So, we fully turn the page on calendar year 2019 and we take on what 2020 has in the way of challenges going forward. The first challenge took place in the way of a training cancelling snow storm. The weather would right itself and the earth in time for a full week of training prior to our first matches of the new decade.
SBAA 2nd Div Men vs Bayside RFC - Win 28-5
Everyone was eager to get going as the Seconds hadn’t played since November 16, a gap of 10 weeks, which is made longer when considering their last effort was a 47-0 loss to powerhouse Squamish.
This bunch of Surrey Seconds were a mix of experience, in the form of captain Steve Friesen, and youth, in the form of 19 year old Drew Zboya making his first Beavers start. The match started with Bayside holding Surrey in their own end and the Beavers displaying bad form on what were to be clearance kicks that failed to make touch. Surrey would work up the park to the Sharks 10 metre line only to give up the ball to a desperate Bayside defence. The play subsequently reverted to the Surrey 10 metre line, where the Beavs battled to stop the threat. At the 20 minute mark scrum half Marcus Tam was knocked out of the game by a hard tackle and fullback Brandon Craig stepped into the breach. Once the side adjusted to the change Surrey began to find its game and advance the ball in the forwards. This action led to a series of rucking phases that the fore-mentioned Steve “French” Friesen finished with the try, though it was certainly a ‘pack’ score. Nate Hutchinson stepped up to the convert and struck it through. First blood to the Beavers, 7-0 for Surrey. The Seconds had some confidence and momentum as some big runs were cranked out. Cam McMurchy-Barber advanced to the Bayside 10 metre line again, and Surrey began to ruck effectively, this drew a penalty that Brandon Craig quick tapped on the inattentive Sharks defensive effort for a second try. Nate Hutchinson hit the convert and the Beavers doubled their lead to 14-0. This held to halftime.
The second half started with Surrey remaining on the front foot, picking up where they left off, literally. The Beaver pack put the Sharks under pressure again, when Brandon Craig took advantage of the overwhelmed Bayside scrum by scooping up a loose ball and scored his second consecutive try. Nate Hutchinson again made the convert and put the Sharks in a deeper hole at 21-0 for Surrey. Again the Beavers moved forward and kept moving the Sharks to their own end. Surrey moves the ball wide and outside centre Andrew “Lippy“ McIntyre found a hole in the backfield and a clear lane to the ‘in goal’ area for a fourth Surrey try. Nate Hutchinson remained perfect with his fourth convert of four attempts. The score stood at 28-0 for Surrey. Bayside tried to put their best foot forward and picked up the territorial play and were knocking on the Beaver goal line. Surrey played some good solid tough defence and fought the Sharks away from the Beavers try line. Returning Beaver and late sub, Dan Leigh had almost 5 minutes into his comeback when a high tackle call found him yellow carded. During Dan’s absence Bayside would take advantage of Surrey’s subs and 14 players. Some less than optimum tackling allowed the Sharks 8th man to break the Surrey shutout effort. The Bayside convert was shy. The Beavers collected themselves and didn’t allow the Sharks any more points. The contest ended at 28-5 for Surrey. It was a really good effort by the whole squad, once they locked into the game plan, Bayside couldn’t mount much of a challenge. A hearty well done to all.
SBAA 1st Div Men vs Bayside RFC - Win 23-10
These two teams met on December 14 in a late make up game last half when a depleted Bayside front row fought to a 19-10 loss for the Sharks. Surrey kicked off and kept Bayside in their own end. After 5 minutes of pressure the Sharks took an unwise penalty and the resulting shot at goal hit the far upright to fall short on a kick that had the distance. Surrey continued on the same path and 5 minutes later Bayside took yet another penalty within reach of Brandon “The Cat” Gatto who nailed the 22 metre kick to jump out to a 3-0 lead for Surrey. The Beavers were playing hard, perhaps too hard, when James Bailey was assessed an early yellow card. The Sharks penalty kick would draw the match even at 3-3 from 30 metres. Both sides settled in and buckled down to a good hard aggressive game that had the heat and passion of the long standing rivalry. The Surrey forwards were pressing on offence and when Ryan Mitchell found room to finish the movement with a total pack try. The convert was wide and the Beavers regained the lead at 8-3. Surrey had the edge in play and pushed Bayside into an obstruction penalty that was too close to their posts and Brandon Gatto made the kick. The Beavers led at 11-3, with the 8 point lead that gave the a major score +1 advantage. The half ended that way.
Bayside came out hard at the start of the second half and held Surrey in the defensive zone. The Sharks forwards put pressure on the Beavers that resulted in Surrey allowing a try The score was narrow 11-10 lead for Surrey. Shortly after returning player and Beaver standout, Jamie Beaton, who is a fantastic player, made a run and would be tacklers managed to remove his jersey as he escaped their grasp. Beaton carried on and made a couple of runs and tackles all while bare chested. Beaton would feed the ball to John Eadie on a run of 20 metres that the Sharks couldn’t account for, that resulted in another Surrey try. The convert by Gatto was solid and the Beavers led 18-8. The match became heated and some hard feelings were on display. Into this fire stepped prop substitute David Jeffreys, was penalized for side entry in a ruck. The referee had seen enough and yellow carded Jeffreys for an accumulation of team indiscretions, for which he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He took a seat on the touch line having barely worked up a sweat. Line up changes were made to accommodate needing another prop forward on the pitch. There was no damage accrued to Surrey during the short handed situation and Bayside received their very own yellow card a few minutes left in the Beavers' minor for a high tackle. The Sharks took yet another penalty for throwing the ball at a tackler after the whistle. The penalty kick went to touch, the lineout was won and driven, two rucks later John Eadie scored his second try of the match, and second consecutive try in the game. The missed convert brought the score to 23-8. Five minutes later, that would be the final score at full time even though the match ended with the Beavers at knocking on the door for another major score.
Two wins for the Beavers was an awesome result against a fierce rival in the first week of the second half of the season. The number of players at training has increased and if trends continue with the quality of returning players it would appear Surrey will be in a good position to finish the regular season and venture, hopefully, into the playoffs.
Just trying to capture the spirit of the thing.....