Burnaby Split with Ravens in Men's Premier and Reserve Matches; Women Lose to Capilano and Men Div 2 Defeat Brit-Lions
by Mike Devlin
BLRC 2nd Div Men 54 – Brit-Lions RFC 20
A tight first half blew up into a runaway 2nd half in the early game at Burnaby Lake with the young guns on the Burnaby side exploiting a little Delta fatigue in the final 30 minutes. The first 40 though were the definition of why the BLRC decided to make a jump up in competition level by entering their 3rd XV into the Div 2 league. The Brit-Lions boasted some strong rugby players (and some big boys) that seemed to shell shock some of the younger Burnaby players in the early going. The Blue + White were forced to commit more men to the rucks than they are used to which had the knock-on effect of less support out wide on the next phase.
Mate McLeod-Genest try scoring run vs Brit-Lions. Photo credit Pj Carr
It was BLRC newcomer, Ben McIvor who got the BLRC machine rolling with back-to-back scores at the 20 + 30 minute mark and gave confidence to some of his younger teammates. Ben’s sniping runs from the breakdown gave a little extra space to Kishan Karunathasan and Mate McLeod-Genest in the backline which would prove to be the downfall of the Brit-Lions on Saturday. Karunthasan set up the 3rd BLRC try with a 40m run before tossing the ball to Tom Menzies at the 22m for the score. Cian Keegan converted 2 of 3 and the BLRC were up 19-10 at the break. The Brit-Lions opened the 2nd half with a try to draw closer but after that it was pretty much all BLRC with McIvor notching the hat trick, McLeod-Genest scoring twice and Karunathasan & Sean McKeown each scoring once. Keegan missed only one convert on the day and the BLRC 2nds took the game 54-20. Forward of the match was Raf Malcolm although Tom Menzies gets an honorable mention. Back of the Match went to Ben McIvor though Kish or Mate could easily have gotten the nod. Big thanks to the Brit-Lions for sticking around the clubhouse and supporting the bar until the rugby was done.
The first 70 minutes of the game can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zusDfDOuQ6o
The 2nd Div Men are off until the 14th when they will be on the road to Kamloops!
BLRC Premier Women 15 – Capilano RFC 27
An exciting game of rugby is always on tap when Capilano and Burnaby Lake square off and this women’s game was no different. The teams traded points until midway through the 2nd half when the Caps were able to make some impact substitutions and pull away.
Angel Santos tries to find a gap vs Capilano. Photo credit Pj Carr
Gabrielle Hindley opened the scoring for the BLRC only a few minutes into the game after a Capilano penalty inside their own 22m. Scrum half Angel Santos made a quick tap and passed it to the speedy #7 who burned around the outside & past the defenders for a try. Burnaby Lake thoroughly controlled the game’s opening 20 minutes with almost 100% possession, much of it in the Capilano end but were unable to push in any more points. 21 minutes in, Capilano jumped on a BLRC turnover at their own 5m and went to work, moving the ball 95 metres in 10 seconds before #13 Julie David took the ball in between the posts. On the restart, the BLRC women moved the ball back into the Capilano end and the game was played between the 10m and centre line until the 27th minute when the Capilano #13 Julie David found a break in the BLRC defence and went 60m untouched for her 2nd try. Caps now led 12-5. At the 35 minute mark, Lauren Tagg ran the ball into the Capilano 22m before being dragged down. The ball was sent to the 5m channel where the BLRC’s (hands down) toughest Pitt Meadows-born Loosehead prop was waiting. Carly Walker took the ball at full pace and ran over a defender on her way in for 5 points. Converts were hard to come by, so the score sat 12-10 for the visitors. Capilano came storming back on the restart and drove the ball deep into Burnaby territory. They put together quite a few phases before one of their forwards dove over in the far corner. I couldn’t quite see the number but I believe it was Gillian Boag. That score put the Caps up 17-10 going into the 2nd half.
Lauren Tagg leads the BLRC attack vs Capilano. Photo Credit Rain DeGuzman
The 2nd half began with a quick Capilano score. #12 Suhad Mardikian found a gap in the BLRC backline and raced in from the centre line to put her team up 22-10. Camilla Maslo answered for the BLRC at the 52 minute mark. The speedy Fullback took a Gen Gratton pass and cut a great line through the Capilano backfield. She had one defender to beat on her way over the try line. 22-15 for Capilano with about 25 minutes to play. Capilano had the final word on the day though with Gillian Boag diving over the paint from in close with about 15 minutes to go to put Capilano ahead 27-15 which was your final.
Good game from both sides. Capilano’s Gillian Boag and Ally MacCormack stood out in the forwards for their work rate and game sense. I’d hand the Forward of the match to Boag for her (I believe) 2 try’s. The Caps #13 Julie David was their Back of the Match, creating try’s from her own end on a few occasions. On the home side, Lauren Tagg was my call for Forward of the match. Tagg was a reliable ball carrier, racking up lots of yards with the ball and was solid on defence. In the backs, FB Camilla Maslo who made some heads up plays on defence and was the catalyst for much of the BLRC offence.
The game can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6m2yUze3Ak&t=158s
The BLRC ladies have 2 weeks to heal up and then they travel to Klahanie for a rematch against Capilano.
BLRC Premier Reserve Men 21 – UBCOB Ravens 7
By the start of the 1pm game, the skies had fully opened up and the rain was pouring which made the ball handling a little slippery and contributed to a lack of offence from both sides. The game’s first 5 minutes saw a 6 points go on the board courtesy of 2 Ravens penalties and 2 Nolan Shelley kicks but then the game would go scoreless for 50 minutes.
Reid Watkins break out of a pile with the ball. Photo credit Pj Carr
In the 2nd half, Nolan Shelley made a heads up play inside the UBCOB 22m with his team on a penalty advantage. Finding himself looking at the posts he calmly slotted a drop goal which put the home side up 9-0. The Old Boys would counter off the kick off when a lazy Burnaby Lake pass went bouncing and the Ravens #13 picked it up on the bounce at the BLRC 22m and sprinted in for a try between the posts. The convert was good, so it was a game. 9-7 with 20 minutes to play. The next score would be crucial and the BLRC were fortunate that Raf Malcolm was in the right place at the right time. Raf pounced on a Ravens knock-on inside their own 22m, picked up the loose ball and passed to Tom Dear who ran in for the score. Shelley hit the point after to put the BLRC ahead 16-7. With time winding down the Ravens had a scrum at their own 5m that the BLRC pushed over, 8 man Doug Provost-Smith diving on the ball for the game’s final 5 points.
Tom Dear attacking the defence. Photo credit Pj Carr
The game can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M81MLdr-vSM
Much to work on for the BLRC Prem Reserves. They sit at 4-0 on the season but could have easily lost this game with a few bad bounces or at the same time could have won by 40 with some better decision making. Forward of the match was Fuku Vikilani and back of the match went to Reid Watkins though his halfback partner Nolan Shelley could have been given the honor. The Reserves next see the pitch on Oct 21st at Klahanie Park.
BLRC Premier Men 10 – UBCOB Ravens 16
The UBCOB have retooled their roster and with a batch of new faces are well deserving of 1st place in the Premier League. After watching them for 80 minutes it’s not hard to see why. Their scrum matched up well in the early going and were thoroughly dominant after the BLRC lost scrummagers Rowley, McLaughlin and O’Toole to injury in the first half. The Ravens used the scrum advantage in the 2nd half along with some great defence from their back row to lock up the game and give them their first win over the BLRC since the 2011 Premier Quarter-Finals.
Ben Rowley moving the ball vs UBCOB. Photo credit Pj Carr
The Ravens were the first to move the scoreboard when the BLRC took a penalty in front of the posts about 7 minutes in. Former Thunderbird Adam McQueen doing the kicking for the Ravens made short work of it and the Ravens were in the lead. Minutes later the BLRC were knocking on the door and inching closer to the Ravens try line when disaster struck and Tighthead Prop Ben Rowley would be forced to leave the game with a serious knee injury. Compounding the problem, Craig McLaughlin emerged from the same pile up a little off and was forced to leave the game with concussion symptoms. That’s a costly breakdown. Nevertheless, the BLRC made lemonade from lemons as Ed Swire dove into the corner for a try on the following play. The BLRC were ahead 5-3 but it would be short-lived as Adam McQueen was given another shot at the posts a few minutes later. His kick put the Ravens back in the lead 6-5. That would be the half time score.
Jeke Gotegote emerges from the 4 car pileup unscathed. Photo credit Rain DeGuzman
Adam McQueen would be given another chance to increase the lead shortly thereafter and he made it look easy. The Ravens followed that up with a quick try. UBCOB captain Cully Quirke had made a break but the BLRC had boxed him in. He kicked the ball along the ground and FB Aaron McLelland was the first man on the ball, kicking it into the end zone where he fell on it for 5 points. McQueen added to the lead with 2 more points to put the Ravens ahead 16-5. The BLRC worked their way back into the Ravens end with about 20 minutes to go and Micha Govorchin would get the ball at the Old Boys 22m. Micha rumbled in for a try in the corner to draw a little closer, but that was all she wrote on the score board. The final 15 minutes were back and forth with a few chances on both sides but no more points. Final score 16-10 for the UBCOB Ravens.
Spirited play from both teams. The Ravens 8 man Karl Moran had a big game. He’s a big ball carrier and stood out everywhere. In the Ravens backfield I would give the Back of the Match honors to Adam McQueen for a solid overall game plus his kicking (11 points) put the match out of reach! I’m pretty sure he was 100% on the day.
Mathew Chan breaks a tackle in the UBCOB backfield. Photo credit Rain De Guzman
In the Blue & White jerseys I thought Jeke Gotegote, once again, was deserving of accolades for another solid game. Jeke is a tough nut to crack out there as many a tackler can attest. His defence is also extremely solid in addition to his well-known hard tackling. My Forward of the Match award goes to Ed Swire. The #6 was all over the field and always seemed to come out of pileups with the ball. His try was just icing on the cake. The BLRC had another tough afternoon on the injury front with a few more named to the long term IR list. The BLRC will get a few weeks off now, next taking the pitch at Kalahanie Park on Oct 21st.
The game can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-PiJVf10Ss&t=1204s
Thanks to the BCRRS for the officiating and to the Ravens, Capilanoes and Brit-Lions for making the trip to Burnaby Lake. Lastly, big thanks to the supporters who braved the wind + rain to cheer on and support local rugby!
www.burnabylakerugby.com Many Teams~One Club
Burnaby Split With Bays on Road Trip: Women Lose to CW
by Mike Devlin Sept 23 2017
BLRC Premier Women 22 – Oak Bay Castaway-Wanderers 30
Boarding the ferry and doing the math the BLRC women knew they would be in tough against the Castaway-Wanderers. No matter how many times they counted players they kept coming up one short. Game plans were altered, situations considered and the team was ready to play lean. In reality, there would be an adjustment period which the young & fleet CW team would take advantage of and put Burnaby Lake on their back foot. After surrendering two tries straight up the middle, Burnaby started putting together phases and working the ball methodically up field. Alicia Noger would initiate the Burnaby scoring with the first of her two try performance by finding a gap on the outside and finessing herself through three would-be CW tacklers. Still the numbers game trumped the all-out effort of the lean mean fourteen and CW added two more tries before the half.
At the half, Burnaby made whatever adjustments were available and continued to apply pressure to the Wanderers. Tianna Coutts countered the Castaways attack with the first of her two tries but Burnaby would lose Centre Alya Govorchin forcing Burnaby to play 2 men down. With the game now clearly out of reach, Burnaby skipper Emily Van Gulik mustered her troops to focus on scoring two more tries to steal an unlikely bonus point. With a new challenge in front of them, the Lucky 13 set to work. Tianna Coutts with a short drive kept the goal a reality until Alicia Noger found the endzone at the buzzer to secure the bonus point. Gen Gratton added the convert to bring the final score to 30-22 for CW. Although the effort was heroic throughout the team, a special mention should be made for the eternally youthful Iona Schamberger and the naturally youthful outside backs Jazel Caynap and Hedieh Haj who covered sideline to sideline for most of 80 minutes.
The Premier Women expect a full side to be ready to face Capilano at Burnaby Lake next Saturday.
BLRC Premier Reserve Men 55 – James Bay AA 0
A one sided game. The BLRC were a “little” too big for their counterparts to handle in the contact area and having to commit so many players to the tackle created a lot of space outside for the BLRC backs to run through. There were a few bright spots for the Bays: Their new prop, Liam Murray was outstanding in the scrums and Flyhalf Elliot Johnson made good use of the boot when he had the chance to clear the ball. The BLRC looked strong everywhere with the return of Micha Govorchin adding some extra “oomph” into every tackle. Youngsters Siaki Vikilani, Bryce Worden and Cooper Johnston drove the offence for the forwards.
The backline was a well-oiled machine with SH Reid Watkins and FH Nolan Shelley whipping the ball around in every direction. The backs accounted for all 9 BLRC tries. The try scorers were John McLoughlin (2), Darren McCrory (2), Giuseppe Laudisio (2), Nolan Shelley, Gino Paolella, Brian Murphy. Nolan Shelley added 5 conversions to finish the scoring. A really bright spot was George Van who refereed this game. He was fantastic. He was on the ball as far as managing the players and expertly controlled a game that could have gotten out of hand quickly. We need some up and coming refs and it was great to see one as poised as he was out there.
BLRC Premier Men 24 – James Bay AA 36
A back and forth game that tested the mettle of both teams. I believe that the James Bay starting XV played the whole game and I’m sure are still feeling those 80 minutes today. Kudos to the JBAA front row; Keith, Barker and Van Heyningen for their work in the scrums and reminding the BLRC that reputation only gets you so far. I’m sure the BLRC front row will be out in force this week to work on fixing some glaring mistakes.
The scoring started early with what would become a common theme… Elliot Mitrou kicking the ball through the posts. 5 minutes in, the winger put the home side on the board with 3 points. The next 15 minutes were all BLRC though with the backs showing the firepower that they are capable of. The Burnaby Lake backs were making ground out wide when James Bay ran out of defenders leaving Cole McQueen alone along the touch line. Cole dove over for the try to put the BLRC in the lead. Minutes later the BLRC were set back up around the JBAA 22m and the ball was sent wide from the back of the scrum all the way to Mathew Chan. The winger blasted through the defenders and scored to give the BLRC a 10-3 lead. Mitrou would draw the Bays closer with 2 more penalties before Dan Josok put a little more comfort back in the Burnaby lead. The little known winger scored his 5th try of the season the hard way, running around a defender and then straight arming, slapping away or pushing off 4 defenders on his way over the try line. Mark Higgins hit the convert to give the BLRC a 17-9 lead. James Bay would add a try just before the halftime break through Mike Nieuwenhuysen. The BLRC had notched a few more penalties and James Bay had taken advantage, set up around the 5m. The ball was popped to the hard running centre and he crashed over the line for 5 points. The first half ended 17-14 for the BLRC.
A BLRC penalty at the start of the 2nd half gave James Bay a lineout at the BLRC 5m and the BLRC didn’t have an answer for the driving maul. Blake Van Heyningen will get the credit but it was an 8 man try. Mitrou converted to give JBAA the lead 21-17 lead. The BLRC would take a page from the James Bay playbook in responding. A rare James Bay penalty set the BLRC up with a lineout at the 5m. The maul was on and Ben Rowley would dot down and get the credit. Higgins convert put the BLRC back in front 24-21 but the lead would be short lived. Mitrou tied it up with a penalty kick and then 2 more James Bay try’s put the game out of reach. The first was of the 5m lineout -> driving maul -> Van Heyningen try ->Mitrou convert variety while the 2nd had a bit more flair with the James Bay FB (didn’t catch the name) taking the ball wide and scoring untouched to finish the game.
Lot’s to work on for the BLRC this week I’m sure. I think every player got on the ferry knowing that the game was theirs to win but they just failed to execute. For the past year Head Coach Graham Sims has preached to spin the ball wide and the BLRC have the talent in the backline to put points on anyone from anywhere. This is the best backline I have seen at the club in the past decade! But the team has a tendency to return to the old ways of taking a big forward and smashing the ball straight up field (and repeat) that stifles possibilities and wastes time. Fine if you’re up, coffin if you’re down. It’s a long season this year and that will give the team some time to get confident with and accept the idea that the backs can be the strength rather than their forwards (No offence to the forwards, you’re no slouch either). No player at the BLRC has benefited more from the influence of Coach Sims than Dan Josok who should be getting some attention from scouts (but probably won’t). The Burnaby Mountain grad played with the BLRC as a junior and milled around in the 3rds and 1sts before getting some Premier time last year. He’s a natural athlete who has the speed to burn the best backs in our league and the power to bull through the best tacklers. There was an instance vs James Bay where his only option was to drop the shoulder and run into the defence. By the time Dan stopped driving his legs and took the ball to deck he had made 10 yards after contact with 2 national team players, a Premier league veteran and some other guy whose number I couldn’t see and didn’t recognize hanging off of him. He also tackles way above his weight class and doesn’t let a lot of ball carriers past him.
The first 3 games have been a test with numerous injuries throughout the club combined with a suspension and a weird rash of weddings/funerals and out of character work commitments last Saturday causing havoc with the depth chart but the club still travelled with 38 bodies to MacDonald Park and sent a bunch out to Abbotsford for a run. So there is strength in numbers. I spoke to Club President Simon Smoldon tonight and he said that in 3 games this year the BLRC have now had 31 players take the pitch for the Premier Men. None of them looked out of place to me and that bodes well for the team going forward. From the week 1 starting roster vs UBC, only 7 players were fit to play this weekend, so as the wounds heal and names like Luca, Albornoz, McLaughlin, Vunituraga, O’Meara, Caithness, Reekie and the rest get cleared for duty there will be some interesting roster decisions to be made at what I’m sure will be some heated selection committee meetings.
A big home-stand this week with 4 games at Burnaby Lake. BLRC 2nd div Men vs brit Lions at 1130, Premier Women vs Capilano and Premier Reserve Men vs UBCOB at 1245 and then the Premier Men vs the 1st place Ravens at 230!