Surrey Beavers - October 2017

October 26 2017

Surrey Beavers

Wet Weather Dampens Hosting Opportunity for Beavers: Draw and Loss on the Road


A dreary and wet week turned into a rather unproductive Saturday for the Surrey rugby club. Although the club was optimistic they could get all three of their scheduled games off on Saturday it turned out only the Division 2 men and women would take the field.

The 1st Div men had a bye week and Richmond RFC requested the 3rd Div game be postponed due to their club heading up to Kelowna for a U23 match. Hosting duties were also cancelled for the club as the City of Surrey deemed the incoming onslaught of rain would wreak havoc on the city’s grass fields. Funny story was that the city believed it was too wet to play rugby on Saturday but still deemed it excellent weather conditions on Friday to cut the field’s grass this late in October; interesting logic to say the least. Fortunately Burnaby stepped up and said they’d be happy to host the Beavers for an 11:30 AM kick off at Burnaby Lake for the Div 2 men’s game and the Scribes happy to do the same in East Vancouver for the women. A wet and blustery day had the majority of the Beaver faithful stay at home and warm as the club’s teams headed out of Surrey to play some 'wet' coast rugby!

SBAA 2nd Division Women – Loss 39-0

Details are scarce on this game but if interested in a good read the Scribes RFC have a write up on their website. Good to see the Scribes are living up to their club reputation and writing match reports! The Beavers headed to East Van on a very wet, and windy day short on a few ladies and though the game got off the Beavers had little support off the bench. Injuries appeared to have added up too and the ladies had a tough go against a strong Div 2 side away from home. The women get a rest week and wait to take on Westshore on November 4th at Sullivan Heights. Hopefully the women will have a bounce back game following this tough loss.

SBAA 2nd Division Men – Tie 14-14

With the recent downpour in the Lower Mainland, Surrey’s field was closed and the Div 2 game was moved to Burnaby’s field. With the field change also a time change, but the Beavers didn’t mind because they were just happy to get the game off. The Beavers, having never faced a Division 2 Burnaby side before or at least in the club’s most recent history, the boys were unsure exactly what to expect come game time. What they did know is Burnaby has a ton of depth within their ranks and should expect a solid Div 2 side. With the wet field conditions being the big equalizer on the day, it was best to stick to a forward dominant game with heavy centre crashes, limiting the runs out wide that the 2nd Div backs were more often doing. Much of the game was spent back and forth across the field with well executed kick counters from the Beavers’ back 3.

Surrey seemed to be doing well keeping the pressure on the Burnaby side early on, but the visitors continuously lost momentum from too many handling errors. It’s amazing how quickly a high quality game ball can be comparable to a wet bar of soap in very wet conditions like on Saturday. The first score came around 20 minutes when a successful attacking lineout led to a wide ball touched down by winger Jareed Samuel. Most of the points in the game however came from the Beavs' fly half Brandon Gatto, who continues to improve with his kicks for points and was 3/3 on penalty kicks. Momentum seemed to shift back and forth as the Beaver forwards were dominating in the loose. However, Burnaby Lake would constantly shift the momentum in their favor with well executed counter attacks and were successful with a late try to put them ahead.

After a full wet 80 minutes, the score came out to an even 14-14 draw. Overall this game had two solid teams go at it, but the weather put a damper on what could have been a very high quality game. Both teams had a solid pack and flyers out wide, but the ball struggled to be used effectively all the way across the field. Hopefully the weather that was had on Saturday will not be an every weekend event moving forward so the boys can enjoy a much more expansive style of rugby. Many thanks to Burnaby for hosting the match at their field and for the post-game social after the game.

Tries: Jareed Samuel (1)
Penalty Kicks: Brandon Gatto (3)

Following the matches everyone did their best to make it back to Cloverdale later that night to celebrate Roktoberfest at the Shannon Hall. Another awesome club function put on by the Beavers had two rocking bands battle it out for legendary status with the club. Word is the true winner of the night was the audience and the battle of the bands ended in a draw as both bands put on a fantastic show.
Surrey Division 1 and 2 men this Saturday head down south for a classic city derby match against Bayside RFC. The 2nd Division men head up the Sea to Sky and visit the Axemen in Squamish. This Saturday looks to be another great day for rugby!

Surrey Complete Successful Ruck for the Cure Day: Double Wins Over Abbotsford and Donation to Canadian Cancer Society

October 18 2017

The Annual Ruck for the Cure day was set for Saturday October 14, and it was great to see another well organized event. With an overcast day it was the perfect setting for some fall rugby, and the Beavers took no chances and tent city was set up beside the field just in case the clouds decided to let loose.

With the smell of the BBQ cooking, refreshments available, donuts and cookies for sale by donation, and plenty of rugby action set to take place all day long it was bound to be a great day for the club. As club members made their way to the field it was great to see the Canadian Blood Bank with their tent set up and players getting the opportunity to get swabbed to see if they were good candidates for stem cell donations. The Beavers would love to see all rugby clubs in BC to get in touch with their local Canadian Blood Bank and see if they could set up a date with their club's players to get swabbed too. With the field beautifully lined in pink spray and the home sideline filled with fans the day was set up to be a big one!

SBAA 2nd Division Women – Win 26-24

Saturday was a great day for the Surrey Beavers' women. The ladies started the club day off with a nice 26-24 win over Langley Rugby Club. Kiran Hothi scored 2 tries followed by Kinza Butters and Jaylen Walhstra each putting one in and Cody Lee kicked 3 converts. Both teams played exceptionally.

Tries: Kiran Hothi (2) Kinza Butters (1) Jaylen Walhstra (1)
Converts: Cody Lee (3)

SBAA 3rd Division Men – Loss 22-5

The Thirsty Thirds took the field on Saturday morning prepped to take on a strong Meraloma side. With some changes in the starting lineup the 3rd Div side was looking for anyway to get some more points on the board. Unfortunately, this seems to be the issue for the 3rds this season so far, the lack of scoring has effectively made it challenging to stay competitive in their matches. Again on Saturday the men showed glimpses of good phase play with the ball but lacked the finish needed to get points on the board. After the Lomas scored in the far corner in the starting 10 minutes there was plenty of exciting defensive action in the Beavers’ side of half.

The Beavers defended well against a very good Lomas backline. The back row led by example and made some cracking hits on the Lomas’ 10 and his centers. Darian Archer led the charge and made plenty of big hits. But solid tackling was not enough for the Beavers who were unsuccessful on getting much done offensively. Shane Ram at 10 struggled to find good opportunity to give ball out wide and decided on many occasions to grind his way through the Lomas' defensive line. The forward pack did their best pounding the ball up the field but wasted plenty of energy playing tight ball in the midfield. Multiple times the 3rds were able to get 2-3 phases of good play together but struggled to complete long stretches of play in the offensive zone. Quickly the Lomas would take the play back into the Beavers' side of half and put the pressure back on the homeside. Although the Beavers tried their best they just couldn’t cross over the try-line enough to stay in the game. It was another tough day on the field against a solid 3rd Div side. Full credit to the Lomas who all played very well in the game. It was a very competitive game and the club hopes the Lomas enjoyed the burgers and refreshments on the sideline after the game. Well done to all the 3rds that played, and clearly the competition in the 3rd Div comp this season is very strong.

The Div 3 boys look to right the ship this Saturday staying at home and facing Richmond RFC, and it promises to be another great Div 3 matchup.

Tries: Kyle Johnson (1)

SBAA 2nd Division Men – Win 45-12

The 2nd Div men took the field determined to keep their quality start to the fall season going. The 1st half Abby came out very strong on the attack, the visitors were playing hard up physical rugby with the Beavs, and the boys were forced into some tight situations inside their 22 meter but managed to keep them at bay with some solid tackling and speed defence. They contested well in the line outs but hooker Dylan Vermette’s throws were on point. The first score came from outside the 22 meter when the Beavs did a 5 man lineout. Loose forward Steve Friesen ran a hard line and offloaded to 2nd Rower Cam McMurchy who took the ball at full pace untouched over the line. Following McMurchy’s score the Beavers went back on the attack with a ‘back line’ of forwards, and skipper Iain Small offloaded the ball to Aaron Viola through the gap and 'Cheese' rumbled the ball in for the try 10 meters out.

The boys kept it going with McMurchy not done yet as he decided to do the exact same thing from slightly further out and fiercely ran the ball in for a try. And the last score of the half came from Andrew McIntyre from about 30 meters out, another offload from Small to McIntyre had him through the gap; he fended off one defender and then raced the fullback over the line getting the try.

The 2nd half was much more of the same but winger Wes Lyons try stood out as it was a great kick and chase with the Abby winger losing sight of the ball and Wes jumping up and taking it from midfield over the goal line for the try. The back 3 weren't finished yet as full back Marcus Tam’s try was another beauty that had him make a deep kick that he chased down with the opposite fullback hot in pursuit, and Marcus fortunately won the race and got a diving hand on the ball just before it rolled out of the back of the end zone. Some great individual efforts by the back 3 on the day.

Start to finish the game was a heavy hitting affair. Dominant runs from the loose forwards freed up space for the backs to move around with ease in the 2nd half. The pack was pushed around by a far more dominant Abby scrum, but what the home side lacked in size from the tight 5, was made up for with a dynamic and mobile pack. Stand-off Brandon Gatto had another great game with great ball distribution and clutch kicking out of his own end. Man of the match honours went to Cam McMurchy for the forwards with 2 tries, and Wes Lyons in the backs with 1 try to his credit and many momentum shifting counters when they were pressing in the Beavers’ end of half.

Next Saturday the Beavers take on the Burnaby Lake RFC in Division 2, this being the first time this season the Beavs have had the opportunity to play Burnaby Lake at this level.

Tries: Aaron Viola (1) Andrew McIntyre (1) Brandon Gatto (1) Wes Lyons (1) Marcus Tam (1) Cam McMurchy (2)
Converts: Brandon Gatto (5)

SBAA 1st Division Men – Win 48-24

Another date against Abbotsford RFC for the Beavers 1st Div side that knew the visiting team was going to look a lot different than the squad that took the field in September at Ex Park. Abbotsford appeared to have most of their star players back in the lineup with more size in their scrum and more speed and skill in their backs. With Abby’s veteran players back in action the Beavers were ready for a great matchup.

The home side looked great as they came out of the player’s shed representing the club in their cancer awareness jerseys. Some well executed play by the visitors started the game off who were successful on stealing a kickoff reception and keeping the pressure on in the Beavers’ side of half. The Beavs were slowly worked back to their goal line by Abbotsford who finally got a line out within the Beavers' 10 meter and drove in a maul for the first score. Convinced that this was not how the game was going to go the Beavers did not give in after Abby’s quick score and worked hard to get back in Abby’s side of half.

About 10 minutes in under a pressured defensive lineout the Beavers stole an overthrown ball and worked it quickly into a wide out attack that had a couple quick phases turn into a try ran in by star 10 Jamie Beaton. With the convert good the boys took the lead 7-5 not losing the lead from there on out. An unfortunate injury to one of Abby’s loose forwards gave the Beavers a bit of an edge in the scrums but all in all they were very well contested both ways. With the new scrum rules implemented in September it seems week by week scrummaging has become more contested as teams adjust to the new scrum laws. The lineouts were not too effective on Saturday for the home side which was disappointing considering the boys usually set up strong attack off of this. However the Beavers capitalized on any attack they had and were quick to get the ball out wide.

Big 2nd rowers Matt Bose and fan favorite Trevor Sear were often set up out wide against smaller backs and did not struggle knocking down defenders. Rucks were well controlled by the Beavers and turned over ball was scarce for both sides. A great kicking match was had on a dry day with each team testing the opposing back 3 and seeing what they could offer on counter attack. Both teams matched up very nicely in the back 3 and there was some fantastic moments watching the elusive wingers and fullbacks on both the Beavers and Abby duel it out for supremacy. With a fantastic crowd supporting the Beavers they did not disappoint and regardless of the fierce competition on the field the Beavs found ways to score. Up 24-5 at half the men were executing well and felt they could keep it up in the 2nd half.

The 2nd half the boys found themselves into penalty trouble. Specifically 2nd rower Trevor Sear who tackled an Abby player before getting back 10 meters. Abby seeing Surrey now down some meat in the scrum took the scrum option on the 5 meter and drove in a try with the home side short a player in the pack. Not happy about being driven over their line the men decided to get back to scoring and ended up getting 2 short man tries in the span of 8 minutes. The 2nd try being a beauty with a picked off ball by the freshly subbed in back James Bailey who gave a great pop pass to a streaking Giuseppe Lagrutta running a support line and being greatly rewarded. It was an excellent response to getting a card and gave the team tons of confidence on the field and they decided to play a little looser with the ball.

It was quality rugby for the spectators as the Beavers worked to make cheeky passes that created highlight reel plays. When the Beavers are playing this type of rugby it is really clear to everyone that the players are really enjoying themselves out on the field. The Beavers worked extra hard to get every player wearing a sponsorship jersey out onto the field and with a large enough lead the Beavers were able to do so. As the subs rolled in Abby got some opportunities of their own and put some scores down to make it a respectable game. However it would be Surrey that would finish off the game with a sweetly placed kick getting collected by winger Riley Nagy who flew by a couple Abby defenders to place down the final try of the game. The whistle blew after the convert and the boys all had smiles while wearing their flashy pink jerseys.

Thank you Abbotsford for an excellent game and there is no question Abby will be one of the top teams in the competition this year, solid backs and a solid pack have this club set up for success this season.

Tries: Giuseppe Lagrutta (1) Jamie Beaton (1) Clay Ross (3) Aaron Martin (1) Riley Nagy (1)
Converts: Jamie Beaton (5)
Penalty Kicks: Jamie Beaton (1)

Following the matches at the field all the players from the day's games made their way back to the Beaverlodge to come together and celebrate the successes of the day on the field and helped raised much needed money for the cancer awareness fundraiser. After an excellent feed and boat races done for the man of the matches it was all business with the jersey auction. Short on some of the old boys there was ample opportunity for the younger Beavers to claim a jersey without worrying about someone out bidding them with their old age pension.

BBQ professional Boots had the honors of auctioning the jersey set off that night and although it took him a while to learn how to speak into the microphone and not to yell in it he did a wonderful job. Over $12,000 was raised just on the auctioning of the jerseys. With the silent auction items all sold and all the other fundraising done that day it all easily tallied up to well over $15,000! Another successful Ruck for the Cure for the Surrey rugby club, and a special thank you to Canadian Cancer Society volunteers that came out to support the cause.

The following morning 40 plus club members headed to the Canadian Blood Bank to donate blood on their Sunday, and everyone who is part of the Surrey Beavers should be very proud what their club achieved this last weekend. Well done to everyone who participated in the weekend’s events.

Pemberton Holmes
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