Ravens Topped by Lakers 35-20: Match Report by Peter MacDonald
posted Oct 31 2016
by Peter MacDonald
Mercifully the rain had let up but the slick ball and the wet pitch would sort out who was stuck in from whom was not, on occasion, in this match between the two remaining undefeated teams. Initially it was Burnaby, defending the north end and its soggy area inside the 22, who appeared unready for the action. The Ravens kept the pressure on from the start and five minutes in a miss pass from #10 Harjun Gill ended up in Aaron McLelland’s hands and he breezed through a hole with little contest for the try, 5-0 Ravens.
A brief lecture to the Burnaby boys from Anthony Luca and a Raven knock-on of the kickoff put Burnaby back in the game. They settled into the Raven half and tallied when Cole McQueen finished of a few phases that had produced an overlap on the left, 7-5 at 11 minutes. The Ravens again raised their game and, after Burnaby #8 Ethan Nisbett had been binned at a ruck near the Burnaby line for interfering with the Raven scrum half, the Ravens mauled in a try from a lineout for the lead 12-7. But, clang, another Raven knock-on at the kickoff and shortly after a Burnaby penalty kick closed the gap to 12-10.
The Ravens looked in a good position with a scrum centre after a Burnaby knock-on inside their 22 in front of the posts 15 metres out. But good defending by Burnaby and some poor execution by the Ravens worked the ball and the phases gradually backwards till a hanging pass in the Ravens backs was collected by a defender and after a quick ruck was touched down for an all too easy try, 17-12 Burnaby.
But the Ravens struck back before the half with a nice break from #9 Sean Ferguson who fed a streaking Kelepi Gucake on right wing. Gucake blasted through a few tackles to just shy of the line and from the ruck Gill hit centre AJ King with a long miss pass and the score was tied 17-17 at the half. An eventful second half was to follow.
After Burnaby took a 20-17 lead with an early penalty kick things got interesting 10 minutes into the half. As Harjun Gill was punting a ball to touch a late hit with no wrap on the planted leg caused a loud unsettling noise and it looked like a serious injury was likely. Some pushing ensued and in the result it was the Burnaby player off with a red card, Ravens’ captain Tom McKeen in the bin for entering the fray and pushing an opponent and Gill on his feet and back in the game. Within minutes the Burnaby pack was driving a set scrum towards the line when the Ravens’ tighthead Garret Garbe apparently infringed to halt the drive and a penalty try was awarded 27-17 Burnaby at 55 minutes.
After the Ravens knocked through a penalty kick to close the gap to 7 they continued to try to get back in the game and take advantage of the red card to Burnaby. Just before McKeen was to return Raven winger Sean Hase laid what appeared to be a good hard hit on a Burnaby player but it was deemed to be a “tip tackle” and off he went with a yellow card. Two Raven miscues later it was 35-20. First a bouncing Raven put in was won against the head and when it popped out of the Burnaby scrum and was recovered by Ferguson he was isolated and called for not releasing……penalty kick, 30-20 Burnaby at 65 minutes. Then, after a dangerous Burnaby break ended in a forward pass at the Raven line a 5 metre scrum ensued. The Ravens took the scrum but as they worked the ball to the right in their in-goal area the ball was dropped and while the home team contemplated the situation a Burnaby player dove on it for the bonus point try.
Burnaby’s pack had the upper hand on the day and their team defending was good. The quality of their subs, Ackerman, Vikilani and Reekie to name three, indicates their depth. But the Ravens had enough errors on the day to let any side into the game. Despite the errors the Ravens had some good performances. Nick Waggott made some big hits particularly in the later stages and yelled encouragement as if to say “this isn’t good enough, let’s get our sh#t together.” Carlie Thorpe, Jon Phelan and Cully Quirke also made their hits and worked hard and Gucake and Hase had solid games. The lineout is going well and the Ravens too are building some depth with players like Nolan McAllister and Kol Henrikson on the bench and Huw Grundy and Tristan Clironomos currently injured.
Two more games and a possible rematch with Burnaby remain. Looks like two bonus point wins will be needed for that.
Ravens Top Lomas 46-12 to Claim 2nd Place: Host League Leading Burnaby on Saturday
from Peter MacDonald
posted Oct 24 2016
After a week of heavy rains on a newly prepared Jericho pitch the Park Board relented at the 11th hour to allow the Ravens/Lomas Premier game to proceed with the Div 1 game to be played at Balaclava Park. Credit goes to club president Frank Fekete who worked the phones hard to convince the Park Board that Jericho could handle three or four Saturdays of play in the three month period prior to Christmas.
From the start it was clear that the Ravens were going to make the most of the opportunity to play, having last had a game three weeks previously. By the 20 minute mark the Ravens were up 17-5 despite some stiff resistance from the Lomas. #10 Aaron McLelland glided through a hole to score, then he made a half-the width-of-the-pitch miss pass to left winger Sean Hase for a second try and the forwards mauled in a third from a lineout. The Lomas countered from a Raven turnover and took it in from 50 metres out down the right sideline to get on the board after the second Raven try.
At this point though a hint of nonchalance seeped into the Ravens’ play. They were running their phases but with a little less urgency and with a little more risk. The Lomas took advantage and scored a nice multiphase try finished by left winger Matt Chan in the corner at 38 minutes to close the gap to 5 points, 17-12. A late penalty kick brought the half time score to 20-12 Ravens.
The game remained close and hard fought till the 55 minute mark when the Ravens’ hooker, Dewald Kotze, finished off a number of phases in the left corner slipping through a couple of tackles near the line, 27-12. Three more tries followed in quick succession. Garret Garbe had a brace, one from a pick and go and one out wide where he did the show and go and dove in. The other try was a beauty with McLelland breaking up the right, one handing a pass to Sean Hase on his right, Hase then cut infield and one handed left to Huw Grundy at full tilt for the try.
The Lomas played well but the Ravens were able to pull away in the end. Loma scrum half Thomas Viljoen and #10 Francois DuToit provided good ball to the backs and #8 and captain Travis Larsen led a solid pack. But the Ravens had a little more firepower on the day. In the pack Jon Phelan debuted at lock and secured good ball in the lineouts. The back row of McKeen, Waggott and Locke put in a hard day’s work. Kotze was the man of the match in the forwards and threw in well. In the backs, McLelland, Sean Ferguson and Hase all showed their speed and elusiveness. Grundy on the other hand punished tacklers with his high stepping powerful runs. Cully Quirke in the centres is a true foil to his fellow backs. He takes the ball into contact and produces it without fail, catches the high balls off the kickoffs and sticks his tackles.
Coach James Thompson has the boys fit and playing well and has provided them with plenty of structure and variation. He has good pieces to work with throughout the side so that should give him some pleasure. Next week hosting Burnaby at home should be entertaining rugby. Come on out.
Ravens 25-23 Win Over UBC “Sweet As”
by Peter MacDonald
posted Sept 20 2016
It’s always interesting in September to see how the new pieces fit together and what you might have in the way of a team. At first blush the Ravens it appears will be competitive though it took them till the second half of this game to show their strengths. UBC controlled the early possession crashing forwards off of Adam MacQueen at #10 and challenging the Ravens tacklers who throughout the game were up to the task. The only try of the half fell to UBC at the 10 minute mark when a MacQueen chip kick was recovered off the bounce by left winger Manar Kulkan. Otherwise it was penalty kicks to both sides, some made and some missed, which tallied a score of 11-3 to UBC at the half. Highlights of the half were tackles by Sean Hase and Cully Quirke on Kulkhan and a dangerous counterattacking run by UBC fullback Cole Keffer who shows promise and versatility.
The second half was an entirely different story. The Old Boys had the ball for most of the opening 7 minutes and had their foot on the gas the whole time. Long phases of possession and wide handling resulted in a UBC penalty which the Ravens kicked to touch for a lineout inside the UBC 22. A successful driving maul, a pick and go sequence and wide ball to the backs stretched UBC and fullback Sean Hase took advantage when he stepped inside his man and dove in for the try, 11-10 UBC.
There was no let up by the Ravens. Tom McKeen recovered his own chip kick, sent up another one right away and forced UBC into a 5 metre scrum Ravens put in. The Ravens turned it over on the pick and go but the tide had turned and the Ravens had their tails up now. At 54 minutes from a set scrum at mid-field the Ravens went right and new man Aaron McLelland dummied, burst through a slight hole and immediately backhanded a perfect pass to his right winger Sean Ferguson who glided in for an uncontested try, 15-11 Ravens. A penalty kick by Gordon McRorie took the score to 18-11 before McLelland struck again at 74 minutes. Again on the right McLelland spied a gap in the UBC backs and off he went. UBC pursuit was fruitless and he dove in after a 60 metre gallop, 25-11 Ravens.
UBC weren’t going away though and they answered back forcefully till the end. First prop Chris Taylor crashed in after prolonged pressure bringing the score to 25-18 and a one try game. Then more pressure led to a series of attacking 5 metre scrums for UBC with little time remaining. Flanker Charlie Thorpe, now with the Ravens, was yellow carded for breaking early and interfering, the Ravens were penalized for deliberate wheeling and in the end UBC pushed over the needed try. But the conversion from the left was pushed wide left and the final whistle blew for a Ravens win 25-23.
The Ravens’ forwards had a good game showing ability in the lineout, maul and pick and go phases. Two new locks Trevor Helgason and Matt Staunton are a blessing after lacking true locks last year. Helgason along with Sean Hase and prop Curtis Delmonico were Vancouver boys in last year’s Canada U20 camp and the three of them all showed well against UBC. The three tries were scored in the wide areas by the backs which is always a pleasant sight for the grafting veteran forwards. Coaches Dean Murten and James Thompson should be pleased with the season’s start, frantic though the game was at the end, particularly after the ball had been punted to touch by McRorie from his 5 metre line at 25-18 thinking that time was out when it was not! Kiwi McLelland’s tee shirt after the game summed things up: “Sweet As, Bro.”