A bye week is normally a forced week off for most rugby players, but not this week as Surrey would host the fledgling rugby program from Trinity Western University and they’d do it under the ‘Friday Night Lights’ at Sullivan Park. The novelty game wound up drawing a good alumni crowd and better than expected spectator support.
SBAA Senior Men vs Trinity Western University - Win 31-13
Surrey would kick off the quasi-historical tilt. It was obvious early that TWU was going to be structured and enthusiastically athletic on defence. The Beavers would maintain an edge in experience and persist in progressing the possession and tactics. Surrey would strike first when Joe Murphy finished a stolen ball from a counterattack, and the ice was broken. The following convert was off the mark, but the lead was 5-0 for Surrey. The spunky visitors weren’t about to lay down and pressed back in the offensive zone causing the Beavs to balk and take a penalty that TWU would make. Surrey was reduced to a two point lead at 5-3. Surrey would take note and tighten up play in their own zone. Soon enough, experience and reps together would show their value when the ball popped out of a Trinity scrum and was snapped up by Brandon Woods, the Surrey 9 would complete the play with a try before most Trinity players even realized what had happened. Brandon “The Cat” Gatto would pop in the convert and retake the momentum with the score at 12-3 for Surrey. TWU again worked they’re way back in the offensive zone and had a prolonged run of phases, showing that they in fact had some prowess at this game. The Beavers would lack discipline and be caught off side. The Trinity kicker made the penalty effort and the score adjusted to 12-6 for Surrey. TWU showed they weren’t going away, but it was blatantly obvious that penalty kicks weren’t going to keep pace with Beaver trys. It wasn’t long before that point would be driven home in the form of a Riley Johnson run that led to a burst of activity by the forwards that ended in Ryan Mitchell scoring the latest Surrey try. The convert was again left wanting, but the 17-6 Surrey lead gave them some comfort and breathing room. The first half ended with that score line.
The second half started on an ominous note as the Surrey forward who received the ball from the kick off wound up isolated and would take a hard hit by the charging Trinity pack. The Beavers would again right the ship with many phases of possession until James Bailey went the final 25 metres with a flashy run of his own for the first points of the second half. Brandon Gatto would make the convert. The tally was 24-6 for Surrey. Play continued back & forth for several minutes before Iain Small was able to pick off an errant Trinity pass in the backfield, he scampered 35 metres for the gift try. Gatto again finished with a good convert as Surrey led 31-6 and were firmly in control. The final few minutes was played at midfield until Trinity seized the momentum from a Beaver side that was giving way to a young and fit Trinity squad that was also trying to take advantage of some of Surrey’s less experienced subs, which they managed to do. Trinity would win a lineout near the Beavs 22 metre line and quickly spun the ball out to their standoff who parted the defence and scored their first try of the game. The convert attempt had a bit of an angle, but was well struck for the extra points. Surrey led 31-13 and that’s where it would end.
Trinity had a well drilled group of good athletes who played well as a team. In their initial effort it wouldn’t take too much imagination to see them competitive in the second division certainly, and perhaps even in first division. The crowd of alumni and various spectators resulted in a very good turnout for a Friday night. All in all it was a fun night under the Friday Night Lights.
Just trying to capture the spirit of the thing......