SBAA 3rd Division Men – Loss 31 - 14
The Thirsty Thirds made the trek to Squamish for the last game of the season, and what a game it was! All players arrived at the field early and got in a good warm up. The Beavers' 3rd div side used their warm up to gain a pregame focus that they had been missing throughout the season. The 3rds kicked off the game and sent their speed in to make the first hit. Heavy pressure was put on the Axemen as the Beavers held the gain line solid to start the half. Reid Mathews, Mike Duffill, and Darian Archer went to work doing what they did best all season, applying pressure behind the gain line and making offense difficult for the opposing team. This week Surrey wasn't the team that came out sleeping. Surrey brought more front rowers to this game than any other this year. Jason Leigh, Kjell Hope, and Sheldon Ram started the game and quickly showed the Axemen what being a Surrey front rower was all about.
Some unfortunate events mid-way through the half caught the Beavers off guard and the Axemen capitalized on opportunities to create a lead on the Thirsty Thirds. True to their intense spirit and determination as a club, Surrey never gave up on the game. Forward pod after forward pod, the Beavers marched the ball down to the Axemen goal line. Cam McMurchy ran hard line again and again into the Squamish defense with gains on most runs. Cam does a great job getting in the face of the opponents and causing disruption. The Beavers grinded it out on the Axemen goal line as the half started to wind down. With just enough time to spare, Shane Ram found his way through the Axemen for the first try of the day for the Beavs. Coming back after 3 Axemen scores was the beginning of where the Beavers stepped up and played some of the hardest rugby seen all year.
In the 2nd half, the Beavers received the kick and went to work. Jordon Sousa played well in the centers making gains in the back line and providing some hard hitting defense at crucial moments. The Thirsty Thirds had a new look in the back three to finish off the season. Zabi Maqbul played a great game coming up huge defensively on many occasions as the Axemen tried to spread the ball wide. The back three did a great job moving the ball around the pitch on Saturday. The Beavers continued pressure on Squamish throughout the 2nd half. Robbie Sisson split his head open and left a pint of blood in Squamish, only to miss 10 mins of playing time while coach Smarty and a posse of 3rds put their first aid to good use. Robbie was a huge presence on Saturday and his intensity both offensively and defensively was inspirational for the Thirsty Thirds.
The Beavers finished off the last half of rugby with a huge drive down the field. Executing with both the forwards and the backs and after many crash ball from forwards and backs, Derrek Halicki weaved tumbled and stumbled his way with a kick and a roll for the final try of the Thirsty Thirds season. A great effort by the backs with Derrek finishing the play off.
The Thirsty Thirds came together to finish the season strong. The excitement for rugby on Saturdays grew through the year. The Beavers came together and fought against struggles, such as rotating rosters, game cancellations, and inexperience. Through it all the Beavers came together to be the Thirsty Thirds. The 3rds had many accomplishments throughout the season, starting with simple things like having a full roster at every game and highlights of beating teams that had it coming from last half. The Thirsty Thirds demonstrated accountability and determination throughout the season, jelling together and trusting one another to be responsible for their own job on the field. The Thirsty Thirds will be back next Fall season for sure!
A big thank you and much appreciation to our dedicated and enthusiastic coaches. Coach Smarty, hurling abuse and white noise from his perch on the home field. And finally, thank you to Coach Byron for bringing a sort of responsibility to the Thirsty Thirds. You especially did this in the forwards organizing the chaos that is a line out and penalty practice.
Tries: Derrek Halicki (1) and Sheldon Ram (1)
Man of the Match: Cam McMurchy was the best forward and the best back was Jordon Sousa
SBAA 1st Division Men BC Quarter Final Game – Win 41 - 31
The 1st division team took the field on Saturday with little doubt that they couldn’t take care of business and move onto the BC semifinals. Even though the club didn’t really know exactly what they should expect from a well-rested Westshore RFC side they knew the club had somewhat of a loose affiliation with the Canada men’s rugby program being located so close to CR’s Center of Excellence. Nonetheless the Beavers were very confident and were happy to take on any challenge Westshore was going to throw their way. After witnessing in person the lineup Westshore came over with on Saturday it was a good thing the Beavs were confident, because the visitors came over determined to steal a win away from the home side. And matching up the two sides it was Westshore that appeared to have more size in the forward pack than the Beavers. Also playing at open side flanker for the visitors was Canada player Clayton Panga who has had plenty of experience playing in international games over the last few years. Not phased the Beavers felt they still had the grittier scrum on the field with a more tenacious back row and as always the boys were confident in the magic the Beavers’ backs could create.
The 1st half tested the resilience of both teams as Beaver and Westshore players were eager to get under each other’s skin. A high late hit on standoff Jamie Beaton got everyone on the home side a little on edge not wanting Westshore players taking cheap shots on their own teammates. There were plenty of penalties around the tackle area and the ruck which led to a kicking contest in the 1st half for points. Westshore opened the scoring with a penalty kick and then the Beavers followed up with one; this repeated itself until it was a 9-9 tie. Even though it appeared the penalty count was leaning much more in the visitor’s direction the Beavers were taking penalties in the wrong parts of the field. Never the less the referee did a good job in staying out of the game as much as he could and allowed the players to dictate who was going to win the quarter final match. The Beavs were doing well in shutting down Westshore’s heavy forwards as they ran a simple north/south style up the field. Chris Atkinson was an absolute monster in his tackles and did a fabulous job shutting down the visitor’s big boys for major gains. Paul Kelly back at open side flanker shut down any attack Westshore thought they may have had off the scrums while the remainder of the pack including Matt Bose, Sean Connelly, James Kelly, Nick Bruce, and Trevor Sear did an excellent job driving the visitors back on their hits. Dave Jeffreys was once again the most effective player in the scrums and frustrated Westshore's front row all game long. The backline forced the visitors to do lots of kicking as Westshore’s centers weren’t getting anywhere trying to run through Jamie Beaton, Clay Ross, and Reid Gordon. Unfortunately for the Beavers their wingers were a little lethargic on kick counters at first and collecting Westshore’s deep kicks was putting the Beavs in high pressure situations. Westshore’s strength at this time was their kicking game and both their standoff and full back utilized their boot a lot. The visitors were also excellent in the line outs and they executed very well but didn’t get far bringing it down to a maul almost every time. The Beavers were struggling somewhat with their lineouts as their execution was not as crisp as they’d wish with some silly errors happening resulting in turn overs or penalties. Evidently the 1st half was used by both teams to find the strengths and weaknesses of one another and both sides were doing their best to take advantage of each other’s weaknesses.
The Beavers definitely looked more dangerous in open field and on three occasions looked as if they’d for sure punch a try in, but Westshore’s resilience showed as the home side was held to only 3 converted penalty kicks in the 1st half. Under a minute left in the half Westshore put another deep kick down to the Beavers’ 5 meter line and a shallow kick back down the field by Robert Jones was never chased and was picked up and scored down by Westshore. The halftime score of 16-9 allowed the visitors to go into the 2nd half with some confidence and the home side with a little self-doubt if they had what it would take to win this game.
The Beavers however knew they had the fire power to get back into the game and take the lead. The boys were told at half to let go of any self-doubt they may have and get ready to play the best rugby of their season. Fired up and ready to make a statement in the game the boys retook their position on the field to receive a kick. No more than five minutes into the half a big break came as the Beavers stole a scrum from a very well hooked ball by Nick Bruce. Taking the ball at pace the Beaver backline stormed 70 meters down the field to touch down their first try of the game. Fired up the boys knew they would have to keep playing like this to win. After the quick score the boys played with a lot more swagger and did a much better job attacking up the field. The boys were making breaks all over midfield and did an excellent job attacking out wide with good numbers. Another penalty convert and try by winger Alex Martin gave the Beavs a little breathing room as all that Westshore could fire back with was another penalty kick. With the score now 24-19 the Beavers worked hard to keep the pedal down. Finding more and more holes in Westshores’ defence out wide the Beavers focused their attack there. Off a nicely controlled line out the boys struck right underneath the posts as skipper James Kelly broke through the line and gave a nice pass to Jamie Beaton who was then hit high and given the penalty try. Westshore however followed up with a try and made it a 31-24 match with about 14 minutes left in the game. The home side still looking to take the game out of reach for Westshore they again made some great breaks down the field and finally Riley Nagy touched down a try after some great execution. Now 36 – 24 the Beavers struck one more time out wide with a quick try again coming from Beaton. As time was nearing the full 80 some great defensive work in the Beavers’ own 22 ended with Westshore touching down a very hard earned score. Following the try there was only about 3 minutes left in the match and the Beavers kept the ball in Westshore’s end. The visitors couldn’t depend on their deep kicks but instead had to try and retain ball and get through the Beavers’ stubborn defense. One too many passes out wide by Westshore led to a turned over knock on advantage and with no time left the ball was kicked into touch from the base of a ruck and the game was over.
A very hard earned win for the Beavers, and the boys should be tremendously proud about the 2nd half they played putting up 32 points. Thanks to Westshore RFC for making the trip to the mainland; it was fantastic to see the club play new competition in the playoffs. It is fantastic to get the opportunity to play Island competition during the year and the Beavers were happy hosts to their welcomed guests back at the Beaverlodge. It's hard to say when the next time will be when these two clubs will face each other again, but it was a pleasure hosting such a great group of players.
Tries: Riley Johnson (1) Riley Nagy (1) Jamie Beaton (2) Alex Martin (1)
Man of the Match: Best back was Jamie Beaton & Robert Jones and best forward was Paul Kelly & David Jeffreys
The boys now have another busy week of training as they must face Meraloma in the 1st Division BC Semi Final game, while the 2nd Division men will host Kamloops Rugby Club in the 2nd Division BC Semi Final game. It should be two hard fought games and the Beavers look to extend their season for one more week!