SBAA 2nd Division Men BC Semi Final Game – Loss 17 - 5
The semi-final game had Surrey, the number 1 seeded team at home against a travelling Kamloops side. Surrey beat Kamloops at the end of November in the Fall final, but Kamloops rallied back and beat Surrey in the spring season opener. This would prove to be a fairly even match against two strong contenders with solid defensive games.
The game began with a kickoff deep right into the forward pack of the travelling side. Hard runners were met at the line by eager Beaver defenders like Joey Murphy and Ryan Mitchell. Kamloops worked well at retaining ball possession, running some dynamic back lines and moving the ball across the field. Surrey did very well in their defensive stands to keep the visiting team away from the try line, but was sacrificing field position due to penalties. Beaver #10 Dylan Tatomir, with veteran assistance from Jeff Bergunder and Nick Sharp in the centres, worked hard to penetrate the backline of the visiting team. As they progressed downfield, the Beavers were failing to retain possession, losing in counter rucks or dropped balls. After a successful gain on an 8 man pick from Surrey skipper Iain Small, the visiting team took the initiative to shut down any further attempts, keying on the runner and putting Surrey, clearly the smaller forward pack, on their heels in every set piece they could. After a long hard physical defensive rugby, Kamloops slotted a penalty kick 25M out to put the first points on the board, 3-0 at half.
In the second half the Beavers needed to change their game plan, stop making tactical errors and start retaining ball possession. Allowing Kamloops to dictate the flow of the game was proving to frustrate the home team as they were failing to move the ball into space the way they usually do. Weather played a factor in bringing the game into tighter play. The Beavers were working hard to make magic happen. On defence, all 15 of the Beavers looked like forwards as wingers Tyler Johnson and James Bailey mixed right in with the front row to make some big tackles on goal line stands. Early in the second half a split eyebrow from a tackle took second rower Ryan Mitchell out of the game. The Beavers brought in some fresh legs to help the attack. Kjell Hope and Aaron Viola came into the props, and hard runner Cam Mcmurchy came into the second row, with Andrew McIntyre and Joey Murphy switching rolls. Having Joey on the flank helped pressure the visiting team, and having Andrew and Cam in the second row provided the base that Surrey needed to even out the scrums. Andrew McIntyre had a great game, as he managed to steal back the ball in most of the visiting teams lineouts, as well as slow the ball down in every tackle made. Aaron Solomonsz came onto the wing, and his size and strength helped the Beavers move the ball down the sideline and begin to pressure the Raiders. Playing in Kamloops territory, Nick Sharp received a kick counter and drove the ball hard up the line. A couple beaver forwards ran a back line that drove the ball inside the 5 and Dylan Tatomir took it over the line himself for a try.
In the final minutes of the game, the Beavers worked hard to score more points and the visitors worked hard to retain ball possession. A tough pill to swallow, as the Beavs ran out of time and took a loss 17-5. The Beavers had a great season and they lost a hard match to a top contending team. This loss will provide the fire needed for the offseason, as it can be guaranteed that they will be coming even hungrier for next year. Well done to Kamloops and best of luck in the final next weekend!
Tries: Dylan Tatomir (1)
Man of the Match: Best forward was Andrew McIntyre and best back was Dylan Tatomir
SBAA 1st Division Men BC Semi Final Game – Win 28 - 5
The Surrey Beavers 1st division team was all set to take on the mighty Meraloma Rugby Club on Saturday. It was only a short two weeks ago that the lads knocked off the Meraloma in the final game of the regular season to put a blemish on the Loma's Spring regular season record. After that match it was not entirely known what type of team the Loma coach fielded in that final reg. season game because it was a mean nothing game for their side going into the playoffs. The Beavers nonetheless re-evaluated where they struggled in that game and got ready to play a well-rested Meraloma side.
Matching up the two sides before kickoff it looked as if the Loma side had added some size in their front row since the last match they played as their pack did struggle in the scrums 2 weeks ago. The size would still lean in favor of the Beavers even with the changes the Loma side made. The Beavers kicked off to the Loma boys and put the pressure on immediately on their side of half. Shutting down any loose play in mid field the Beavs set the tone that no easy yards would come in this game. The first scrum again weighed in the Beavs favor as their pack controlled the set nicely. Front rowers David Jeffreys, Nick Bruce, and Chris Atkinson have really made a huge difference in the scrums as of late and have set an excellent platform for the rest of the pack. The lads then struck first about 6 minutes into the match with a try by Jamie Beaton who looked to past and snuck between two Loma defenders. The convert was good and the boys were set to do it all again. A nicely received kick deep in the Beavs' 22 was then attempted to be pounded up the field instead of kicked into touch. This would turn out not to play in the Beavers favor as they left the 22 meter a kick for territory was quickly countered with a little chip kick over the Beavers' defensive line that then was picked up and scored in the corner by a Loma back. After this quick score everyone was certain this was going to be high scoring game for both teams. But it was erred play by the Beavers that allowed such a quick try and the players were not going to let that happen again.
The score now 7-5 for the Beavs, the men hurried back to the center and kicked deep into Loma territory. Refocusing on the game plan the men put on some more punishing hits and focused on holding off any attack the Loma players had to offer. The only territory the Vancouver side could really gain was from kicks for touch after a penalty was awarded to them. Now deep in Beavers' territory the Loma pack brought down a lineout into a driving maul attempting to get it over the Beavers' goal line. A nicely stripped ball by Paul Kelly was quickly settled down and kicked out of the 22. The Beavers were much more effective on defensive lineouts on Saturday and their own lineouts were much more efficient. Making adjustments from the last time they played the forwards really didn’t give the Loma pack free range off the line outs and this ate into their game plan massively as they struggled to get good ball off lineouts. The Beavers were most dangerous in open field running very hard and hitting the gain line at pace. Good quick passes to players in space was working very well as Loma players were getting sucked in and there was room to run out wide. Even though the weather was wet and dreary the boys still played with plenty of flare out in the open. The scrums stayed dominate throughout the half and this reflected on the Beavers play on the field too. The scrum is arguably the back bone of any successful team and all players definitely build off a solid scrum. Another try about half way through the half by Jamie Beaton was almost the identical style he scored his first one really had the boys feeling good about their play. Able to fend off mostly any attack the Loma side could stir up the boys were confident that they had the fire power to get this game won.
Even though lock Trevor Sear got a yellow card at about the 32nd minute mark of the game the Beavers play did not slow down. Shorthanded the boys were still ferocious on defense and did not give the Lomas much room to play with. Finally off a picked pass from center Clay Ross the Beavs were successful at relieving any pressure the Lomas were putting on at the end of the half as he took the ball down into the opposition’s own 35. Off a scrum the shorthanded pack still did an excellent job in pushing the Loma pack back and a stripped ball in the centers was picked up by Kelly and passed off to Reid Gordon who smashed his way over the tryline for a shorthanded score. Now 21-5 the visitors had all the momentum.
Taking a nice lead into half the men stood strong and knew they could finish the game off. Still short handed the boys were far from concerned about the Loma attack being able to muster anything with an extra player. The Beavs were so tenacious and determined on defense it didn’t seem to matter how many were out on the field.
The 2nd half was a huge defensive battle for the Beavers. After some good defensive work early on in the half with Trevor still in the bin Clay Ross again picked a pass off in the backline and this time made no mistake to touch it down for another shorthanded try for the Beavs. 28-5 now for Surrey the Loma boys still looked determined to respond and get some more points on the board. The next 10 minutes would see the Beavs slowly get worked back into their own 22 and they had to work hard on keeping the Vancouver boys away from the try line. Some penalty trouble kept the ball in the Lomas' hands and finally after the referee warned that the next player to take a penalty will get a card it left the Beavers with no space to make a mistake. After more hard work inside the Beavers 15 Paul Kelly would be the next Beaver to take a 50/50 penalty and off to the bin he went as he watched his teammates stay strong on the goal line. The Beavs didn’t budge on defense and ended up getting the ball out with a 22 meter kick that sent the ball deep into Loma territory. Another instance of determination was when Matt Bose picked up a loose ball minutes later and touched it down for a try that would later be called back. Everyone was sure Bose had the try but the referee had seen an earlier knock on somewhere; the boys didn't let it phase them and kept working hard. The boys still battling, did very well to keep the men in black from getting anywhere. Another unfortunate play minutes later by the Beavers sent Alex Martin to the bin when a kick from Jamie Beaton was caught by a Loma with Martin quick to hit him without making an attempt to wrap. Now with 2 men in the bin the boys had to dig deeper and be even more ferocious on defense. Not budging at all the Beavers stellar defense held strong and within a few minutes Paul Kelly re-entered the game. With excellent phase play Surrey did an excellent job running down the clock and not allowing the Lomas to get anything going offensively. With a healthy lead and time running down the Beavers kept driving the ball down the field.
A really great moment in the game was when Steven Friesen ran onto the field returning finally from a crippling Achilles tendon tear he got back in the Fall season. It was fantastic to see him take the field finally with his fellow Beaver brothers after some hard months of rehab. With Alex Martin finally out of the bin and the boys now at full strength the Beavers had no problem closing out the game. As the final whistle blew the Beavers were all smiles as they just knocked off the #1 seed in convincing fashion. Well done to all players who played throughout the game; and a huge thanks to the Beaver supporters who showed up in large numbers to support their 1st division team. An outstanding game performance by the Beavers proved that these boys are top contenders. And many thanks to the Meraloma Rugby Club for hosting a meal and drink up after the game back at Connaught Park.
Tries: Jamie Beaton (2) Reid Gordon (1) and Clay Ross (1)
Man of the Match: Chris Atkinson was the best forward, and Clay Ross was the best back
The Surrey Beavers main goal from the start of the season was to get back to the BC Finals. It has taken hard work, determination, and maturity to get this group of men back to the finals this season, and these boys earned it the hard way. Looking back at the final stretch of their regular season there was no easy matches and the boys have been grinding out games every weekend since the HSBC 7's weekend. Fielding 3 competitive senior men’s teams and having 2 of those sides dominate in the standings week in and week out proved the depth this club has is very deep at this time. The 2nd division side had a tough loss on Saturday but still fought and battled through adversity to finish in the top 4 of the comp. The club still has tons of work to put in this week before the Div 1 final on Saturday, and the men are honored to be playing for a Div 1 title once again this Saturday!