Burnaby Match Reports: Three Wins Over Seattle - Div 2 Win Over Scribes
by Mike Devlin
BLRC 2nd Div Men 54 – Scribes RFC 5
Trevor Flynn and the Deuces were travelling to play the Scribes for the first of 3 BLRC 12:45pm kickoffs. Saturday was BLOB (Burnaby Lake Old Boy) Day at the BLRC and the 2nds were the only BLRC side to be playing away from home… much to the aggravation of the executive and alumni. Apologies to the Scribes for an uncharacteristic lack of attendance at the post game. The players were sorry to miss out on what we know would be a tremendous hosting experience but it was a club day at the BLRC and players and supporters were expected there.
Barry Bonell rumbles in for his first try of the game! Photo credit: Rain De Guzman
It has been a few years since the BLRC has played the Scribes, and the coaches didn’t quite know what to expect, but the game plan was worked to perfection with the BLRC backs firing the ball around and scoring 7 of the BLRC’s 8 try’s. Cian Keegan stepped into the Flyhalf position after Jarret Richardson broke his shoulder last weekend and was deemed the Back of the Match by the coaching staff. In addition to scoring a try, he added 3 converts and 2 penalties to finish the day with 17 points. Barry Bonell returned from the woods this week and smashed through for 2 try’s in his first rugby action of the year. Connor Irwin, Sean McKeown, Taylor Skwarok and Dan Griffiths also added try’s with Griffiths adding a convert as well. Flanker Raf Malcolm added the only try from the BLRC forwards. The game was close at the 50 minute mark with the BLRC holding a 15-0 lead but it was the strength of the BLRC bench that would make the difference with four 2nd half try’s scored by impact subs.
Next week shows the BLRC 2nd Division Men heading east to take on the always tough Abbotsford RFC. With the Men’s Premier, Premier Reserve and Women’s Premier on the Island we encourage all BLRC supporters sticking around the city to carpool out to Abby to take in some rugby!
BLRC Premier Women 42 – Seattle Saracens 27
Last Saturday everything looked fairly ideal, weather was great, teams had new kit, the Baron of Beef was on the ‘Q but still there was an aura of trepidation amongst the women’s team. Coming off a less than stellar season their initial competition was the Cup finalists Seattle Saracens. Seattle had given the Ladies of the Lake fits last year with their athletic firepower on the outside.
Gen Gratton vs Seattle. Photo Credit Pj Carr
After a strong start, the Premier women must have had flashbacks as Seattle moved turnover ball quickly to the outside and opened the scoring. Undaunted, BLRC came back strong and the newly healed Sonya Foulds scored after a break by Katie Grudzinski and some grueling work by the pack. Seattle was to score twice more off turnover ball in the first half but Burnaby answered back once with an elegant dive in the corner by Iona Schamberger.
The second half saw the Burnaby attack shift to the outside as they made good use of the quick ruck being generated by the forwards. Gabby Hindley and Jessica Harvey took gaps straight up the middle while Camilla Maslo twice found outside space to cross the line. Carly Walker with 2 yards and a cloud of dust also got in on the party before Gen Gratton finished with a try at the buzzer to close out. Final score 42-27 for the BLRC Premier Women.
3 Things We Learned Saturday
1. Home Field Advantage is an Advantage – New kit and a friendly crowd certainly set the tone for a fine performance by the team 2. Two Workhorses are better than one – the back row pairing of Gabby Hindley and Sonya Foulds paid big dividends on both attack and defense. 3. Once Front Rower, Always a Front Rower – Carly Walker looked both comfortable and dominant in her return to the 1-2-3 club. Her spot in the centers was not left wanting as Aly Govorchin had a stand out game at #12.
Next week the ladies travel to Castaways to face a coaching staff filled with both ex-teammates and rivals, Jess Dovanne, Kim Donaldson and World Cup star Mandy Marchak.
BLRC Premier Reserve Men 32 – Seattle Saracens 22
Two evenly matched teams made for an exciting game that wasn’t fully decided until Nolan Shelley slotted a penalty just before the final whistle. The game was full of heavy hits and some exciting + flashy rugby from both sides. Preston Petrovitch opened the scoring for the BLRC after a long run and offload from Brian Murphy. The big man Seveci Duruloka had the next BLRC try when he took a pass with some space into the corner for another 5 points. Seattle fought back and matched the BLRC score for score though and after Siaki Vikilani busted through a tackler to give the BLRC their 3rd try, Seattle responded and took the lead with a convert. Half time saw the score sitting at 17-15 for the Americans.
Brian Murphy breaking a tackle that led to the first try of the game. Photo credit Pj Carr
Just after half, the BLRC coaches started piling in the fresh legs and that allowed the home team to continue playing at a high tempo. The Saracens bench didn’t quite have enough bodies and that would be the turning point in the game as the Saracens seemed to slow down a bit in the final 30 minutes. Gio Paolella scored the BP try for the Blue & White as he and Darren McCrory played a game of “give and go” over 65 metres to score between the posts. Johnny McLoughlin added another when he pulled a “Jerome Bettis” and went straight up the gut, carrying 3 defenders with him under the posts. Nolan Shelley made both converts. Seattle put together a long string of phases in the games dying minutes to pull a little closer but Shelley’s late 3 pointer finally put the game out of reach.
Young gun Siaki Vikilani vs Seattle. Photo Credit Pj Carr
Many of the BLRC standouts were rewarded for their great performances in this game with Longbone, Duruloka, Petrovitch, Chan, Paolella, Murphy and McCrory seeing quality action in the following Premier game! My choices for M.O.M for the BLRC would have been Siaki Vikilani in the forwards and Mathew Chan in the backs. Big thanks to Jivan Dhaliwal for the well refereed game. Next week the “Reserves” travel to the Island to take on James Bay.
The full game can be seen here:
BLRC Premier Men 52 – Seattle Saracens 24
The Premier game kicked off under a sunny sky with the long vanished Michael Jones in the middle. He was becoming one of BC’s best refs when he left us for the east a few years back. He reffed a strong game Saturday and I sincerely hope that someone at the BCRRS was swift enough to poach his credit cards and ID so he has to stay for at least another week!
Lucas Albornoz finally taken down after a big run. Meanwhile, Cody Rockson gets to 2nd base with the tackler. Photo credit Pj Carr
The first half was a shootout! The scoring started 3 minutes in with Dan Josok scoring wide after a few BLRC phases in the Seattle end. James Reekie converted to go ahead 7 zip. 3 minutes later, the new guy, Sam Hayward cut through the Seattle defensive line and went on a 40 yard sprint before he was tracked down. The ball was recycled through Josok to Jeke Gotegote who ran in for the score. Reekie’s convert put the score at 14-0 and talk in the BLOB Zone was that “the rout was on” but the Saracens were having none of it. At the 12 minute mark Seattle had control of the game and were putting some pressure on the Burnaby defence at their 22m. Psalm Wooching found a hole in the line and busted through it, pushing through the lone defender and over the paint. Andrew Nelson converted to pull Seattle closer at 14-7. The momentum had swung and only 6 minutes later Seattle was back at the BLRC 5m. The Burnaby Lake defence was putting shoulders into the tackles and stopping the attack but couldn’t create a turnover. Eventually the BLRC ran out of bodies on the right flank and Eric Soto took the ball at pace in for a try untouched. Nelson’s extra’s tied the game at 14.
Cody Rockson brings the ball into Seattle territory. Photo credit Rain De Guzman
At the game’s 24 minute mark a Saracens kicking error would prove the catalyst for the BLRC to regain the lead. A Seattle clearing kick just missed touch and was fielded by Josok. Gotegote and Albornoz smashed the ball back into the Seattle end before the ball was sent wide to James Reekie with nothing but grass and goal posts in front of him. James converted his own and the BLRC were back in the lead 21-14! The BLRC got the ball back after the kickoff but Psalm Wooching saw to it that they didn’t keep the ball long. The big outside centre absolutely wrecked his opposite and the ball popped right into the hands of Seattle’s inside centre (Location, location, location!) Jope Farisiko who sprinted into the BLRC 22m before popping to Eric Soto who cashed in his 2nd try of the half! Fortunately for the BLRC, the convert didn’t go and the BLRC kept the lead they would hold onto for the remainder of the game. 21-19.
At the 31 minute mark, The BLRC were set up for a lineout at the Saracens 5m. Seattle deftly stopped the drive and the first crash but they couldn’t stop Lucas Albornoz who bulled his way through for 5 points and put his team up 26-19. Just before the half, the BLRC were awarded a scrum at the Seattle 5m. The ball flew out the back of the scrum and #9 Mark Higgins whipped the ball to Sam Hayward who made his opposite miss with a beauty of a step and waltzed in under the posts! Neil MacLaine made the convert and the BLRC were out in front 33-19 at the half.
Dan Josok scoring his 2nd try vs Seattle. Photo credit Pj Carr
The 2nd half began a little slow by this game’s standards in that it took about 8 minutes for the first score. Cody Rockson was the beneficiary of a fortuitous bounce when Brad McHugh met the Seattle front row head on and the ball popped straight back into Cody’s arms. With no defender in sight, Cody jogged in for the try! Mark Higgins conversion was good and the BLRC now led 40-19. With about 20 minutes gone in the 2nd half the BLRC would strike again through their backline. It happened just as the play was drawn up with X’s and O’s. Scrum at the Seattle 5m. Ball was won cleanly and sent to the backs, Hayward passed the ball back inside to a hard crashing (and freshly subbed-on) Darren McCrory who dove in beneath the posts. Nothing but net! Higgins convert put the BLRC up 47-19.
With about 10 minutes left in the game, Mark Higgins picked the ball from the base of a ruck and took off, making a few yards and drawing the defence to him. Mark offloaded the ball to a charging Dan Josok who finished the play for his 2nd try of the day. The convert sailed wide and the score sat at 52-19. Seattle flanker Sequoyah Burke-Coombs would get one back for the Saracens shortly before the final whistle. Seattle were attacking and the BLRC were deemed offside. Captain Olive Kilifi saw the BLRC defence asleep at the wheel and took off, making some yards before drawing contact. The ball was sent wide to Burke-Coomb who outpaced the defence into the end zone…and that was the game.
The BLRC were deserving of the win. I thought they were a bit fitter and maybe a touch better prepared. Seattle matched the BLRC well in the forwards with as even a game in the sets as the Burnaby pack has seen in a while. Aladdin Schirmer was involved in everything for the Saracens and Captain Kilifi led from the front and played a great game. Their much talked about centre, Psalm Wooching, is a beast. This guy knows how to hit. I hope that someone at USA Rugby or in the Saracens organization can fine tune a few things to allow him to reach his full potential as a rugby player. Because he could be scary good!
On the home side I though Lucas Albornoz stood out as the best forward. With so many regulars missing due to injury or otherwise the Big Puma did most of the heavy lifting around the field. He made a ton of yards with ball in hand, and NONE of it was open field running. It was all shoulder to shoulder collisions. The back row of Swire, Rockson and Breadon also stood out with their athletic play. In the backs, the new guy Sam Hayward had a great first game for the club. He’s big, athletic and knows the game. He started the game at FB and ended it as the Flyhalf so we’ll see where he fits in. Jeke Gotegote had another fine game. Most people know of Jeke’s size and are aware of his love of tackling but most people forget that he was once a really fast winger, and he still has that speed which he got to show off on Saturday! He and Wooching had a few great collisions in the game. Jeke had more fun in those collisions than our other centre Neil MacLaine did in his run-ins with Wooching.
The full game can be seen here:
Another week, another set of injuries. The BLRC depth will be tested this week as the hope had been to get a few players back from week 1 injuries but the rumours are that most were of the multi game or season ending variety. A tough battle awaits the Premier Men next week when they travel to the Island to face off against James Bay who looked to be running at full power last weekend. It should be a great game. Jim Jamieson & Jerry Sangara are organizing a supporter’s bus to the Island for anyone who wishes to travel to watch the Premier Women face CW or the top 2 men’s teams face James Bay. Please contact Jim or Jerry at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org before Thursday to reserve your seat on the bus.
www.burnabylakerugby.com Many Teams~One Club
Burnaby Take Two from UBC and One from SFU in Home Triple-Header
by Mike Devlin
September 9th 2017 was deemed Chris Weston Day at the Burnaby Lake Rugby Club. Chris was one of the founding members of the Burnaby Buffaloes (one of the two clubs whose merger created the BLRC) and was responsible for finding the space that we are proud to call the Burnaby Lake Rugby Club today. Chris was also instrumental in the building of the clubhouse at Burnaby Lake. Off the pitch, he found success in the business world and built RIMEX into a world leader in the manufacturing and sales of industrial tires + wheels. Chris was generous in his support of the BLRC over the years and funded numerous BLRC junior initiatives that assisted many of our current players when they were teenagers. Chris Weston passed away on Aug 13th 2017 after a long battle with Leukemia. His presence will be missed on the sidelines and in the BLOB Zone but his memory will loom large in the history of the Burnaby Lake Rugby Club.
The day started early at Burnaby Lake with the UBC and BLRC women playing a preseason scrimmage at 10:45. The action was back and forth and there were a few instances of “champagne rugby” on display. I am told that the team wearing the BLRC jerseys were the victors in the end, but I noticed few players changing jerseys throughout the game so I believe Women’s rugby was the true winner on Saturday.
BLRC 2nd Div Men 41 – SFU 12
The first league game of the year kicked off with the 2 dominant Lower Mainland 3rd Div teams from the past few years both making the jump up to 2nd Division. The battle of Burnaby was even in the early going with both teams using kicks to control territory in the pouring rain. At about the 17 minute mark SFU would move the scoreboard when their #13 found a gap in the BLRC defence and sprinted through for 20 metres before the BLRC defence caught up. But the #13 kept pumping his legs in contact and made the defenders slide off their tackles on his way in between the posts. The convert was good and SFU was ahead 7-0. The insertion of Mate McLeod-Genest into the game would prove to be the TSN turning point as the former Langley Ram running back seemed unstoppable with the ball. He came on for an injured Haydn Melin near the end of the first half and scored on his first touch of the ball, racing through 4 tacklers on his way over the try line. That was the first of Mate’s 3 try’s on the day and he was named Man of the Match with good reason. Dan “Sunshine” Griffiths scored next for the Blue & White followed by Tom Menzies who converted his own to put the BLRC ahead 17-7 at the break.
The 2nd half started with a solo effort from McLeod-Genest try followed by 2 beautiful tries from Jarret Richardson & Cooper Johnston before Mate McLeod finished his day with a “Dolesau-ish” try, bouncing off or through a handful of defenders and making a few more miss on his way to a 30 metre score! SFU finished the game with their #9 cutting through the middle of the park to score just before the whistle. Final score 41-12.
The BLRC were a little too deep for SFU to handle and pulled away in the 2nd half. McLeod-Genest was outstanding during his 40 minutes on the pitch but wasn’t the only back worthy of note. Inside centre Dan “Sunshine” Griffiths returned from a long stretch on the IR list after losing a piece of finger last year and, I believe, would have been M.O.M. if not for Mate’s hat trick. Sunshine was huge in defence and moved the ball well through the centres. He was always there in support and was the catalyst for much of the BLRC attack. In the forwards Tom Menzies stood out for his play. The former Mt. A defensive back has an unlimited gas tank and can be found EVERYWHERE on the pitch! He’s becoming a great #7 and even does the kicking! However, it was the play of Doug Provost-Smith that got the nod for Forward of the Match. Doug is a graduate of Western University who moved to Burnaby and joined the club this summer. He played 8-man on Saturday and led the pack into every contact. He hits hard on defence and shouldered most of the heavy lifting in tight for the BLRC forwards. He seems like a pretty lucky pick-up for the BLRC. Hopefully we ‘ll get to see Doug, Mate, Dan and Tom move through the ranks this year and play some higher level rugby.
This week the schedule says that the 2nds are at Trout Lake to take on the Scribes, so that should be a great test for the young 2nd Div team.
BLRC Premier Reserve Men 37 – UBC 0
The defending Provincial Champions suited up for the first time this season with a deep lineup! Ed Swire assumed the captaincy on the day and was outstanding, making a lot of yards with the ball and racking up a pretty hefty tackle count! The BLRC defence was too strong for UBC throughout the 80 minutes and the shutout was well earned. Much credit is due to the UBC defence who tackled and tackled and tackled and kept tackling. An area where both of their teams excelled on Saturday. These kids can tackle! But, as much as they tackled, the UBC Reserves were overmatched by the bulk of the BLRC forwards and the size and pace of the BLRC backline.
Matt Chan scored 3 try’s in the BLRC’s Premier Reserve win over UBC. Photo credit Pj Carr
Mathew Chan started the offence early for the BLRC Reserves, flying down the wing past the defence to touch down under the posts. Nolan Shelley made short work of the conversion to go ahead 7-0. The next BLRC score will be awarded to Tom Dear but was a Pack try with the BLRC scrum pushing their opposites over the try line and the 8-man touching it down. Mike Gough would put the game out of reach before the half when he barrelled over the try line from in close after some sustained pressure around the 5m line. The 1st half ended with the home side ahead 17-0.
Adrian Longbone got his first try of the season 10 minutes into the 2nd half. The BLRC forwards were threatening inside the 5m and the veteran Loosehead Prop grabbed the ball and won the contact battle, stretching out and touching the ball down for the score. Matt Chan would collect his 2nd and 3rd tries of the match back to back! Shelley, Chan and Darren McCrory were streaking down 15 m line with a UBC defender marking each of them. Shelley hit Matt with a wide pass and outside him McCrory pulled wider, drawing his defender with him and opening a gap in the defence. Chan kept the ball and cut into the gap with nothing in front of him but the paint. Try #3 came from a nice pass from captain Swire at the 22m. Matt cut through one defender and around another for the score. Preston Petrovitch would get the final say on the day. The ball started in a ruck near the Burnaby sideline but was swung wide to the UBC side where Preston was waiting. The birthday boy cut back inside past the defender and made the final 10m untouched. That ended the game and started the season off on the right foot.
Lots of exciting performances in this game. Bryce Worden returned to the BLRC front row after 2 seasons in Auckland and he played great as did his Prop partner Adrian Longbone. The scrums were all BLRC and gave a nice platform for Mark Higgins to distribute the ball. Cody Rockson’s debut at open side flanker went well. Cody can tackle with the best of them and gave an ultra-reliable 2nd option when Higgins was pulled into contact. Both Rockson and Worden saw some Premier time that afternoon as well. The starting center pairing of Gino Paolella and Matt Chan were on fire all afternoon and seemed to gel quite well! When Gino was pulled out at the half to warm up with the Premier team Johnny “Flash” McLoughlin stepped in and had some brilliant runs too! UBC had some excellent players out there and I found that, in addition to their tackling, their organization and discipline was strong. There were a few players definitely capable of taking the next step up and playing for the Thunderbirds. Their #8, #9 and #12 in particular.
BLRC Premier Men 19 – UBC Thunderbirds 11
The Premier game would start with a minute’s applause to honour the contributions to rugby of Chris Weston and we thank the BCRRS and the UBC players and supporters for observing this with us. Before the moment of applause began there was a delay due to a technical malfunction with the referee’s communication devices. The BLRC got the message and stayed in their changing room until it was corrected but UBC unfortunately wasn’t notified and spent 10 minutes on the pitch waiting for the BLRC and the refs to arrive. The lucky ones got to make small talk with me. You’re welcome.
Although there were many new faces in the T-bird jerseys at Burnaby Lake on Saturday, the standard of play was what we have come to expect from the Thunderbirds. I know they have a few players missing to the Canada U-20 squad which affected their depth and I think that they will pose a threat to every team they face this season.
Dan Josok breaks a tackle en route to his first try of the game! Photo credit Pj Carr
Most of the first quarter of the game was a stalemate with UBC’s Sauder using the boot to gain some territory and the BLRC forwards led by Rowley and Albornoz using the shoulders to gain it back. Finally at the 17 and a half minute mark Jeke Gotegote caught a perfectly timed pass and busted through the UBC defence, sprinting and juking inside the students 22m. 3 phases later Caithness would pass the ball inside to a trailing Dan Josok who sped around the defence and blew through the final UBC tackler before diving in for the opening try. The momentum had swung Burnaby’s way and a few minutes later the Blue & White were pressing again. The ball was swung wide from the breakdown to Dan Josok who went in for his 2nd try untouched. Neil MacLaine added 2 points and the score sat at 12-0 for Burnaby Lake.
A BLRC penalty gave Sauder the chance to get 3 points back and he made good on the attempt. 12-3 for Burnaby Lake. He would get the chance to add 3 more a few minutes later and he was good for that one as well. Now, 12-6 and with the score closer and the BLRC down a man for the rest of the game it seemed the momentum was turning as the half time whistle blew.
Neil MacLaine gets wrapped up by Cali Martinez. Photo Credit Pj Carr
The 2nd half was scoreless for a bit but the BLRC were awarded a scrum at the UBC 5m about 15minutes in. The ball was secured and whipped left where James Reekie was the first receiver. James cut left and cut right dodging 2 tackles and falling in for a try! Neil MacLaine added the extra’s to put the BLRC ahead 19-6 with 25 minutes left to play. With a little over 10 minutes left to play the BLRC were camped at the UBC door step but were issued 2 yellow cards on back to back plays. One well earned & one absolute shocker which seemed especially inconsistent when judged against what tackles had and hadn’t been considered a yellow card in the previous 68 minutes. So it would be up to the last 12 men standing to close out the game for the BLRC. UBC worked the ball down field and after a BLRC penalty on their own goal line the UBC Fullback quick tapped and dove through the exhausted BLRC defenders for a try which ended the game. Final score 19-11.
James Reekie distributing the ball. Photo credit Pj Carr
I had heard throughout the summer from many “experts” in the BC Rugby world that UBC wouldn’t be strong this year now that the “bumper” crop of recruits they picked up after the program was revitalized 5 years ago have graduated. No more Staller, Thorpe, Best, Courtney, Kulkhan, Mascott, etc. But, barring a rash of serious injuries to their current standouts (Keffer, Sauder, LeSage) I will be surprised if they aren’t battling for the Rounsefell Cup again this year.
A good first outing for the BLRC men. The BLRC pack looked strong an even when down 2 2nd rows and one back row held their own. The backs had moments where they looked REALLY good! Newcomers Dermot O’Meara, Neil MacLaine and Reid Watkins added some fresh ideas into the backline while veterans Reekie, Gotegote and McQueen gave their usual solid performances. There are some athletes back there and they’re all big boys. Add to that the mentorship of Head Coach (and former All Black, Graham Sims) and this could be a turning point year where teams have to worry about more than Anthony Luca, Admir Cejvanovic and the BLRC scrum.
Big Bryce Worden prepares for contact with the UBC defence. Photo credit Pj Carr
Gotegote was awarded the Man of the Match honors and he had a great game but my choice would have been the Pride of Burnaby Mountain Secondary, Dan Josok, whose 2 first half try’s gave the BLRC the lead that they would never relinquish!
Next week sees the BLRC host Seattle in 3 games starting at 12:45pm while the 2nd Div Men travel West to see the Scribes!