The Onion Shield is back where it belongs at the Beaver Lodge after the Beavers 1st division side won the last game of a 3 game series against Bayside RFC this season to the tune of 39-7. The Beavers won the series with a scoreline of 173 points for to 19 points against.
In the past, the series has been much more contested with points in every single game between each division being vital. This season the first 2 games of the series lend heavily in the Beavers favor with 2 blowout wins (63-0, and 72-12) during the fall half and the round robin series. It's a shame that Bayside RFC could not field a 2nd division side on Saturday in the spirit of “Onion” a legendary player that played for both clubs up to the time he passed away. Clearly injuries and lack of commitment from players has taken a toll on Bayside RFC.
Burnaby RFC vs. SBAA - Exhibition
The led up to Onion Shield had the Beavers take on Burnaby Lake RFC in an exhibition game, and it certainly was a great game to watch. Burnaby brought over a solid 3rd division side and it gave the Beavers an opportunity to put in some 2nd division players in the first half while rolling with their entire 3rd division roster throughout the entire game. The game was a complete success and both teams played hard with the final score favoring the Beavers 32-15. The Beavers would like to thank Burnaby RFC once again for making the trip to Sullivan Heights and playing a clean, fun and physical game on Saturday. It’s always great to see two clubs able to play the game of rugby when nothing is on the line, and the weather is fit for a game.
Bayside RFC vs. SBAA 1st Division
The forwards in the first division clash led the way on the day against Bayside RFC with strong performances from all players from the SBAA’s pack. Specifically, tight head David Jeffreys, loose head Nick Halstrom, and lock Matt Bose all kept the scrums in the Beavers control. Blind side flanker Trevor Sear, and lock Steven Friesen were both very effective in open field and were huge threats with many thunderous runs down the field and solid ball handling skills being showcased. The set pieces have been the clubs major strong point this season, and on several occasions on Saturday Bayside went with the line-out and penalty quick tap option over the scrum option. The scrum reserves; front rowers Jason Leigh, Chris Atkinson, Dylan Vermette, and lock Joey Murphy all came into the game in the 2nd half to help seal the victory for the home side.
One of the nicest tries on the day was finished off by rookie fly half Riley Nagy and was set up by some great runs and ball handling from several forwards. The phases up to the try demonstrated how far the club has come this season with the team playing like 1 solid unit and the try showed that all players on the field were completely in sync with what individual players were going to do with the ball.
Captain and eighth man James Kelly had one of the best individual tries for the Beavs this season and showed off a few of his diverse rugby skills he has in his arsenal on a 40 metre dash; running, kicking, and finally picking the ball up in full sprint for an awesome individual try (I’d like to see him do that play again).The man of the matches were Riley Nagy, and hooker Iain Small who had 2 tries on the day and has averaged 1 score per game this season. Open side flanker Paul Kelly also had another great game on Saturday. He has done an outstanding job this season in doing everything he does for the club off the field as Vice President, and never letting those duties take away from his rugby game on the field. Paul has been one of the best and most consistent players this season, and continues to motivate the players to be passionate and loyal club members.
The back line was solid once again on Saturday, and since January the backs have really established their attacking game. Scrum half Jamie Beaton has done an outstanding job taking pressure off the backline with his completely dominant play at his position. Beaton constantly takes advantage of the opposition near the breakdowns and creates gaps in defensive lines with his superb rugby intelligence. He once again played defense like a man twice his size, and continued to punish the opposition for getting in his way. The backs were unlucky on a few plays outside on the day otherwise there would have been plenty more tries. The Beavers heavy hitting centers Robbie Sisson, and Clay Ross set great platforms in the middle of the field to help spring the Beavs back three out wide and the pack around the rucks. The defense from Robbie, and Clay was near impenetrable throughout the game, and Bayside struggled to get around the centers all game long.
Even though the score line favored the Beavers by the end of the game, you have to give credit to Bayside RFC for still playing a very hard game. Bayside definitely has some talented players and some very young ones to. Unfortunately what they seem to lack is depth, as shown by the inability to field 2 teams. Hopefully in the offseason they can draw some more players back to their club so in the future the Onion Shield will be a series that includes 1st, 2nd, and 3rd division games like it has been in the past.