Ravens and Rowers Fight to a Draw 22-22
by Peter MacDonald
posted March 28 2017
On a dry day at Jericho it was the Rowers who made the first impression as they had the early edge crashing their big #3 and causing a few problems for the Ravens. But 10 minutes in Aaron McLelland caught a Rower’s clearing kick in touch at midfield and fired it back in for a quick counterattack. Harjun Gill legged it from right to left and sent left winger Sean Hase in for the first try in the left corner, 5-0 Ravens. The score was doubled 5 minutes later when from a scrum centre AJ King took a pass from #8 Charlie Thorpe and ran 50 metres through the Rowers’ backs to touch down under the posts. But, say what, the conversion was easily blocked!
The Rowers answered immediately as they stole a ball at the tackle and quickly spun the ball left, the #12 made a slick backhand pass to spring his fellow centre, and the left winger was then sent away for a nice team try, 10-7 Ravens. The Rowers pulled even with a penalty kick at 30 minutes a just reward for the direct rugby they were playing. The Rowers then pushed it to 17-10 with another break by a centre, #13, sending their big left winger in again. At this point it was becoming clear that this was not the Rowers of last week against James Bay or that the Ravens were not up to par or perhaps both.
The Rowers were up quick in defence and were counter-rucking and the Ravens were not getting regular clean, quick ball but just before the half the Ravens were looking like scoring through Sean Hase on the overlap but his inside man cut in and the chance was missed. The Ravens would have the benefit of the wind and slope in the second half but they would have to pick it up to get the win.
The halftime chat must have worked as Ben Grant set the tone right away with some hard running and McLelland dummied and sliced through for an early try, 17-15 VRC. McLelland nearly set up another try shortly after but his low quarterback pass to an open man at the line was knocked on unfortunately. The Ravens would rue their missed chances as the Rowers #8 picked up from a 5 metre scrum and powered in for a try at 56 minutes to indicate again that it would not be a bed of roses for the Ravens on the day, 22-15 Rowers.
To their credit the Ravens responded with a good spell of play and McLelland again darted in for a try under the posts to tie it up at 22-22 with 15 minutes remaining. The Rowers then had the majority of the possession and continued to crash #3 who certainly knows how to run onto a ball. The Ravens held them off the scoresheet at 68 minutes when from a 5 metre lineout and maul the Rowers were called for not releasing. Then with the Rowers threatening again McLelland intercepted and made a pass to his open right winger Jeff Vreys which a Rower deliberately knocked on preventing a possible Raven try. The penalty kick to touch took the Ravens to near the Rowers’ line with three minutes to go. It was looking like the win was on but from a lineout, two 5 metre scrums and one penalty the Ravens were unable to punch it in. Twice they were held up across the line and once they knocked on at the touch down and once finally to end the game they knocked on just short of the line after a pick and go sequence.
It was a tough pill to swallow but clearing kicks that don’t make touch, missed tackles, missed kicks at goal and dropped balls add up. It was a fair result. The Rowers clearly picked up their game from last week. There was plenty of good cheer in the clubhouse after as the teams were equals on the day. Now there is a dogfight for playoff positions and the three points the Ravens picked up with the draw and the 4 try bonus point may be meaningful in the end.
Ravens Come Back To Win Over Vikes 43-27
by Peter MacDonald
posted Mar 20 17
Wallace Field is at the peak of a rise and is open to a west wind which blew hard all game benefiting the Vikes in the first half and the Ravens in the second. So the Vikes, taking a 12 point lead into the second half, looked not to have capitalized enough and in the end that was proven out as the Ravens ran in five second half tries to the Vikes 3 second half points for a convincing Ravens’ win.
The students were not at full strength due to the University 7s with likely their entire backfield committed in Langford. But to their credit they took it to the Ravens for much of the first half with the wind at their backs. The Vikes #12 was a threat and their kicker #20 was 4 for 4 in the half, many from distance, and 5 for 5 for the game. Their three tries were well earned and, but for a number of knock-ons, they likely would have had more. But the Ravens put up two tries of their own in difficult conditions which indicated their potential for the second half.
The Vikes opened the scoring at 21 minutes when the #8 O’Sullivan picked up from a set and after a ramble and a ruck the next man touched down. Shortly after, the Vikes mauled left from a lineout and attacked the blind side right to score again, 14-0. The Ravens answered from the kickoff after the Vike catcher dropped the ball and a few phases later Ravens’ scrumhalf AJ King quick-tapped from a penalty and dished one handed to a surging Sean Ferguson for the try, 14-5. Following a U Vic penalty kick the Ravens were in again as quick hands through the backs sprung Jeff Vreys on right wing who cut in and sent Ferguson in for his second try of the day, 17-12 Vikes. The half ended with a Vikes try after what looked like a harmless punt was angled into the in-goal area and the Vikes winger beat the defenders to the ball, 24-12 after 40 minutes.
The second half began with an odd sequence. A ruck looked to have been formed with the Ravens expecting the possession but the U Vic forwards were not engaged and a U Vic player strolled round and picked up the ball. The ball was then spilled and the Ravens’ Huw Grundy who looked to be in an offside position himself (but was not as it was open play) picked it up, turned and had a clear run to the line, 24-19 Vikes. Very unfortunately a few minutes later Huw was crashing through the Vikes backfield when he was held up and he began to set up a ruck. But he was in the one big quagmire on the pitch and, when the forwards in the ruck heard a crack, play was blown up. Huw was helped off eventually and it looked like a serious leg injury for him.
The Vikes #12 did not return due to injury in the second half while the Ravens subbed in Aaron McLelland at #10 for the last 35 minutes. Together with the wind it was too much for the students with their young backline. The Ravens ran in four more tries and had a number of good performances on the day. Paul Ahn at prop was full of energy carrying the ball, Huw Grundy had some punishing runs, Jon Phelan was good in the lineouts and clearing out at rucks, AJ had a try saving tackle and was up tempo all day long and Sean Hase, Kelepi Gucake and Jeff Vreys all had some nice runs out wide. Dewald Kotze and Nick Waggott made some hard yards running straight and getting past the gain line setting up the backs for good ball. All in all it was a solid performance. With a full student side it could have been a different outcome but the Ravens got it done on the road and we’ll take it.
Ravens Grab Win at the End Over Bays 34-30: Vancouver 7s Kick-Off Event Thursday Evening
by Peter MacDonald
posted March 7 2017
A surprisingly dry Jericho field greeted the two squads on this chilly early March day. Also surprisingly the Bays were arriving as a winless team in Premier action (three games) to face the also winless Ravens (in two). In a tough league this match might be pivotal to the two clubs’ playoff aspirations. The Ravens were down four regular backs so coach James Thompson made his season debut and stood in at the #10 spot. Someone new was going to have to step up if the Ravens were going to take this game.
James Bay had the early advantage and were rewarded with a penalty kick quickly followed by an excellent try at 18 minutes to take a 10-0 lead. The try started with a Sean White darting run, then a ruck and great hands and speed through the Bays outside backs on the left sideline. Mitrou slotted the kick and would be 6 for 6 on kicks at goal on the day. The Bays continued to take it to the Ravens as the Ravens were kicking to the Bays and Evison, Slater, White and Co. were happy to give the Ravens fits on the counterattack. But, after the teams exchanged penalty kicks, scrum half AJ King intercepted a Bays’ pass and went 80 metres for a try against the run of play at the 30 minute mark, 13-10 Bays.
The Bays’ #7 Travis Larsen extended their lead in short order as he sliced through the Ravens’ defence from a ruck near the line a little too easily on a day when both teams defended inconsistently. But the Ravens answered just before the halftime whistle as from a ruck Garret Garbe laid it off to a straight running Thompson who dove in for the try. With the convert hitting the crossbar the score read 20-15 Bays at the half.
Mitrou slotted another penalty kick early in the second half as the Ravens were hemmed in their own end early on as a result of poor kicks. But with the slope in their favour and a low sun making an appearance also in their favour the Ravens started to pick it up. Two missed Raven penalty kicks bracketed a nice try where a fake reverse in the backs preceded a strong run from fullback Sean Hase through two Bay defenders at the line , 23-20 Bays at 47 mins. The sides exchanged tries then as White touched down for the Bays from a ruck and then right winger Jeff Vreys for the Ravens was sprung by Ben Grant and Garbe and he accelerated away and stepped two tacklers for an impressive score, 30-27 Bays at 67 mins.
Mitrou apparently dumped Ben Grant in the tackle on the try sequence and went to the bin with a yellow card. This was followed 5 minutes later by another Bays’ sending off. Ben Johnson had tackled AJ King low as King was punting the ball. The referee had no problem with the tackle but King and Johnson had differences as they were disentangling themselves and soon there were more players in the skirmish then were in the next ruck. Referee Smortchevsky stopped play and consulted with his assistant and in the result a Bays’ front rower received the one yellow card leaving two Bays on the side for 5 minutes to come. The Ravens eventually camped inside the Bays 22 and took advantage with a try after Thompson weaved about and with seemingly no space he dished to Jon Phelan and a big gap opened for him to stride through for the Ravens’ first lead and the winning try, 34-30 Ravens at 76 mins.
Some tense moments continued as the Ravens lost possession at the kickoff but after the Bays pressured with pick and go drives a long miss pass to the outside backs hit the ground and Kol Henriksen kicked it on into the Bays in-goal and, as Slater beat Gucake to touch it down to save a try, the game came to an end. A tough loss for the Bays but the Ravens put up 5 tries to the Bays 3 tries and deserved to win. Jeff Vreys, Ben Grant and James Thompson made a difference for the Ravens. In the second half Grant hit his stride running hard and tackling hard and Vreys was a threat all game long. Charlie Thorpe was laying out hits all day too leading a pack bolstered by the return of Jon Phelan and the debut of lock Hans-Peter Bakker. A satisfying win but there’s still work to do. U Vic in two weeks after another week off but in the meantime the Ravens 7s squad will be in action on Thursday and Friday in the Vancouver Sevens tournament at UBC. Come on out! Invite to UBCOB Ravens Clubhouse for Vancouver 7s Kick-Off
from Rob Jenkins
You are Invited to a Vancouver 7s Kick-off Open House at the Ravens Clubhouse - Thursday March 9, 7:45 to midnight
The UBCOB Ravens invite all rugby supporters and visitors to the Vancouver 7s/Vancouver Rugby Festival tournaments to join us at the Ravens Clubhouse. Have a few pints with Ravens players and alumni, as well as Canada and International 7s players. Food and refreshments will be served. Come early at 6:30 to play some touch, Clubhouse event to start at 7:45.
The Ravens Clubhouse is at the north foot of Discovery St., Jericho Park, in the Jericho Sailing Centre (second floor).