The Beavers had three games at home this last Saturday and the weather set up for what would be a perfect day for rugby. It seemed like ages ago the Beavers went a full day without any rain, but finally it appeared as if Spring may have finally arrived.
The club would be busy hosting both the Ridge Meadows Bruins and United Rugby Club. Both 1st and 2nd division would be matched up against United, and the 3rds would face off against the Bruins. All three men’s team are still relevant in the playoff picture so it would be another exciting day of significant rugby for the club!
SBAA 3rd Division Men – Loss 48 - 12
The Thirsty Thirds were aiming for another win this last Saturday as they faced off against the young speedy Ridge Meadows Bruins team. A win this weekend would mean first place in the current standings. The 3rds came out of the gate on the right foot this weekend. The opening kick-off was held deep thanks to pressure from the youthful determination of Darian Archer. The Beavers held possession through the 1st half. Mike Duffle and Jason Leigh had demonstrated great rucking week in and week and both clearly find pleasure doing the dirty work on the field. Both Mike and Jason follow gameplay well and helped maintain offensive rucks. As great as the offensive pressure was for the Beavers, problems arose from many penalties and lack of preparation. The Beavers were caught off guard and out of position too many times on Saturday, resulting in scores against the team. The fast-moving Ridge Meadows team capitalized on small mistakes by the Beavers. An erred pass deep in the Bruins half would be ran back for an easy score on several occasions. The score was not a good reflection of the Thirsty Thirds’ abilities. Though, this weekend was a showcase for the hard work the 3rds had put into rucking and defensive play. The Beavers stole defensive ball from more than just a few Ridge Meadows’ rucks. Ball possession was heavily on the Beavers’ side throughout the 1st half, but personal errors led to turnovers that the Bruins quickly capitalized on. Cam Sparks exhibited great support running and desire for points, his determination helping him cross the line for a try. Cam McMurchy played great again this weekend, coming into the game later in the 1st half. He had a large part in many of the balls that the home side stole in defensive rucks and line outs.
Only a few replacements were made at half as the Beavers tried to form some chemistry. The Beavers came back in the 2nd half with more ball retention and great runs, similar to the 1st half. Sheldon Ram had another great game replicating his hard-running from last weekend. Sheldon is a huge influence with or without the ball offensively and defensively. Aaron Solomonsz came out this weekend and brought the same tenacity he had against Abbotsford. Solid defense and low crash balls kept Aaron a threat on the back field. Dan Leigh came out for his weekly half of rugby and went home with a well-fought-for try. The Thirsty Thirds have been quietly building with the untapped potential available at the 3rd division level. It's good to have a few veterans around to share pointers with the more inexperienced crowd. The determination and perseverance shown by Surrey on Saturdays is a sign of great things to come. Having heads held high after a loss says a great deal about the pride and perseverance of a team. The Thirsty Thirds should be proud and this game was one more lesson learned in the game of rugby. The ability has been demonstrated that the job now is to bring the same intensity to the field every weekend win or loss.
Tries: Cam Sparkes (1) and Dan Leigh (1)
Man of the Match: Best forward was Sheldon Ram, and best back was Aaron Solomonsz
SBAA 2nd Division Men – Win 52 - 12
The 2nd division men coming off a strong team win in Abbotsford last weekend were hungry for another as they faced off with United at home. This weekend had the return of sunny skies and a dry ball, a first for this half of the season. Going into the game the young Beaver side knew that the way to dominate the game was going to be to move the ball into space and allow their very skilled backs to score the tries. 2nd div standoff, Dylan Tatomir did a great job moving the ball across the field and playing territory. The home side found success early on with the always elusive scrum half Brandon Craig taking a sneaky ball up the wing. Hard dynamic running from experienced forwards Iain Small and Joey Murphy forced United to commit multiple defenders to their tackles, thus creating space in the back line for the backs to capitalize. Speedy fullback Marcus Tam took full advantage of a hole in the back line and ran in untouched from 60 meters out. This type of score would happen two more times in the half with strong running by a slick Jareed Samuel and try-thirsty flanker Andrew McIntyre; both running half of the field for their own tries. In the final minutes of the 1st half, a deep kick by Shane Ram with two Beavs in hot pursuit forced the opposition to carry the ball over the try line, resulting in a 5 meter scrum for the home team. The forwards took advantage of the field position and Andrew McIntyre found himself over the line once again to end the 1st half.
As the 2nd half commenced, the Beavers were reminded of what a tough and relentless team United can be. Strategic kicking had the Beavers fighting for possession at every kickoff, and a tough forward pack made every scrum, ruck, and line out a challenge. Strong physical play from both sides caused tempers to rise, and after a United forward tried to get the better of the Beavers’ #9, a tussle ensued, resulting in a yellow card to tight head prop Ryan Kulasekare, as well as one of the oppositions loose forwards. The young Beavers took a minute to cool down and remember their strategy for the day. Right back at it and scrumming short a man had little effect on the home team, as a 5 meter scrum allowed skipper Iain Small to take a pick across the line himself. Big defensive play by the usual suspects Jack Wallace and Ryan Mitchell shut down the oppositions’ momentum at every breakdown and key substitutions like Sheldon Ram, Cam Sparks, and Reid Mathews helped the forwards regain their ground in the line outs. This allowed the backs to let loose and the Beavers found themselves pushing the pace of the game. Try scoring machine Marcus Tam found himself over the line once more, and wonderful backline support took the young talented Dylan Tatomir in for a try off a nicely offloaded ball. The Beavers scored 8 tries on the day, and spectacular kicking from Brandon Craig added 14 extra points, leading to a total of 54 points for.
Tries: Andrew McIntyre (2) Brandon Craig (1) Dylan Tatomir (1) Iain Small (1) Jareed Samuel (1) and Marcus Tam (2)
Man of the Match: Best forward was Iain Small, and best back was Shane Ram
SBAA 1st Division Men – Win 33 - 18
The 1st division men were eager to take on United Rugby Club 1st division side which the men played and beat in the Fall Cup final last November. The Beavs knew that they would get a very tough fight out of United as their club have a solid young gritty 1st fifteen. The home side was fully motivated to win this game as they need every win they can get to qualify for the playoffs.
The game would see unfortunately another slow start from the Beavers as they were quickly pinned in their own end of half. Holding strong on defense after turning over the ball the boys fought off a barrage of heavy runners coming at the line. Unfortunately an offside call put United in perfect position to take the first shot at points; the kick was good and it was 3-0 for the visitors. Not phased at all off the ensuing kickoff the Beavs headed down to United’s side of half and worked their way into United’s 22 meter. After some efficient scrumming and some quick forward play with the forwards the Beavers put down a quick try making the score 5-3. Like last weekend the boys ran into some penalty trouble early on in the game and were killing any momentum they were making. Penalties caused turn overs for the Beavers and gave United several offensive opportunities. The boys hunkered down in their own end but again United’s kicker gave his team the lead with a good convert making it a 6-5 game. Lineouts were very good for the Beavers on defense and offensively all game long; hooker Dylan Vermette has fit in well since he got promoted from the 2nd division line up earlier in the half. The Beavs were also settling down in the sets; defensively they were sound and offensively in good control of their ball. Unfortunately the Beavers were dominate in the penalty count too; the penalty count at half was 9-1 against the home side. And as the home side was getting marched back to their goal line it was becoming more and more difficult for the team to get any flow going. An awkwardly stripped ball in the Beavers’ 22 meter was quickly ran between the posts by a United forward and gave the visitors a ton of confidence with a 13-5 led. The 1st half bounces were certainly going in the way of the visitors, and the Beavers were struggling to get anything going against a very defensively sound United side.
A little rattled the Beavers felt like the game wasn’t going the way it should be, but the players shouldn’t need reminding that rugby on Saturday’s is never scripted and anything can happen. Panic did not overcome the Beavers thankfully as there was still plenty of time to crawl their way out of the deficit, but this was now back to back weeks the boys had dug themselves into a hole early on in the game. The home side again worked their way into United’s half and after some good work in the sets the backs connected very nicely and got the ball out wide to speedster Riley Johnson. Johnson as a winger is mostly known for his speed but he did a very good job running over two of the visiting backs in his pursuit for United’s try-line. Jamie Beaton’s convert was good and now it was 13-12 game with the Beavers at a 1 point deficit. The backs were playing a solid game with good kicking and kick counters coming from Robert Jones at fullback and Beaton controlling things at standoff. Clay Ross and Alex Martin were a constant threat in the centers and kept the United backs honest. The remainder of the half didn’t have any more points to speak of but there was a large tussle that happened on the sideline after what was deemed a high hit by a Beaver that wasn’t appreciated by United’s players. A penalty was awarded but nothing came from it for United as it was a very well defended lineout by the Beavers. The real battle in this game was done in the pack; both teams have outstanding tight five and some gritty loose forwards. No ruck was safe on either side of the ball, and forwards from both packs were taking the ball up the field with real meaning. The final scrum of the half was absolutely dominated by the Beavers after James Kelly moved to hooker spot; the move was decided after the boys felt like they could absolute dominate opposition. Unfortunately the referee viewed that the Beavers were illegally lifting the front row to drive them back; the penalty was quickly kicked out by United who were happy to go into halftime with the lead.
No changes were made at half but the boys were reminded by the coaches to settle in and win the little battles, take care of the ball and the game would be theirs. With the wind at their backs the Beavers settled in for another 40 minutes, and the boys worked quickly to put pressure on United right away. Pinning the visitors deep in their half and forcing mistakes had finally given the boys the opportunity to start taking advantage of their sets. Putting the pressure on, the Beavers’ scrum was able to successfully steal one scrum after another. It was clearly seen in the faces of the opposition as they crouched down for every set that they knew they weren’t going to win it. The rotation of front rowers United went through was like a revolving door as they tried to find a way to solve the Beavers’ 2nd half pack. However it was too much for United to handle and the Beavs built off the success from the sets and put a few scores down. Solid play from the backs helped keep everything settled and there was only one instance in the 2nd half when United took a poorly played ball back to the Beavers’ 10 meter line for a line out that ended in a soft score off a line out that gave the visitors any sense of life. The remainder of the half was comfortably controlled by the Beavers who potentially could have had more scores on the board but had a few ‘held up’ calls go in the favor of defense. Some spilt ball on the 5 and 10 also kept a few more scores off the board for the Beavers too.
It was a solid team effort in the 2nd half of play that solidified the win for the Beavers after another shaky start. It’s all about maturing as a team and making the right decisions at the right time of the game and the boys did positive things to get themselves back in the game. Although discipline was still an issue for the boys it is all fixable. They will need to look at tightening up as a group because they are headed up to Kelowna this Saturday in a must win game. Kelowna is always a challenge to play at home and the Beavers will have another big test this weekend coming up!
Tries: Riley Johnson (3) Trevor Sear (1) and Clay Ross (1)
Man of the Match: Best forward was Trevor Sear, and best back was Jamie Beaton