A beautiful fall day in the Lower Mainland had everyone eager to get out and enjoy a perfect day to play rugby. The Beavers were on the road as the 3rds headed up the Sea-to-Sky taking on the always challenging Axemen, while the 1st and 2nd Div men headed to South Surrey to take on city rivals Bayside RFC. Short on the usual surplus of players the Beavs had in the last few weeks the club still did it’s best to fulfill the game day schedule and get all 3 matches off.
SBAA 3rd Division Men – Loss 66-0
The score to this game reflected the teams that were going at it on Saturday. On the one hand you had the 2017 BC Division 3 finalist which is currently a standalone Div 3 club that claims the Sea-Sky corridor as theirs, and on the other hand Surrey’s 3rd side for their men’s program that is a squad full of players in development and or at the sunset of their playing days. The Beavers also missing some key starters this Saturday made for a more challenging game as the side only had 1 player on the bench. And although the score line doesn’t reflect well in the +/- column the character of the 3rd Div team was shown as they travelled all the way up to Squamish while the Beavs' 1st/2nd Div sides were playing their matches. By all accounts it was still a hard physical game to play and reports are that the Beaver scrum held it’s own on the day. Unfortunately players got worn out and were definitely outclassed in the backs by the many Aussies and Kiwis that claim Whistler as their home and the Axemen as their team. No shame at all in this loss as most other club’s would have called it a day and taken the default. Well done to all the Thirsty Thirds that travelled up and played in the game.
SBAA 2nd Division Men – Win 58-17
The Beavers owned this game and stamped their style of play on this match. Again short on numbers outside the starting lineup with several players having prior commitments the workload was heavily placed on the starting 15. Fortunately for the boys they cruised to a victory that was an excellent bounce back game from the 14-14 draw they had the previous week. While last week they struggled to score and finish in the rain the beautiful weather in South Surrey allowed the Beavers to score with ease. Clearly not playing the highest quality Div 2 side Bayside had to offer the Beavers were still relentless on attack and 9 tries were touched down in the game. It was a well balanced attack from the forward pack out to the outside backs. Andrew McIntyre led the scoring race with 3 tries scored and a convert to his name. It was also a dominant scrum performance by the Beavers who in recent games in Div 2 have had to deal with getting pushed around. But since the Burnaby match good scrummaging from the front row had the boys take control of the sets which in this match led to quick and easy ball. The backs worked to get the ball out wide where there was plenty of room to burn around the defensive line. A solid 80 minute game had the Beavers taking the win and getting a solid confidence booster after struggling to finish their scores the previous week. Well done to all players in the game.
Tries: Andrew McIntyre (3) Riley Nagy (1) James Bailey (1) Wes Lyons (1) Tyler Johnson (2) Aaron Solomonsz (1)
Converts: Brandon Gatto (4) Andrew McIntyre (1)
Penalty Kicks: Brandon Gatto (1)
SBAA 1st Division Men – Tie 22-22
The Div 1 game was another classic derby match between these two same city clubs. Believing in their own process, the Beavers tried to treat this game no differently than their other five games so far this season and went with another mixed lineup that gave four Div 2 players a crack in the starting lineup. The coaches are taking the time early on in the season to try various players at different positions on seeing who works best where.
Saturday’s game did not disappoint and it was a cracker of a match from the kickoff. The Sharks were first on the board early as the Beavers struggled containing the home team’s intensity level early on. Following the first score of the game momentum swayed back and forth for the first 15 minutes as attacks from both sides were muted by good defense. An enjoyable game for the fans to watch was an intense battle between the players on the field and it was physical both in the tackles and breakdowns. Both teams had their strengths, the Beavers dominant in the set pieces, lacked good finish in the lineouts. Ball in hand the Beaver backs did an excellent job hitting the gain line and finding gaps to get through otherwise the backs enjoyed running over their opposites. Bayside were much more consistent off their line out pieces and found good attack off them. They also did an excellent job countering deep kicks and relished collecting kicked ball rather than taking a hard running Beaver center coming in their direction. A step quicker than the Beavers out wide the Sharks’ had a few overlaps that they were able to take advantage of.
When Bayside ran into penalty trouble the Beavers jumped on the opportunity to get on the board and then took a 10-7 lead with a penalty kick in the 1st half. Another score out wide gave the Beavers a 17-7 lead but a late minute try from the Sharks had the home sideline jeering as they narrowed the Beavers lead going into halftime 17-12. It seemed as though that Bayside knew this game was going to be a war of attrition and kept several players on the bench who hadn’t played at all that day and were fresh to get in the game and do some damage. The Beavers not getting this memo had no fresh legs and could only rely on the players that played in the earlier Div 2 match. With the 3rd Div boys up in Squamish the bench was only full of players that mostly played a full 80 minutes in the game and this definitely did not help the situation.
As the 2nd half got going the Sharks rolled in a few more subs and it became apparent quickly that the Beavers starting 15 were going to be forced to try and grind out a win if changes weren’t going to come from their bench. The Beavers notching in another try about 15 minutes into the 2nd half gave the visitors a decent 10 point lead over the home side but there was still ample time for the Sharks to attack. Were some teams may have given in Bayside stayed confident and kept pushing the pace of the game. The Beavers starting 15 begun to wear down and couldn’t keep up to the level Bayside was attacking with in open field. Bayside was beginning to see more and more success in their attack and off a scrum set just outside the Beavers 22 a poorly defended blind side got exploited and a score was touched down by the Sharks. Now only up by 5 the Beavers did their best to try and finish the game off. Penalties heavily favored the visitors and twice the Sharks had players in the bin but the Beavers just could not take full advantage of their extra man attacks earlier in the game. Off another turned over ball with about 7 minutes left in the match the Sharks struck again tying the match up 22-22. A missed converted kick had the Beavs sigh a deep breath of relief as the ball bounced off the inside upright. Following some play the Beavers received a penalty kick option on Bayside’s 48 and Jamie Beaton requested an opportunity to go for points. Not an easy kick whatsoever Beaton was still confident he could give his team the lead. The ball was launched with everything he had and it was a solid strike that looked like it was going to be enough but ended up hitting the upside of the upright and bouncing off the upright directly towards the 22 meter line. A missed PK became another scoring opportunity with streaking winger Marcus Tam recovering the ball but in the ensuing panic the ball some how getting back into Bayside’s possession. As time was running down the visitors got one last attempt to go for points from practically the same place Beaton just missed from before, and with how close he came last time it made sense to give him another shot. Another incredibly kicked ball ended just short of being good again and the ball was touched down with no time left as the referee blew the whistle for the final time ending the game in a draw.
The Beavers definitely had their opportunities to win the game but so did Bayside and arguably both teams had their moments and deserved to claim the win. The Beavers however were definitely out managed on the bench with Bayside being successful at keeping the level of play much higher than the Beavs could do for a full 80. It was definitely an exciting first match between these two Surrey based clubs that will see the rivalry continue as they face each other two more times in the regular season. Well done to both teams for playing some hard hitting rugby.
Tries: Marcus Tam (1) Chris Atkinson (1) Alex Martin (1)
Converts: Jamie Beaton (2)
Penalty Kicks: Jamie Beaton (1)
Coming up this week the Beavers will get ready for the cold weather as they prepare to head to Port Alberni to take on the Black Sheep. The women prepare to host Westshore RFC at home as the 3rd Div men head to Chilliwack to visit the Crusaders.