Ravens Fall to Deep UBC Squad 32-14: Match Report
posted Jan 31 2017
by Peter MacDonald
With the ice age over and the free salt all gone from the Vancouver Fire Department stations we were back to rugby out at UBC on a nice day and a dry field. And it was the Ravens who stepped up right from the Chris Assmus whistle and who played hard with plenty of possession in the UBC half for much of the first 20 minutes. Brock Staller, debuting with the Ravens at outside centre, slotted penalty kicks at 10 and 20 minutes to reward the Ravens while UBC prop Clint Lemkus was yellow carded for an infringement at the ruck at 20 minutes as well. It was a great start for the Ravens as UBC were on their heels initially dealing with more than they bargained for from the Ravens.
Things got better for the Ravens at 25 minutes when a Theo Sauder chip kick was blocked and recovered by Kol Henriksen. He was taken down short of the UBC line but a UBC player interfered with the Ravens’ ball emerging from the ruck. The Ravens opted for a chip to touch and lineout and it paid off with Aaron McLelland sending a charging Sean Hase in for a try from his right wing spot, 11-0 Ravens. A few clichés were uttered by the UBC squad to generate a wake-up call while they awaited the conversion but the students would have to wait a little while longer before things would kick in.
But things did begin to click in gradually for UBC. At 33 minutes Adam McQueen got UBC on the board with a penalty kick and it was just before the half when Chris Taylor found Nick Allen with a long miss pass and Allen streaked down the left sideline sloughing off a few tacklers on his way to an important UBC try, 11-8 Ravens at halftime.
The second half was a saw off for a further 15 minutes until the substitutions began to flow from both sides. At first the Ravens benefitted as Harjun Gill, who took over for McLelland at the half at #10, turned provider to McLelland who broke through to near the UBC line where UBC were dinged at the ruck, 14-8 Ravens with the Staller kick at 58 minutes. But as the likes of Sean Duke, Alex Mascott and Chase Kelliher filtered into the UBC squad with fresh legs and no loss of quality to say the least, the tide began to turn. Lemkus banged in to take it to 15-14 at 65 minutes and moments later a perfectly angled kick over the Ravens’ backs to the left corner by Sauder found Andrew Coe all alone under it and in for the try, 20-14. Kelliher then added one with a lot of hustle and a UBC maul then floated 30+ metres for a try to finish things off.
UBC is a very good squad to be sure right now. Sauder didn’t try his hand as he is surrounded at #10 with runners everywhere: Rees, Coe, Keffer and Kulkan. Kulkan, a great player over the last two seasons, gave way to Duke! The forwards are excellent and their scrummaging had the Ravens backpedalling most of the day. Luckily Dewald Kotze, the Raven hooker, was able to hack it back hard and the Ravens won their put ins as the ball flew through their pack. No holding it at the no 8’s foot on this day.
The Ravens played well and will be fine. Sergio Aguero and Paul Ahn debuted in the front row adding depth to Curtis Demonico, Kotze and Garret Garbe. Jon Phelan played well but needs a partner at lock as Trevor Helgason is injured. Charlie Thorpe led from #8 with Tom McKeen suffering an unfortunate leg injury this past week. We all wish him well in his recovery. Henriksen and Kelepi Gucake moved from the backfield to the flanks and acquitted themselves well.
The Ravens’ backs will take a backseat to no one as McLelland, coming off a good sevens tour with the Maple Leafs, Sean Ferguson, Hase, Nolan McAllister, Staller, Cully Quirk, AJ King and Huw Grundy (unavailable today) make up a strong group to choose from.
This was a high quality game, a tough test after the break. Onward and upward.