Westshore Split Matches With CW: Wins in Women's Premier and Men's Reserve; Losses in Men's Premier and 3rd Div
by Clancy McDonnell
Men’s Premier: OBCW 50 – WRFC 7
Men’s Reserve Grade: WRFC 20 – OBCW 17
Women’s Premier: WRFC 103 – OBCW 5
Men’s 3rd Division: OBCW 28 – WRFC 22
Westshore RFC travelled to Windsor Park for a quadruple header against the Oak Bay Castaway Wanderers on the weekend. The clubs split the cookies evenly, with the home team winning the Premier Men’s and 3rd Division games and the visitors victorious in the Premier Women’s and Men’s Reserve grade.
Coming off an encouraging opening few weeks in which they beat UVIC narrowly and then Nanaimo handsomely, the Valhallians went in to their sternest test so far, and were delivered a few truths by the organized and sharp-looking home team.
Personnel played a big part in the game – an early yellow card was followed almost immediately by a head injury to an experienced prop, and shortly thereafter a rib injury to a front row newbie. Westshore’s plans were scuppered, with the pain exacerbated by another yellow card in the second half. CW exploited the situation well, scoring tries on both occasions the Valhallians were down to 14 men. The hosts also had the run of the set piece, with a dominant scrum and some luck due to a misfiring visiting lineout.
CW built their lead early and steadily accrued points. Although there were glimpses of shape and incision from Westshore, medium decision making and sloppy dropped ball led to an inability to maintain possession or capitalize on territory gains. The final score of 50-7 leaves Westshore with no confusion as to the accuracy and discipline required to compete in the upper echelon of the league.
Reserve grade was a better hunting ground for Westshore, with the visitors taking a closely fought 20-17 victory. CW nosed ahead at times, but Westshore went into the final 15 minutes up by a penalty, and constructed a successful, tense goal line stand as the home side threw the kitchen sink at them. A wobbly kick concluded the match, to the delight of the exhausted defenders.
It’s an odd mix, in a way, to have the top teams so lopsided while the second teams were so evenly matched. It speaks to a decent depth for Westshore in the broad sense, but also an acute issue at prop whereby Jay Jimmo (at 40-something years young) was required to lumber around for 80 minutes in reserve grade and then 60 minutes in the top team.
The Valkyries, meanwhile, put on a masterclass in the Premier Women’s game against what we gather is a CW team in regrowth phase. They’re good to watch when they’re in this sort of form. The sturdy types ran straight, and complemented that with an excellent offload game. Swervy and swift running by the outside backs, who know how to sniff out and exploit space, opened up the opposition repeatedly. To say it was one way traffic is an understatement.
Notable performances came from Paige Farries, who hit the line with unstoppable pace, and Randi Hunter, who kicked assuredly to a tally of over 20 points before handing over the tee to a teammate. A blowout score-line sometimes leads teams to play without purpose, in a way, but the Valkyries stayed mindful, keeping their shape despite the tiring defence.
The day was rounded out with a solid hosting session at the CW clubhouse, with Westshore looking forward to returning the favour in the second half. The sight of the day was probably watching Lunk chuckle as he explained why propping ain’t easy.
With byes scheduled for Thanksgiving, Westshore men prepare for UBC away, and the women will host Seattle on October 14th.