Alumni day had finally arrived for the Beavers on Saturday. It was worth holding off as the weather turned out to be perfect on the day. As the sideline filled up with club members new and old the fans were going to be in for a great day of rugby.
4 games on the schedule included the div 2 women playing at the upper field against the Kelowna Crows while the div 3 men kicked things off at the main field against Capilano RFC. The BBQ was fired up and everyone was in for a treat with two hard hitting games in the afternoon with men’s div 1 & 2 matched up against Meraloma. These top dog clubs were hungry to set the tone going into playoffs.
SBAA 3rd Division Men – Loss 29 - 10
What a weekend for rugby as the Thirsty Thirds kicked off against Capilano RFC for the first of a triple-header alumni weekend for the Surrey Beavers.
Caught sleeping, the 3rd div boys allowed three quick tries early in the half. Surrey had struggled with ball possession throughout the year. And although the team host a wealth of talented rugby players, the Thirsty Thirds have exhibited difficulty starting the game at pace and maintaining possession of offensive ball. Penalties ate away at the home side’s offensive drive and stopped momentum resulting in loss of the ball, as was the case this weekend in the 1st half against the Caps. The slow start resulted in a three try deficit and eventually a loss 29-10.
Despite the tough loss, the game was well fought after the Beavers woke up and found their killer instinct. The scores of late have not reflected the skill and ability of the Surrey 3rd div side this season. Reid Mathews inspired the troops as he made use of his start this weekend by making every tackle count, bringing determination to the game was a large part of stopping the Caps’ momentum. The Beavers started their own offensive plays midway through the 1st half sending Cam McMurchy Barber and Sandeep Sekhon on some hard runs opening up space for the Beavers to run pod ball. The Beavers found success running pod ball up the field and late in the 1st half 5 meters out of the try line Aaron Solomonsz did what he does best and crashed his way through the defensive line for a try.
The 2nd half started the way the 1st half ended, and the Beavers pressed hard and maintained ball. Capilano were beginning to get worn down and made their own errors. Riley Robinson and Shane Ram swapped positions and the Beavers took on a new look with Shane Ram running at 9. The Beavers’ momentum from the good end of the 1st half built the home side’s confidence for their 2nd half. Following the kick off the Beavers’ scrums started to drive out some wins and provide some offensive stability. Big crash balls from Aaron Solomonsz and fellow center Jordan Sousa put the Caps’ backs on edge giving the Beavs more room to move.
Late in the 2nd half the ball was driven down to the Capilano’s 22 where a break down led to the ball out wide where Riley Robinson had found some open space to bring the ball home for the final score for the Beavs.
This weekend turned into a hard-fought loss for the Thirsty Thirds and the men should hold their heads up as they played solid Capilano 3rd division side with one of their games conceded by a lesser opponent. The boys look to wrap up their regular season with one more game against the Squamish Axe-Men. Should be another exciting game for the Beavs!
Tries: Riley Robinson (1) and Aaron Solomonsz (1)
Man of the Match: Best forward was Kjell Hope, and best back was Shane Ram
SBAA 2nd Division Men – Win 34 - 12
The 2nd div matchup was an excellent start to the afternoon as the winner of the match would claim 1st place overall in the standings. Both the Beavers and Lomas have shown that their club had the depth to have a formidable 2nd division side that can score a ton of points and defend their goal line fiercely.
The game started with the Meraloma kickoff to the Beavers and for the first few minutes the opposition kept good pressure on the home team, forcing a turnover. However the attack was quickly shut down as the Beavers were consistently making tackles at the line. After several minutes of a back and forth grind of box kicks and kick counters, Beavers’ fly half Dylan Tatomir managed to squeeze through a gap in the oppositions’ backline. After a huge run, he was able to offload into the hands of his support runner Joey Murphy to carry the ball over the line for the first try of the game. The 1st half had a lot of action in the Beavers’ own end, but their defense was solid in keeping the heavy Loma runners back. All the Beavers on the field were eager to make their hits, which caused a warning from the referee on high tackles. Unfortunately a high tackle on the wing sent 5’2” scrum half Brandon Craig to the bin with a yellow card. Playing one man down, the Beavers kept up the hard play. A huge kick and chase from standout James Bailey moved the ball deep down the field and looked like a promising try, however a handling error in the support caused a turnover on the oppositions’ goal line. After some hard play in the Lomas’ end, the Beavers managed to squeeze in another try. The following kick return was secured by front rower Ryan Kulasekare, who took an unlucky step and sustained a serious injury to his achilles, which will put him out for the playoffs and into the next season. Ryan has been working very hard on and off the field to improve his skills, and he had made himself a staple in the roster for 2nd division and 1st div men. The loss of the hard running prop will be felt through all levels of the club. The Beavers ended the half ahead, but not out of the woods just yet.
In the 2nd half the home team knew that they had to take control of the game. They were having trouble dictating the flow from line outs, as well as getting a positive push in the scrums. Aside from the set pieces, the Beavers were dominating open field play. Second rower Ryan Mitchell capitalized on a loose ball at mid-field, and ran his hardest before generously dishing the ball off to flanker Andrew McIntyre for a try. The forwards were working hard to tire out the opposing forward pack, with big hits from Aaron Viola, Ryan Mitchell, Kjell Hope, and Dylan Vermette, as well as large runs from Andrew McIntyre and Iain Small. The backs were utilizing space and moving the ball downfield with every opportunity. Dylan Tatomir had a spectacular game freezing defenders with his dynamic skill set and veteran centres Jeff Bergunder and Nick Sharp never gave the opposition any room to move the ball. Tackling machine Jack Wallace AKA “The Crab” was all over the Lomas stand off all game, and during a defensive scrum he managed to block a kick out of their end goal and pounce on the loose ball for another Beavers’ try. The boys seemed to have tired out the opposition at this point, bringing in some fresh legs like Aaron Desnoyers at scrum half, Aaron Solomonsz at centre and Mitch Hicks in the back row all helped to keep the pressure on the Lomas as the boys punched in 2 more tries. The first try was off a line break from fullback Marcus Tam, with one broken tackle and only a footrace to the try line. The next try came from try hungry Joey Murphy pounding his way across the line for his second try of the day.
The Beavers came out victorious in a 34-12 win over the Lomas and claimed the top seed for the playoffs. Both teams seed a bye in the first round of the playoffs, and hope to meet again in the coming weeks in potentially the BC Championship. Well done to both teams for not holding back in the game and playing an exciting game of rugby!
Tries: Joey Murphy (2), Marcus Tam (1), Andrew Mcintyre (1), Jack Wallace (1), and Dylan Tatomir (1)
Man of the Match: Best forward was Ryan Kulasekare, and best back was James Bailey
SBAA 1st Division Men – Win 36 – 24
The 1st division team was ready to take on the top ranked Meraloma 1st division side; the Lomas have had a fantastic stretch of rugby and had a perfect record going into Saturday’s match. The Beavs were ready to prove that they should be considered a top dog in the competition and were not going to disappoint their alumni on Saturday. The rosters for both 1st division teams looked as if this was both club’s best XV minus only a few players and that was great to see as these teams will likely cross paths again in the playoffs.
The Beavers brought their physicality right out of the gate against the Lomas. There were numerous big hits and big runs made by an assortment of Beavs in the first minutes of the game. The two sides tend to play the same wide open style of rugby and Saturday had both teams stick to this type of play. Throughout the game it seemed the Beavers’ execution was sharper than the Lomas. The Beavs set their heavy hitting forwards loose and players like big man Trevor Sear, Chris Atkinson, and James Kelly softened the Lomas' defense. Jamie Beaton did an excellent job finding empty field to lay in some beauty kicks that gave the Beavs excellent field position. The center combination Clay and Reid were on fire throughout the entire game picking up some excellent ball off each other and running some excellent lines. All tries were scored from the backline in the game and the men dominated the gain line on attack. The great weather conditions allowed the home side to attack out wide all game long. With all points on the board going to the backs the pack still held their own in the game and controlled the sets. It’s unknown if the Lomas were missing a few players in the pack, but the Beavs absolutely dominated the scrums, and the Beavers took full advantage of every set they had. The scrums were well controlled by the home side and they punished the Lomas on their own scrums. Line outs were well contested by both teams and each team was able to set up excellent plays off of them.
With the 1st half-done Clay Ross, Robert Jones, Riley Johnson and Reid Gordon were successful in putting the home side up with a healthy 26-12 lead. The half had a very well balanced attack by the Beavers, but the biggest difference between the two teams was the dominance from the Beavers’ backs. Led by Jamie Beaton the backline was gritty on defense and vicious on their attack. The pack spent most the half doing all the dirty work that needed to get done, and the boys hard work gave them a healthy led. Offensive rucks were well controlled and scrum half Riley Nagy wasn’t having any issues playing the ball quickly.
The coaches reminded the players at half time that the main issue through the first 40 was to many penalties caused at the breakdown and the tackle. If the players could limit the penalties they could definitely close out the game. The 2nd half started with the boys again setting the precedence at the tackle, but the backs specifically were riding the thin line of getting penalties for illegal hits. At about 55th minute of the game Beaton had to go take a rest in the bin as the referee deemed his hit high on a Lomas player. The Lomas got a try and were starting to look like they were going to get themselves back into the game. The Lomas were still trying to attack out wide on the Beavers but the defense was still holding strong even though they were down a man. While looking for an opportunity out wide the Lomas threw one too many passes that then found its way into winger Alex Martin’s chest, and Alex proceeded to run it back under the posts for a try. With the boys now up 31-17 the men looked to take a big sigh of relief. As some subs rolled into the game the level of play stayed high for the Beavers and the fresh legs made all the difference on a hot day. In the pack excellent play was had by the loose forwards; Matt Bose, Giusseppe Lagrutta, and skipper James Kelly. Trevor Sear and Sean Connelly did well to take the ball for hard yards and made punishing tackles. The front row again led by David Jeffreys absolutely dominated the Lomas front row. And Nick Bruce did not look out of place at all as he had his first game back this Spring half since suffering a crippling injury in early February. Reid Gordon added another try late in the game for the Beavers to make it a 36 point game for the Beavs and the final try reinforced the dominant play all game long by the backline.
As the game's minutes counted down into the final minute the Lomas were able to punch in one final try. With the convert good the referee blew the whistle and the Beavers were all smiles as they sealed another win on the season to wrap up regular season play. It was a great game by the Lomas and their side is still very likely the favorites to make it to the BC finals.
The 1st div boys won’t rest easy now though as they host Westshore RFC this Saturday for the BC div 1 quarter final match. The boys don’t know exactly what they should expect from the Island team that they have not played at all this season but the players know they will need their best play yet if they want to make it back to the BC finals.
Tries: Riley Johnson (1) Reid Gordon (2) Robert Jones (1) Clay Ross (1) and Alex Martin (1)
Man of the Match: Best back was Reid Gordon and the best forward was Nick Bruce