be better in the shadow of their posts. Not before too much longer, the Beavers, continuing their form, punched across a good team try after a series of hard rucks with prop forward Nolan Spalek doing the honors, which was converted by Gatto. The match settled down and Kamloops began to apply their own pressure by attacking and challenging Surrey to stop them, which they did for the bulk of the half. The Kamloops winger on the near side hoisted a high ball to his opposite number. Spencer Mitchell caught the ball bravely as coached and was immediately levelled by the kicker who recovered the ball and was able to score a try before being run down by a hoard of Beavers. It became clear that this was one of the reasons Kamloops have enjoyed their success to this point and Surrey was on notice. The half time whistle found the black & yellow Beavers leading the black & purple visitors, 13-7.
In the second half Kamloops found their legs and began to show some push back scoring a try on a long, time consuming possession that had a series of serious rucks and mauls. This was the fruition of what was observed in the first half by Kamloops. Despite an answer from Marcus Tam who made a big run to put down a major, Surrey appeared to be slumping. After the extra kick was missed by Surrey and a penalty kick made by Kamloops, they narrowed the margin to 18-15, for Surrey. Kamloops kept up the pace and turned in another try on a huge run with suspect Beaver tackling, late in the game. It was now a 4 point game with Surrey looking up for the first time all day. The Beaver brain trust made some final substitutions in an attempt to harden the pack and shore up back line defence. These changes had the desired effect, in a short time, as Iain Small (usually a back rower) found himself with ball in hand from an unfamiliar position in the centres and rumbled in a try. The convert was made and gave Surrey the lead 25-22 with the last 5 minutes to slog out. The Seconds took a page from the First Division play book against Abbotsford in the first week and began short gain pick & goes, maintaining possession and running out the clock enroute to the 25-22 final score. A fine day was turned in by the forwards who fought a very hard Kamloops pack. David 'Burger' Jefferies, Captain Steve Friesen, and 8 Ty Robertson stood out. Joey Murphy and Cam McMurchy-Barber ran hard at the opposition defence. Backs Brandon Gatto, Robbie Sisson, and wingers Riley Robinson and Spencer Mitchell were stout on defence, while Marcus Tam, Sisson and Shane Ram were notable with the ball. A fantastic effort from Surrey with stiff opposition from Kamloops gave the supporters an excellent match, as it was the only one all were satisfied with the outcome, except maybe Kamloops.
Tries: Nolan Spalek(1), Marcus Tam(1), Iain Small(1)
Converts: Brandon Gatto(2)
Penalties: Brandon Gatto(2)
Just trying to capture the spirit of the thing.....