On Saturday the Beavers headed to Langley Rugby Club’s home field at Crush Crescent Park. The boys were treated to a great Alumni day hosted by Langley who made sure everything ran smoothly off the field.
It was very well organized with a shuttle driving alumni, spectators and players from the overflow parking down the road to the field, there was the smell of fire roasted chicken in the air from an open pit BBQ, and not a dry mouth was to be found as the home side did their absolute best to make sure no one went thirsty. There was a 50/50 draw with all funds going towards some Langley mini players and an awesome crowd around the field as Beaver and Langley fans stood in the rain as they cheered for their respected clubs. Even though the wind was howling, the field was soaked, and rain coming down in buckets it was still a fantastic day to be part of as both clubs were ready to make the most out of the afternoon.
SBAA 2nd Division – Win 37 – 6
The 2nd division team was in enemy territory on Saturday and kicked off the day with a boom. When the Beavs and Langley meet it always becomes a very hard and physical game. The 1st half begun with a Beavers’ kickoff deep into enemy territory, and strong runners from the opposition worked to drive the ball up field. The Beavers however were successful in keeping the pressure in Langley’s face for multiple phases throughout the game. The physical nature of the opposing side caused frustration for the visiting pack, which led to a few penalties early on. This frustration was evident all day as every ruck was a dog fight between the teams. While on attack, a late hit on a chip kick through put Beavers’ star fullback Marcus Tam out of the game. After the dust settled from the late hit, outside centre James Bailey made a line break through multiple defenders, and slipped off a pass as he was being tackled, which led to one more pop to big lock Joey Murphy for the first try of the day. While on the attack, a handling error 20 meters out caused a scrum for the opposition. Hooker Dylan Vermette was able to steal the put in, and skipper Iain Small quickly capitalized on this with a blind side pick, with only a winger to beat over the line for another try. For the rest of the half the Beavers took advantage of kicking the ball in a downfield wind to keep the opposition on their back foot. This helped keep the Beavers out of the dirty work with the opposition and allowed them to utilize their highly skilled back line. Once the backs were able to gain momentum, they found space and were successful with 2 more tries from winger Mikey Reinhardt, and James Bailey.
In the 2nd half the Beavers made a conscious effort to stay out of the niggly stuff and focused on making tackles and getting away as fast as possible. While most of this half was spent in the Beavers’ own end they were able to keep Langley at bay and force their own handling errors to turn the ball over. Flanker Andrew McIntyre was able to use his wingspan to steal the bulk of the Langley line outs throughout the game. Without the ability to dictate their line outs, and move the ball downfield, the opposition was showing frustration and by remaining patient, the Beavers were able to exhaust the opposition and standoff Dylan Tatomir was able to find the try line himself. Winger Aaron Desnoyers managed to touch down another try after Dylan’s in the corner on an overlap and Joey Murphy also plowed through for his second try of the game. The scoreboard was a reflection of the success the Beavers found on the field, but it does not represent the rough, physical battle both teams put forth on the pitch this past Saturday. The muddy jerseys and faces on the day showed that.
Tries: Joey Murphy (2) Iain Small (1) Aaron Desnoyers (1) Mikey Reinhardt (1) James Bailey (1) and Dylan Tatomir (1)
Man of the Match: The best forward was Jack Wallace, and the best back was James Bailey
SBAA 1st Division – Win 22 - 8
The 1st division game had a lot at stake and both clubs had done the math and realized that whoever wins this game earned a spot to the post season. With the winner for sure playoff bound and club pride on the line the deck was stacked for this game and everyone knew it was going to be beauty. As both teams walked out of their change room and were led onto the field by a bag piper the intensity of the Surrey and Langley rivalry grew exponentially minutes before the game. A moment of silence right before kickoff got everyone on the sidelines reflecting at the great members both these clubs have lost in the past and with the referee’s whistle the silence was ended and cheers and jeers filled the air as both teams set up for the kickoff.
The field did not seem that bad during the 2nd div game, but it did not take either team too long to figure out that the field had taken a turn for the worst by the time their game started. By the fifth minute in only a couple of players on both teams were fortunate enough to have a clean jersey on as the rest became covered in thick mud. Initially the game was getting played out in mid-field where both teams were punishing each other’s defensive lines trying to exploit any weakness. On the sixth minute Langley’s fullback kicked a high ball up that was nicely caught by front rower David Jeffreys at mid-field and Langley’s fullback’s pursuit for the ball in the air ended his day with a suspected knee injury. Langley’s most dynamic back was carried off the field leaving the Beavers’ with a very comfortable edge in the backs after that. Like any game of 15 aside rugby the game was going to be controlled and won in the sets and the Beavers had beefed up their pack for this matchup. It definitely paid dividends because the visitors gave Langley zero sense of security in the scrums. The front rowers David Jeffreys, James Kelly, and Chris Atkinson were punishing Langley all game. A good shove from big locks Trevor Sear and Sean Connelly gave the Beavers the edge in the pack too. Back rowers Giusseppe Lagrutta, Paul Kelly, and Matt Bose had only one goal on the day; make punishing tackles and get the dirty work done. By the tenth minute of the game the boys appeared to be the more confident team out on the field and started to control the play. The team was much more disciplined on the day than in past weeks but with the poor conditions the tackle area became a mess. Most penalties for both teams came at the breakdown as both sides tried to cheat their way to any edge they could get. The boys were working hard and doing positive things to get down into Langley’s red zone. Finally after a few missed opportunities the Beavers struck with a try at the 16th minute mark on the far sideline by winger Riley Johnson. Convert was good and the boys went up 7-0. Shortly after that the two teams got in a heated exchange after the whistle which led to a yellow card given to a member of each side. The Beavers with the original penalty marked didn’t allow their kick to go to waste as Beaton slotted it putting his side up 10-0. Both teams down a flanker kept things well balanced out on the field and both teams kept playing with no points given up for either side with a player each in the bin. After both players got their team back to full strength it didn’t take long for the Beavers to strike again as Jamie Beaton darted his way through the backline to score another try underneath the posts. The convert was good and the boys were now up 17-0. The boys were starting to get comfortable out on the field and Langley didn’t seem to have a response to the Beavers’ multi-faced attack. The Beavs were earning hard yards through their forward pack, but also having huge success taking the ball out wide. Also the kick-counters led by full back Robert Jones were keeping constant pressure on Langley’s back 3. The Beavs prepped for an expected heavy running Langley side and defended them very well as the home side attempted grind the ball up the field. Hitting stiff defense Langley was struggling to catch their breath as they wasted plenty of energy deep inside their half. Langley had put a veteran player in the centers to try to keep center combination Clay Ross and Reid Gordon at bay but Clay and Reid did an exceptional job working the ball around the heavier and less mobile Langley centers. Before half time Langley would see their side finally get some points on the board as a kick for penalty was good. 17-3 at half and the Beavers were very pleased with the 1st half effort and wanting to add more points to the board.
Another good effort for 40 minutes would see the Beavs punch their ticket into the post season, so the men didn’t want to mess around to much. The boys worked tirelessly to keep the pressure on Langley and did very well again on defending Langley players who were desperately looking to break through the Beavers’ defense.
On two separate occasions in the 2nd half Beaver tries were taken away by the referee for rulings that totally favored the defense. In one instance a knock-on was called and the other was called a double movement. It was unfortunate for the Beavers but they kept their head down and kept working on positive play. Even though the visitors dominated on the offensive side of the ball they were not rewarded on the scoreboard. On the other end Langley was throwing absolutely everything they had left in the tank at the Beavers as the visitors frantically defended their goal line in the 2nd half. After about a 5 minute goal line stand mid-way through the 2nd half center Clay Ross intercepted a Langley pass and ran it back about 90 meters for a try in the corner. 22-3 the Beavers not only defended well but got more points on the board. Not disheartened, Langley kept working hard to get the ball down in the Beavers' 22. One line-out after another, one scrum after another, the Beavers worked hard to keep the ball off their try line and kept the pressure on Langley. The men struggled to finish good drives down the field in poor field conditions; fortunately it all still worked in their favor as they ran down the clock. Only making one substitution in the game flanker Jack Wallace came in to replace openside flanker Lagrutta who had another stunner of a game. Wallace who is known mostly for his excellent defensive skills was brought in to shut down any attack Langley had left. He and the rest of the team did an excellent job for the remainder of the game to not allow Langley to get much done and crushing any momentum they had. Finally after what had to be about 10 minutes of defending inside the Beavs’ own 22 meter line Langley finally found a crack in the Beavers’ armour and scored a try out wide in the corner. The boys knowing there was only moments left in the game kept their chins up as they knew they had done an outstanding job defending and forced Langley to score in the far corner.
A minute after the following kickoff the final whistle blew and the boys felt great upsetting Langley on their alumni day. Full credit to Langley for a hard fought game and an excellent job hosting the day’s events. It really felt like an old school day of rugby playing in the mud and having so many spectators out on the day. Nevertheless there was definitely no love lost between these two cross city rivals on Saturday!
Tries: Riley Johnson (1) Jamie Beaton (1) and Clay Ross (1)
Man of the Match: Sean Connelly was the best forward, and Jamie Beaton was the best back