As of December 1st, advent calendars were hung, and kids lined up for their daily sugar bomb hand outs and soon Santa will be on his way. However, before the seasonal festivities can begin there was one more piece of business to tend to as the Second Division drove to Coquitlam to face United RFC. As will happen after 3 months of rugby injuries and as the weather turns colder, there were fewer and fewer players available for selection and attending training. The coaching staff were once again scrambling to fill spots.
SBAA 2nd Division Men vs United RC – Win 34-5
Both Surrey and United had only this game on the schedule, as Surrey was looking to move into second place in the 2nd Division standings and United was looking for their second win, it was possible that there would be plenty of 1st Division players available. The respective line ups were set accordingly. The weather was somewhat typical for the date, clear and sunny, but chilly, worse so in the shade on the visiting team’s sidelines.
The match began with Surrey pressuring United right from the kick off. Surrey spent the first 15 minutes in the United half, with a stout defence they withstood the Beaver barrage. As Surrey was building momentum it was cut short by a knee injury to 12 Shane Ram, who was replaced by veteran Robbie Sisson. Surrey carried on putting together a series of phases which was capped off by Joey Murphy's try to open the gambit. Brandon "The Cat" Gatto stepped up and stroked the conversion from in front of the posts. The 7-0 lead was full value for Surrey's effort. The resulting kick off had United on the front foot and pressuring. It appeared United was threatening, but the determined 2nds drove them out of danger, back down the park, and forced United into a penalty within the range of a confident Brandon Gatto. Penalty kick attempted, penalty kick made. 10-0 Beavs. United kicked off again, Surrey allowed the ball to touch the ground before being played, and United was able to recover and applied real pressure on the white and green clad, optional jersey wearing, Beavers. It was during this stretch of play that the United backs weren't consistent with the quality of their passes and a weakness was exposed. Despite passes being chucked anywhere between the shoe laces and the stratosphere, United gave away very few scrums by way of knock ons. If they got hands near the ball it was generally caught and United began to run hard lines with encouraging results, that eventually resulted in a solid try from some good running from their elusive 13. Another United weakness exposed in the first half was their kicking, whether for touch, kick off, or field position, the execution was sub par and there to be taken advantage of. The depth of the issue became obvious when a prop forward attempted to convert their try. The result was what my father would have said was, "closer before he tried, at least he had a turn". So now Surrey knew that United's goal kicking wasn't likely to be a factor going forward, not that they could afford to be sloppy. Before too much longer Robbie Sisson broke a score and carried 2 defenders in goal. This try was the pay off for a sustained period of possession where Surrey was noticeably beginning to take control of the match in territory and possession. The half closed at 17-5 Surrey. The coaching brain trust assembled the lads and passed on the wisdom only acquired by years of study, "Play rugby, HARDER." The boys accepted the challenge well and some substitutes were made. It was evident United had substitutes of their own, as the second half started more evenly matched. It was several minutes into the half when skipper Dylan Vermette took a yellow card for his team’s repeated infringements and now the Beavs were short handed with United coming on. No one worried too long, as almost immediately after the carding Surrey scored a try when Ryan Mitchell capped off a tight possession series. The Gatto convert was gold. This development really seemed to deflate the home side, as not long after United gave away a penalty in kicking range. Big mistake. Kick made, 27-5 Surrey. Things were going so well the Beavers considered staying with 14 men even after the binning was over. Surrey scored 10 points with 14 men, so obviously going to 13 men was discussed as an interesting strategy. United posed no serious threat the rest of the way, as the game was played primarily in their half. Late edition to the starting line up Chris "The Hammer " Atkinson, began to really assert himself defensively with a series of crushing, legal, tackles that had no less than 4 different United backs taking some time to get up from, sustaining a second such tackle drove the United 10 from the game. The 2 sides continued to run hard and tackle hard. The last score of the day was as anticlimactic as it was pretty. Number 8, Steve "French" Friesen picked up on our scrum and had a good gain before being tracked down, just as he dished off to Ty Robertson, who scored the on the classic 87, back row play, from 22 meters. Gatto put the cherry on the sundae with another convert. The final score was a decisive 34-5 for the winners, Surrey. At the end of the day Surrey had the same scoring pattern, Try, Convert, Penalty, Try, and Convert in the first and Try, Convert, Penalty, Try, and Convert in the second half for 17 points & 17 points, doubling up of 34 points.
Tries: Joey Murphy(1), Robbie Sisson(1), Ryan Mitchell(1), Ty Robertson(1)
Converts: Brandon Gatto(4)
Penalty Kicks: Brandon Gatto(2)
The 2018/2019 season picks up again on January 19, 2019, with your Surrey Beavers taking on challengers the following week on January 26, when for the 3rd straight meeting between the Firsts and Bayside. The Thirsty Thirds schedule has yet to be posted and the above First and Second Division fixtures are subject to change. Keep posted to your SBAA information network for developments.
See the Holiday Season event calendar, the highlights being the Christmas Banquet, December 7, December 9 is Breakfast with Santa, Carolling Pub Crawl on December 20, and the Boxing Day Football game is December 26. Hope to see you all there.
I personally wish everyone, all the best, for the upcoming holiday season and New Year. Come to think of it, I wish everyone, all the best - all the time, not just during this season, but 365 days a year.
Just trying to capture the spirit of the thing......