Another fantastic Saturday was had for rugby in the Fraser Valley and it was a warm dry day for both the Div 3 and Div 1 men at their respected locations. The 3rd Div men had their season opener against the Ridge Meadows Bruins at Sullivan Heights Park, and while the Div 2 men took the weekend off the 1st Div men headed out to Abbotsford for a spirited match against their Valley rivals. The sun was out, and it was another picture perfect day for rugby.
SBAA 3rd Division Men – Loss 20-10
The thirsty thirds took to the field on Saturday for their first run as a team this fall season. Playing the always tough Ridge Meadow Bruins the first game of the season meant that this was likely going to be a game full of challenges. The Beavers have a mixed group with their 3rd Div side currently and it includes plenty of young in-experienced players and lots of veteran players that are very seasoned. Also included on the team are players that have the potential of starting on the Div 2 side when needed. The game leaned heavily in the favor of the visitors early on as the Bruins had always proved to be a very strong group of players at the Div 3 level. It looked like it was going to be a blowout win for the Bruins mostly because of the countless mistakes the Beavs made and the penalties the home side was taking constantly put the men in poor situations. Down a few scores the boys settled into the game and started to make good plays on offense and defense. It was good to see veteran front rower Paul Kozevnikov known as ‘Chopper’ by the club punch a score in for the home side and Brandon Gatto converted a penalty kick making the score line a respectable loss. Kudos for all the boys showing up and giving it their all, the season is young and the club should be proud of the fact that they are fielding three sides once again this season.
Thanks to all the Bruins and Surrey club members that went back to the Beaverlodge post-match even with the Beavers out in Abbotsford playing Div 1 that afternoon it was great to hear that there was still a great host up.
Tries: Paul Kozevnikov (1)
Convert: Brandon Gatto (1)
PK: Brandon Gatto (1)
SBAA 1st Division Men – Win 41-29
It was a beautiful afternoon to be out in Abbotsford to enjoy a Div 1 game against the always talented Abbotsford Rugby Club. Understandably Abby’s club was short on some starters this last weekend with many of their players committed to represent Canada in Rugby League action, clearly this being a sign that Abby has some top athletes within their ranks. Abby had been a thorn in Surrey’s side these last few seasons with Abby being the one club that seemed to constantly have success over the Beavers' Div 1 side. In fact in the previous 2 seasons Abby had been successful in beating the Surrey club's Div 1 side in every match they played. Committed to correct this winless drought against Abby, the Div 1 men took to the field focused and eager to take on an always solid contender. The match was a fabulous game of rugby with beautiful conditions allowing for expansive rugby, and both teams proved to have flyers out wide. The Beavers were successful on getting on the score board first and held Abby to a PK mid-way through the 1st half. The starting pack again was a dominant force in the sets and this helped set a platform for the Beaver backline. Riley Nagy filling in for the absent Jamie Beaton did an outstanding job delivering good ball to his backs. Where the Beavers struggled was finding touch on their rewarded penalties, and this although very fixable was problematic throughout the entirety of the game. Abby took advantage of any Beaver error there was and earned points off most those errors. The Beavers running style led by inside center Clay Ross delivered long field scores for the visitors and kept the flow of the game mostly going the visitor’s way. The rather conservative back player Aaron Martin had an explosive offensive game with 2 tries scored, and it was great to see other players stepping up on the score board. Included also in the scoring was opposite winger James Bailey who was outstanding on defense and made some fantastic offensive plays including a beauty effort on his own try. Jack Wallace, who in the past was a standout 2nd division starter has proved his value at 1st division keeping his tackle count very high and setting the standard for any open side flanker who thinks they could take his spot. For the most part the defensive structure was strong and there was some fantastic defense from everyone. The forwards again not exactly doing all the fun stuff on the field kept their noses down and took care of the breakdowns, the sets, and helped set up a good platform for the Beaver backline to attack. Going into half with a 24-8 lead the Beavers were satisfied with their 1st half performance but also knew that Abby had the capability of scoring points just as quickly as the Beavers did.
The 2nd half was much more of a see-saw battle with the score line getting tighter and tighter. Abby brought on some fresh players into their pack and the Beavers also made changes with some less experienced players brought into their own pack; this changed the balance of the scrums to favor Abby. Slowly the home side chipped away at the visitors’ healthy lead and the home side was doing an excellent job countering any mistakes the Beavers made. The Beavs definitely made things harder on themselves in the 2nd half but full credit to Abbotsford for never giving up. After Abby narrowed the gap within one converted try (36-29) late in the game the Beavers did their best to seal the fate of the game with a breakout try from Clay Ross touched down in one of the opposition's corners. With three minutes left in the game the Beavers looked to keep the ball in close and just wanted to run down the clock. With scrum half Dylan Tatomir collecting a turned over ball and then kicking it into touch the final whistle blew and the Beavers for the first time in a few years recorded a win against Abbotsford's Div 1 side.
The club was happy to see the boys grind out another win away from home and are very proud of the fact that they have put up three wins in the last three weekends on the road. Thank you to Abby for being fantastic hosts back at their clubhouse and everyone will be looking forward to the next matchup against these clubs in just a few short weeks.
Tries: Clay Ross (3) Aaron Martin (2) Riley Nagy (1) James Bailey (1)
Converts: Riley Nagy (3)
Next up for the Beavers is a club home day with all three men’s teams finally at Sullivan Heights together. The 3rd Div boys will take on the always competitive Kats Rugby Club, and the Div 1 and 2 boys will be facing cross town rivals Langley Rugby Club. The ladies take on Scribes RFC in a Div 2 matchup. Should be another great weekend for rugby coming up.