Burnaby Lake Claim Mainland 3rd Division Title Over SFU: Match Report and Photos
from Mike Devlin posted Dec 28 2016
2 out of 3 ain’t bad! After a summer full of uncertainty, the Burnaby Lake Rugby Club Men’s program put together perhaps its finest fall season. There was much debate amongst the Executive and coaching staff about whether to stretch resources and field 4 teams this fall or play it safe with 3, a consensus was reached to field 3 with the aim for 4 in the spring and it paid off! The Premier Men and 1st Div Men both finished the regular season in first place with only 1 loss between the two of them while the 3rds finished in 2nd place taking one loss. Including the playoffs the Men’s teams went a combined 21-3 this fall and all 3 teams played for the VRU/FVRU (Mainland) Championships with the 1sts and 3rds claiming the Cups!
Vancouver/Mainland 3rd Division Cup Final
BLRC 13 – SFU Rugby 6
After dispatching the 3B #1 seed Kats RFC last weekend, the BLRC 3rd Div Army climbed Burnaby Mountain to meet the only team to hand them a loss in the fall. SFU has quietly put together a 3rd Div powerhouse just up the street from us with a nice mixture of youth + speed and somehow the Weston’s. When the 2 sides met in October it was SFU coming away with a 27-22 victory behind the strength of their back 3 so containing the SFU flyers and pushing them into the middle of the pitch where they would have to deal with the bulk of the BLRC forwards was the defensive strategy.
The Mainland 3rd Division Champions!
The first 40 minutes was a stale mate and the half ended 0 – 0 but it was only for the defensive efforts of SFU and the inability for the BLRC to find that last finishing move that kept the game scoreless. The first half was played almost exclusively inside the SFU end and while the BLRC backline were threatening, they just couldn’t seem to connect on the last pass that would have sprung a man for 5 points. Fullback Sean McKeown and centres Francois Botes + Kyle Geach were running some hard lines and challenging the SFU defenders to bring them down at every tackle. SFU were up for that challenge with flankers Sean Longmire and Sidney Berglund really racking up the tackle count and punishing the BLRC ball carriers on numerous occasions.
At halftime Coach Szabo made the first impact substitutions and brought BLRC veterans Brad McHugh and Kelly Hirakida into the forwards. Both were stellar through the final 40 minutes of play, with McHugh being chosen as the forward of the match. From the whistle Burnaby was back on the front foot and Flyhalf Jarett Richardson would finally break the goose eggs after Kishan Karunathasan made a break to get the BLRC back inside the SFU 22m. Richardson faked the dish and stepped outside his opposite making it to the try line before the defence caught up to him. Richardson stretched out and touched the ball over the line for 5 points. 5 minutes later it was SFU who were on the attack with Fullback Kieren Danovaro the catalyst. As with the game in October, the SFU attack centred on the young Australian and he didn’t disappoint, stepping and juking his way through the BLRC defence for 30 yards and clear sailing ahead before Tom Menzies tracked him down and made the stop. Burnaby was penalized at the next breakdown and gave the SFU Flyhalf and Coach Marty Lockyer a chance at posts which he made good on to close the gap at 5-3. A similar turn of events a few minutes later with Danovaro making a big gain followed by a BLRC penalty gave Lockyer the chance to put his team ahead and he did, splitting the uprights for a 6-5 lead. Coach Szabo started emptying the bench and the fresher legs made a big difference. Winger Connor Irwin, who had a great 60 minutes, was replaced by Eduardo Cordoba and Eduardo gave the BLRC backline a spark as he made a great break almost immediately and brought the BLRC back inside the SFU 22 before getting pushed into touch. SFU took a penalty trying to run the ball out and Richardson set up for penalty kick which was successful, putting the BLRC back in front 8-6 with only 10 minutes to play. The father/son duo of Trevor and Cooper Johnston were both outstanding in the game’s final minutes, with both making some key tackles as did replacement prop Jovan Mastrovic! SFU had one final push in them that was started once again with a long run from Danovaro and helped along by a punishing run from #3 Calvin Li who destroyed a few would be tacklers before Menzies and McHugh brought him down. A penalty gave the BLRC back the ball and they systematically drove the ball downfield as the final minutes ticked away. Eventually they were on the SFU goal line and Brad McHugh would pick and go for a try on the final play of the game. Final score 13-6 and the BLRC 3rds were the Mainland 3rd Div champs!
It was fitting that the top 2 3A teams in the regular season met for the Cup and SFU played hard but Burnaby Lake was the better team on the day. SFU were forced to tackle for most of the game and while they did it well, it wore them out by the game’s final quarter. The depth of the Burnaby squad was a major factor in the 13-6 2nd half point spread. Having the luxury of taking out Connor Irwin (an EXPERT ball carrier and very good defender) and being able to replace him with Eduardo Cordoba (a very good ball carrier and EXPERT defender) was a luxury that SFU didn’t have on Saturday and it showed in the 2nd half. Congrats to captain Rick Flello and the 3rd Div Army! I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the efforts of 22 year BLRC veteran Steve Sawchuk who has been used primarily as a finisher these past few years. It was decided at the selection meeting that Steve would be starting the game with a view of subbing him out for a younger impact prop in the 2nd half! Steve had other ideas, playing all 80 minutes and leading the charge from the front. A well-earned championship trophy for Mr Steve Sawchuk! Big thanks the many supporters who came out in the rain and cheered the 3rds on all afternoon and to SFU for hosting everyone!
Captain Rick Flello accepts the Mainland 3rd Division Cup
That’s it for 2016 on the pitch! Big thanks to the BLRC Senor coaching staff: Graham Sims, Walt Brandl, Corinne Jacobsen, Julia Sugawara, Ian Trevor, Dave Murphy, Paul Szabo Angel Cividanes, Paddy O’Gorman & Neil McLaughlin! To the management team: Doug “Tugboat” Smith, Randy Johal, Jeremy Jarvis & Deb Capps and the training staff led by Gio Lam, Tahira Larson and Ross Holliday!
While the on field activities are finished up, the social side is just gearing up for Christmas!
Friday Dec 2nd: The BLRC Annual Mickey Draw. 630pm start time at the clubhouse. Every Mickey you bring gets you one entry into a reverse draw for hundreds of mickeys!!
Saturday Dec 3rd: The BLRC Mystery Bus. 6pm meet time in the players’ lounge. $10 entry fee
Monday Dec 26th: John Latham Memorial Game. Our annual co-ed Over/Under game pitting all BLRC between the ages of 20-29 vs all BLRC under 20 and over 30! A great way to spend your boxing day! 12 pm kickoff, food and after party to follow in the clubhouse!
www.burnabylakerugby.com Many Teams~One Club
Weekend Match Reports: 3rds Defeat Kats in Semis; 1sts Win Tisdal Cup; Prems Lose to UBC in Mainland Cup: FULL MATCH VIDEOS
by Mike Devlin posted Nov 22 2016
VRU 3rd Division Cup Semi-final (guest writer Simon Smoldon) BLRC 3rd Div Men 13 – Kats RFC 6
Saturday saw the BLRC 3rds take on Kats in VRU semi-final playoff action. The Balaclava field was firm & the weather dry. From the opening kickoff, Burnaby dominated possession but an attack into the BLRC 22 from a Kats centre put the BLRC in danger. A goal line stand ensued & tackle after tackle was made by the focused BLRC defence. #7 Tom Menzies was able to turn the ball over & find Colin Thomson who tried to use his foot to clear the danger. Unfortunately his kick was sliced & the Kats full back took the kick & from 45 yards out coolly slotted a left footed drop goal to put the Kats up 3-0 early. From the kick off the BLRC pack managed to win the ball back & set up camp inside the Kats 22m. Attempts to spring dangerous winger Kishan Karunathasan were negated by centres Francois Botes & Kyle Geach losing their footing after each made a line break. However Kats defence were offside on the 2nd & Colin Thomson made amends by taking the 3 & putting BLRC on the board.
This was playoff rugby at its finest with the BLRC swinging the ball wide & Kats smashing the ball up with their big forwards & looking for their outstanding fullback & centre to break free. At the 30 minute mark Kats put another 3 on the board winning a penalty after their fullback created space in the BLRC 22. Coach Szabo's words in the end zone were heeded & the Blue & White pack who responded immediately. Jovan Mastrovic, Martin Long & Trevor Flynn led for the rest of the half with a number of big carries & heavy hits. #8 Doug Breadon, who was outstanding throughout, won a turnover near halftime & drew a penalty which again Thomson was able to make good on. 6-6 at the half & all to play for.
Coach Szabo made 3 personnel changes at the half. 2nd rows Long & Flynn were replaced by Brad Mchugh & Cam Young plus BLRC 22 year veteran & ex Burnaby Central athlete of the year Steve Sawchuk stepped into the front row for Jovan Mastrovic. Szabo's message was simple: keep hold of the ball & the gaps & breaks would come as the Kats team were tiring noticeably from the attrition of playing all the rugby between the 22's.
From the kick off BLRC stuck to this plan & put together 5+ phases of sideline to sideline ruby. Quick recycling of the ball & great handling in the backs put Connor “Tyrion/Frodo/Dumpy” Irwin on a 1 v 1 with his opposite winger. Connor stepped inside & then out, threw straight arm and got outside his man to score & put the BLRC up 11-6. Thomson made a difficult convert to give the 3rds their 1st lead of the game. The expected return push from the Kats came but only in small doses. This may have been due to outstanding defence by Kyle Geach & Sean McKeown. On more than one occasion these fellas saved the day & won a penalty or a turnover which allowed Thomson to clear his lines. In fact the best scoring opportunities came the way of the Blue & White as Kishan came close with a chip & chase opportunity & a well-executed driving maul was thwarted at the last by a knock on. The last 5 mins were nail biting as Kats threw everything they had at the BLRC, attempting to keep their unbeaten season alive. Once again grit, determination & defence kept the green & white out & ref Mike Landiak's final whistle came as a great relief. Chris Campbell & Connor Irwin were chosen as BLRC men of the match by their peers.
Captain Flello's team will now set their sights on winning the VRU 3rd Div Cup this coming Saturday when they play SFU in the "Battle of Burnaby" at 1pm.
VRU 1st Division Men’s Cup Final (Tisdal Cup) BLRC 1st Div Men 28 - Seattle Saracens 10
Revenge was on the table for the Burnaby Lake firsts who would look to avenge their only loss of the season vs Seattle! Seattle lived up to their billing as 2nd seed as they brought the game to the BLRC in the early going. The Americans play a very physical game and had some boys in the back row that could really hit. The opening 15 minutes produced 6 points with BLRC scrumhalf Mark Higgins and the Seattle Flyhalf each slotting penalties to tie the game at 3 before the BLRC forwards took over. The front row of Captain Adrian Longbone, Preston Petrovitch and Paul McFeely started asserting themselves in the scrums and putting the Seattle backs in the unenviable position of taking a hurried pass going backwards. Drops and penalties started to mount and the BLRC found themselves with a lineout 15 metres from the Seattle goal. Fergus pulled down the lineout cleanly and the forwards set up a powerful maul which was tight with 4 rows between opposition and ball. The maul moved and kept moving, gaining speed as it passed over the 5m line and eventually Juan Videla dropped to touch the ball down for a try. Higgins converted to go ahead 10-3. The BLRC maul would produce a try on the next foray into Saracens territory as well. This time a lineout at the 22m would be the starting point with the pack quickly filling into formation and the ball swiftly passed to the back of the maul. The forwards moved steadily until the Saracens finally stopped the drive at the 5m line. Taking a cue from the Rugby Canada playbook vs Ireland (the now famous try scoring maul…not the final score) winger Angus Fisher and inside centre Adam Martin rushed in to join the maul and it started moving again. Eventually it got close to the line and 8man Andy Drummond dove over the line to touch it down. Half time score 15-3.
Juan Videla scores his first of two try’s - Photo credit Pj Carr
Seattle struck first in the 2nd half with Prop Pat Farrell getting the job done in close. The BLRC were playing a little too liberal with the offside line and ad a series of penalties moved them back around the 5m line. The Burnaby Lake defenders got a months’ worth of tackling done in a few minute span but again the eagle of eye of referee Jay Macdonald caught a BLRC player offside. The Saracens set up at the 5m and Farrell called his own number, tapping the ball and charging over the defence and the try line. As I said many times over my career, you can’t teach heavy! The Seattle convert made it 15-10.
The BLRC backline came to life following the Seattle try. David Dinbandhu (in at winger) broke the Seattle line, avoiding a few tackles before being taken down. The ball went out to Gino Paolella in the centres who stiff armed his way through a few would-be tacklers at the 22m line and jogged the rest of the way for 5 points. 20-10 with 15 minutes left.
Juan Videla would touch down his 2nd try of the match a few minutes later. The big lock was at the back of another BLRC driving maul that made it over the try line! The convert was wide, but Richardson ended the game with a penalty kick a few minutes late. Final score 28-10
The full game can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-VpFvVvLSo&t=3876s
Big Juan Videla was awarded the forward of the match by his coaches and certainly earned it! In addition to 2 try’s he was all over the pitch making tackles and was a favourite ball carrier for the halfbacks. It was great to see him playing at this level and excelling after spending the bulk of the season with the 3rds! Time will tell if he did enough today to make the First Div #5 jersey his to lose going into the 2nd half! Gino Paolella was chosen as the back of the match and was definitely worthy of the recognition. Gino displayed all of the skills needed to advance to the Premier level today. Solid on D, got involved at the breakdown when needed and was a real danger man with the ball in hand. Gino had to take off early post game so he may not have known that he was the back of the match… luckily his father Marco stayed late and amidst a full clubhouse cheering “Gino’s Dad! Gino’s Dad! Gino’s Dad!” Marco Paolella stepped in and helped the BLRC defeat UBC in the all-important season ending boat race.
2016 Tisdal Cup Champions – Burnaby Lake Rugby Club 1st Division
VRU Premier Men’s Cup Final (Miller Cup) BLRC 10 – UBC Thunderbirds 20
A rematch of last year’s Miller Cup Final pitting the BLRC vs UBC. Last year the Birds claimed the Cup and the result was the same this year. UBC are tough to beat. They have speed to spare and I don’t know when they find time to go to class with all of the work they seem to put in on the weight bench. Jorden Sandover-Best at 9 and Theo Sauder at 10 are both game changers and see the field as well as men 10 years their seniors. Their front row was bolstered since the last game at Burnaby Lake by the extremely large Clint Lemkus. Lemkus is the first Loosehead prop I’ve seen in a long while that wasn’t completely bullied by Burnaby Lake’s Ryan Ackerman in the scrum. There was a fierce battle for 80 minutes on the BLRC Tight head side with Ackerman getting the best of it by games end. I’m sure that both Props slept soundly that night.
BLRC vs UBC scrum – photo credit Don Wright
The students used their speed to jump out to an early lead through winger Manar Kulkhan. Only a few minutes in, the UBC backline found an overlap and sent the ball through a few sets of hands before finding Manar with only one man to beat. Manar made the BLRC defender miss (possibly freezing the defender by just batting those eyes) and trotted in for the game’s opening score. Adam McQueen made the convert to put UBC up 7-0. Mike Goodall would get 3 points back after an infringement to draw the BLRC within a try as the game passed the quarter mark. The next score would be crucial. UBC would be the beneficiaries of the score and the momentum swing that came with it. Jorden Sandover-Best took a quick tap and scurried through the retreating defenders and into the Burnaby Lake 22m. The ball was passed through the hands of Sauder and Hamilton before finding Nico Clironomos who dove over the try line to put UBC up 12-3 which is how the first half ended.
Manar Kulkhan’s game opening try – photo credit Don Wright
While the score showed a 9 point lead, I thought the game was very even through the first 40 minutes with Burnaby Lake having an advantage up front and the students having an edge in the back line. The BLRC left a lot of points on the board in that first half with 2 line outs in the “red zone” that they failed to properly execute plus a Cole Mosychuk try called back due to a forward pass outside the 22m. I believe it was called in by the TMO. Another dagger to the heart was on the final play of the half with Burnaby being awarded a penalty out past the 10m line. Mike Goodall struck it well but it bounced off the post. Gareth Marsden was the first man on the scene and the highlight reel try seemed certain, but the ball took an unusually low bounce and it was bobbled on the pickup as the half drew to a close.
The 2nd half began with the back and forth battle that was indicative of the game to that point. Plenty of jabs, but no haymakers until Sandover-Best once again caught the Burnaby Lake D sleeping on a penalty and took a quick tap that brought UBC over the 5m line. A goal line stand ensued but after 5 phases the wall cracked out wide letting UBC’s Neil Courtney in for a try and giving UBC a 17-3 lead. McQueen would add to the lead a few minutes later, as he put a penalty over the crossbar to extend the UBC lead 20-3.
As time wound down, BLRC finally started to gain some momentum with a few penalties going in their favour. Rockson and Vikilani led the squad downfield and made it to the UBC 5m line. A UBC penalty put the ball in Rockson’s hands and he took a page from Sandover-Bests book (“Reaching New Heights” by Jorden Sandover-Best) and went quickly, diving through a tackle to score. Goodall’s conversion ended the game 20-10.
Taitusi Vikilani charges into the UBC defence – photo credit – Pj Carr
UBC were deserving winners. As I stated at the start of this report, there are very few holes in their game. Despite losing Staller, Mascott, Thorpe, Quirke (to name a few) from last year’s Rounsefell Cup winning squad they still proved to be the top team on the Mainland when it counted. So hats off to them and congratulations on taking the Miller Cup back to campus once again.
On the Blue + White side of the pitch, Mike Goodall and Cody Rockson stood out for their heads up play and relentless attacking. Both dished it when possible but tore into the defence when they had to. Taitusi Vikilani and Cole Mosychuk were the most noticeable BLRC forwards although the tight 5 should receive some recognition as a group for their strong game today. Another dominant display in the scrum had UBC scrambling to get clean ball time and again. By games end, UBC had 6 penalties called against them at scrum time and I thought that more than a few of the 16 scrums that had to be re-set could have easily been penalties as well.
The full game can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOiFWpNR6fE
Only one BLRC game left this year with the 3rd Div Men travelling up the hill to take on SFU for the Mainland 3rd Division Cup! Kickoff is at 1pm & I hope that there is a large turnout for the final Burnaby Lake Rugby Club game of 2016! Big thanks to Dave Smortchevsky, Jay MacDonald, Mike Landiak + Graham Stone for their excellent work with the whistle and to the Kats, Saracens and Thunderbirds for the games! Lastly as our final home game of the season has been completed, big thanks to the BLRC club members whose efforts every Saturday allowed our home games to go smoothly!
Burnaby Shutout Abbotsford in Two Matches: Loss to Cowichan in Women's Premier: FULL MATCH VIDEOS
posted Nov 8th 2016 by Mike Devlin
BLRC Premier Women 10 – Cowichan RFC 17
Another Island trip and another close loss for the Premier Women. The BLRC struck first through a try from Annie Arnott plus the convert and a penalty from Jessica Harvey to go ahead 10-0 but the home side fought hard to get back in the game and were able to hold on for the win.
The loss puts the women at 0-4 but the margin of defeat (7 or less in all but one game) has produced 4 points and the girls I spoke to were optimistic going forward. One more tackle here or one less knock on there, and they could just as easily be 3-1.
BLRC 3rd Div Men vs Surrey Beavers (exhibition match)
Fun game to watch as both sides came out swinging for the fences in the early part of the game! Some big runs, some big tackles and BLRC President Simon Smoldon with the whistle decked out in a bunch of Mike James’s old Stade Francais gear! What’s not to love (except Smoldon)? I didn’t get the final score but I believe the BLRC had more points in the end. Some highlights from the BLRC were the young wingers Kishan Karunathasan and Eduardo “The Wall” Cordoba who both made timely try saving cover tackles in the first half and produced some exciting runs down the sidelines. Also, the full BLRC line change at halftime allowed Coach Szabo to get every player into the game.
Surrey played a great brand of rugby, very aggressive around the rucks and 100% committed to the tackle. Something that stood out to me was the interaction between one of their props, who though still a young man, appeared to be a veteran at the club… and a winger who was new to our game. The encouragement that the veteran was giving the rookie after the rookie had just made a few errors that allowed the BLRC to score a try was great to listen to. The message from the vet was that he was doing great, remember to do what he knew and he’ll only get better. The conversation ended just before Surrey kicked back off and finished with “If you need help, call for it and I’ll be there! Just call my name.” If the club leaders can preach that encouraging attitude and get the rest of their membership to buy in, the Beavers could soon be a force in BC Rugby!
BLRC First Div Men 67 – Abbotsford RFC 0
A 2nd straight shutout for the Firsts who head into the playoffs on a 3 game win streak. The 59 point average margin of victory in those 3 games could be detrimental heading into the VRU finals since the Firsts haven’t been in a competitive match since Seattle and over-confidence may creep in.
Try scorers for the BLRC vs Abbotsford were Trent Shelley (2), Andrew Porter (2), Darren McCrory (2), Andy Drummond, Jack Caithness, Mark Higgins, Jarett Richardson and David Dinbandhu. Andrew Porter and Mark Higgins each kicked 3 converts.
Juan Videla leads the charge vs Abbotsford RFC
Full game video is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjzwgobWC2k
A concern for the VRU First Div Finals: The schedule I am looking at says that #1 plays #2 on Nov 19th. Currently Seattle sits in 2nd place, with UBC in 3rd but with a game in hand and the possibility of overtaking Seattle.
Unfortunately, UBC’s game in hand (vs Ravens) is scheduled for Nov 19th. I have also been told (possibly gossip) that the BLRC firsts will be playing the First Div side of whichever team the BLRC Premier team faces in the finals. Currently that would be UBC, but Ravens are in 3rd with a make-up game on the 12th. A BP win, puts them into 2nd place.
Gino Paolella finds a gap in the Abbotsford defence
BLRC Premier Men 42 – Abbotsford RFC 0
The game video will be posted below for anyone wishing to see the try’s and tackles but I won’t bother you with a play by play of the game.
Abby needed a BP win to stay in the hunt for the Spring Premier league and many of the BLRC players who have friends at Abbotsford felt a pang of guilt that Burnaby Lake would be the team putting the final nail in the coffin last Saturday. Credit should be given to the Abbotsford front row who were called up from 1st Div and had a tough 80 minutes but were still all smiles at games end (or possibly because it was games end!) and to their #6 Nate Sandhu who really stood out on defence.
The BLRC looked pretty good at all positions but I thought that a handful of the younger players were most noticeable on Saturday. Nolan Shelley played 80 minutes at Fullback and played smart rugby, stepping in as a 2nd Flyhalf when the BLRC split their attackers. Dan Josok continues to get better every week and may have solidified his spot on the Premier wing with another multi try performance. Dan now has 6 try’s in the past 3 weeks and his defence and game sense has stepped up to match his blinding speed. In the forwards, Taitusi Vikilani had another outstanding game, scoring 3 try’s and stopping a few Abbotsford ball carriers dead in their tracks. Lastly, the play of #7 Cole Mosychuk continues to improve and I thought Saturday was his best game for Burnaby Lake so far. Cole is originally from Kelowna and joined the BLRC after moving to Vancouver this fall. Cole scored a try and had a huge tackle count to go along with some punishing runs.
Full game video can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVelbiZXV9Y
Big thanks to Cowichan, Surrey and Abbotsford for the games and to the Abbotsford players who stuck around in the clubhouse having beers until long after their girlfriends came to pick them up!
Saro Turner, Ian Trevor + Jamie Levchuk from the Referee society and to Simon Smoldon for the great officiating on the day!