Up until February 8 the schedule makers had a perfect design as far as keeping our 2-team club together, playing in the same locations. Saturday February 8 would split the sides for the first time this season with the Firsts visiting the UBC Thunderbirds Premier Reserves and the Seconds across town to see the Scribes RFC.
SBAA 2nd Div Men vs Scribes RFC – Loss 0-50
The Seconds put up a mixed line up with some experienced veterans who were supported by some keen youngsters. The Scribes were known to play a heavier style of rugby which would be a challenge for the Beavers as their side hadn’t much experience playing together with very few reps as a group. The first several minutes were even enough, until an errant box kick by Surrey was returned for a try by a switched-on set of Scribe backs. The convert was shy, but notice was served that the Beavs may be running up hill. Again, Surrey worked the ball up the pitch, but poor ruck support found the ball turned over and the same Scribe backs made the Beavers pay with a try. This convert would be good, and Scribes led 12-0. Scribes were getting around the field rather well compared to the Beavers. Surrey would again be the architects of their own demise when they won a scrum and the ball’s exit from the pack was hurried. As the Scribes took away the available space a rushed clearance kick was blocked and returned for another try, with the convert the score was 19-0 for Scribes with Surrey needing a big effort to get back in this game. That is when Surrey took a red card for conduct that questioned a referee’s call in what the referee believed was a style and form that contravened the laws. Surrey found the incline they were playing on to be steeper and slipperier with 14 players to finish the match with. The resulting penalty as kicked for touch, the lineout won, and the ball was driven across the line for a try. The successful convert made the score 26-0 at halftime.
The second half started in much the same way. There was an early fracas where one player from each team was yellow carded and Scribes played with 14 and Surrey with 13. The Scribes would finally score a try that wasn’t directly from a Beaver error, when their forwards had good possession and their backs handled the ball to the line for the score. The good convert made it 33-0 for Scribes. The Scribe backs executed again with a try and convert, 40-0 for Scribes. Surrey would once again find their ball carrier isolated, and dispossessed of the ball, which the Scribes backs returned for a try. The good kick after made things 47-0 for Scribes now. Brandon Craig tore off a 35-metre run but didn’t have the finish or the support to capitalize. Both sides became agitated as the score got lopsided and a lot of pushing and shoving erupted that was enflamed by a lot of “mouth piece” stuff that didn’t calm anything down. When the Scribes forwards worked a series of rucks and scored a try tempers boiled over. The convert was missed, and the game was abandoned by the match official with the outcome being essentially sealed and an old-fashioned punch up to be inevitable. With approximately 13 minutes left the final whistle was blown with the score at 52-0 for the Scribes who were full credit for the win.
SBAA 1st Div Men vs UBC Braves – Loss 26-28
The Surrey Beavers were heading to UBC feeling good about themselves, having answered every question asked of them. Their only blemish was erased with a make up win over Abbotsford. They had also dispatched Capilano Premier Reserves in a game was never in doubt. The unique university environment gave UBC the pick of the world, slapped up against some homegrown Surrey talent.
By time your writer drove from the PNE to UBC the match was well underway. I was informed that Surrey carried much of the ball possession and territorial edge. UBC had opened the scoring with a try and a convert for the early 7-0 lead. Surrey’s Clay “The Beast” Ross would reply for the Beavers with Brandon “The Cat” Gatto making the convert and tying the match at 7-7. UBC wasn’t going to lay down and worked their way back into Beaver territory and were rewarded for their labours with a converted try. UBC led 14-7 against a Surrey side that knew they were in for a real battle. To that end, winger Clay Ross was on the end of a patch of sustained play were the Beavers gave notice that they weren’t going away. The convert made the try a full 7-point effort from Ross & Gatto respectively. The score was again even at 14-14. The Thunderbirds showed their class and style with a third try that vaulted them into the lead again and their good convert kept the pace of the game at a try for a try. 21-14 for UBC at the half.
Surrey felt they were playing even with UBC and did maintain the edge in ball and territory. The Beavers felt they had this game under control and needed to tighten up a bit to defend and stop UBC.
The second half started with them doing just that, Surrey had UBC on the back foot and capitalized after a series of ruck phases when Ryan Mitchell found the in-goal area with a try. The Gatto convert was solid and the score knotted at 21-21. This was an exciting back and forth game that was played at a highly competitive level. Great rugby to watch. The Thunderbirds responded when they took ball possession near midfield and rambled and passed their free-wheeling offloading series of runs into a try. The sharp angle convert was made by their kicker who was perfect on the day. UBC led 28-21 with time getting short. To make things a bit more interesting UBC would take a yellow card and play with 14 players, 7 in the scrum, which the Beavers would need to take advantage of the advantage. The answer to the advantage came soon enough when Matt Bose made good run and offloaded to Paul Kelly who dished to Jamie Beaton who found Clay Ross for his hat trick try against a bewildered bunch of Thunderbirds. The subsequent Surrey convert from the touch line was just pulled left. The score stood at 28-26 for UBC. The Thunderbirds knew 2 points was not a comfortable lead and continued forcing the play. The UBC backs flared up again and advanced the ball to the Beaver goal line before knocking on. Surrey took over possession and fought off their goal line and were working to their go ahead score, when time ran out on them and full time was blown up. This was a hard loss for the boys, who proved that the Premier Reserve quality doesn’t outstrip that of the First Division. A point was also made for the quality of home-grown rugby.
Just trying to capture the spirit of the thing......