Burnaby Men's Premier Team Claim Bonus Point Win Over Lomas: Div 2 Defeat SFU; Reserve Team Lose to Lomas
by Mike Devlin
What a day for rugby! Sun = shining. Weather = sweet. These types of days happen far too infrequently during our winter season so the fans in attendance took full advantage of the cold beers on offer and it made for an overall jovial atmosphere for most of the day. Big thanks to the players, fans and supporters of the BLRC, SFU and the Lomas for coming out and taking in some club rugby!
There has been a noticeable + familiar buzz around the Men’s program in the past few weeks as the Men have taken it upon themselves to “right the ship” as far as holding themselves to a certain culture + ethic. Gone are the days that creeped in recently of lackadaisical effort on Tuesday or Thursday or missed sessions. Here are the days of weekly goal setting and accountability to you team. The vibe is reminiscent of years gone by when the BLRC grew from a club on the verge of not existing anymore to becoming one of Canada’s Premier rugby clubs. Big thanks to Mike Gough, Mike O’Toole + Mathew Chan amongst others for spearheading this and holding your team mates accountable.
I had been away for a few weeks and was very happy to see the makeup of the BLRC rosters this week. A young Premier team put on a 4 try performance in taking down a scrappy Loma team. The Premier Reserves overcame a rash of late-week injuries, sicknesses and some work changes that saw them losing players to the doctor as well as to the Premier team as late as 11:45 on Saturday morning, and though they lost, they showed heart + came back in the final 10 minutes after being soundly beaten most of the game and almost pulled off the win, falling just one point short. The 2nd Div Men (my favourite team) put out a squad made up almost fully of BLRC junior-grads and ran away with a victory over their cross town opposition.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the day that young Mate McLeod-Genest put in. Mate started the 2nd Div Men game and broke his nose about 15 minutes into the game. While getting some sideline rhinoplasty done by trainer Gio Lam, the Premier Reserve team found out that a winger was not cleared from work to make their game. Mate peeled off the blood soaked jersey and went to join the Reserves warm up. Mate then played 70 minutes of that game and performed so well that he was asked by the Premier Coach to bench for the Prems. Mate entered the game in the 2nd half and performed admirably, getting stuck in on D and carrying the ball a few times. Congrats Mate McLeod-Genest. Not many people can say that they played in all 3 games on a Saturday!
BLRC 2nd Div Men 49 – SFU 7
The opening game started fast with Ben McIvor hitting a penalty kick 3 and a half minutes in, and the BLRC never looked back. The BLRC were up 25-7 at the half led by Ben McIvor who would finish the game with 17 points. Mike Misky had a great game as well, playing out of position at Flyhalf but controlling the backline well! The veteran centre combo of Francois Botes and Dan Griffiths looked good as they both run hard lines and were difficult for the SFU defence to bring down. In the pack, ageless Steve Sawchuk held down the fort in the front row along with Big Denis Pavlovic. Denis was pulled at the half to spare up and Kayonee Genest came in to take over. Kayonee has been a hooker for the BLRC since he was U16, but is making the switch to prop and he scrummaged really well! Vishaal Kumar saw his first action since tearing his knee up last fall and he hasn’t missed a beat, punishing ball carriers and moving the ball when needed. Vish teamed up with another former BLRC junior in the back row making his first start in a long time, Chayanne Khodabandeh who showed why he was once one of the clubs top juniors. Chayanne was solid on defence and in the lineouts while taking on the SFU defenders with the ball in hand and making some big runs that set up try’s for his team mates. The 2nds face a sterner test this weekend when they host Langley. It has been a while since the 2 clubs played each other at any level so the BLRC are looking forward to hosting them.
BLRC Scorers: Try’s: Ben McIvor, Mike Misky, Paul Murphy, Haydn Melin, Francois Botes, Ryan Sangara, Jack Brady Converts: McIvor (4) Penalties: McIvor (2)
The full game can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/V_9vpMbgI3E
BLRC Premier Reserve Men 17 – Meraloma RFC 18
A heart breaking loss for the Reserves only because they roared back to life with 10 minutes left to score 14 points. Had the game lasted only 70 minutes most in attendance would have agreed that the team deserved to lose by 15 points. The Meraloma’s dominated everything but the scrums for the better part of the game. Their centres came up fast and choked off the dangerous back line that the BLRC had fielded on Saturday. The BLRC weren’t able to adjust and it seemed to cause a panic that rippled through the team for 70 minutes.
Nolan Shelley adds 2 points.
The first half was a quiet one with the Meraloma #12 hitting 2 penalties and Nolan Shelley notching one for the home side. Hard defence from both teams caused ball carriers to take their eyes off the pass too early and many overlaps were wasted by both teams as the knock-ons piled up. Emile Wilson had a strong game for the Lomas on the wing and was rewarded with a try for his efforts in the 2nd half. A Meraloma forward also breached the defence and scored in the 2nd half.
Mate McLeod-Genest makes a break down the wing
One convert put the visitors ahead 18-3 at the 70 minute mark before Chris Campbell threw himself in front of a Loma clearing kick which bounced into the end zone. Chris fell on it and Nolan Shelley made the convert to breathe life back into the BLRC. 18-10. The Lomas wisely kicked deep and the BLRC would have to work the ball back 70 yards in order to keep the game alive. The forwards were the catalyst and soon Gino Paolella found himself breaking the Loma line on his way in for a try. Shelley’s convert made it a one point game with only a minute to play. The BLRC retained the ball on the kickoff and strung a few phases together but the comeback would be undone by a knock-on. The Lomas were able to control the ball through their forwards until time ran out.
Cooper Johnston wins the lineout
Congrats to the Meralomas on the win, they have added a ton of new players and quite a few of them have some rugby talent! Their #12 (who I think was their Flyhalf) gave the BLRC defenders fits all game with his hard runs and rugby IQ. The “almost 30” Loma veteran, Scott McGinley, made an impact when he came on in the 2nd half, taking charge of the pack and helping to close out the game for his team.
The full game can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/Yb0oB-TX-TA
BLRC Premier Men 25 – Meraloma RFC 7
A tough contest on the pitch. By games end, the BLRC did what was needed to secure a bonus point in the win. Speaking to one of the BLRC team leaders afterwards, I found out that they achieved many of their team’s goals this week including holding their opposition to one try. I hope that the club can keep setting their goals and working towards achieving them. A wise man once told me that you have to “plan your work and then work your plan” in order to succeed at life, I’m sure that also applies to rugby.
Sam Hayward gets wrapped up
Much of the games early going was a territorial battle with the kickers lofting high balls into the opposite end and trying to trap their opposition, but more often than not the ball was quickly returned in a game of aerial ping pong. The BLRC were steadily gaining ground though and found themselves camped in the Loma end but unable to find that final pass to give them a try. Eventually the BLRC caught a break and Neil MacLaine made the Lomas pay for the penalty with 3 points. At the 32 minute mark, the BLRC found themselves on a penalty advantage inside the Loma 22m and Flyhalf Jack Caithness decided to try something fancy, hoofing a high ball across the park to the 6’4 Cole McQueen who outjumped his opposite and stiff arming another defender on his way over the try line. The convert was BLOCKED though as the Lomas showed why you should always charge down the convert and also why it’s ok to back up and give yourself some room for error when kicking. 8-0 for the BLRC which is how the half would end.
Fuku Vikilani finds a hole in Loma defence
The first points in the 2nd half would go to Burnaby Lake when they were awarded an attacking scrum inside the Loma 22m. The backs were split and the hard charging Sam Hayward was the first receiver, taking the ball at pace over the try line out wide. Convert was just short so the score sat 13-0 for a bit. The Lomas would get on the board shortly though after a BLRC penalty at their own 5m allowed the Lomas a heads up quick tap which they scored on. Brock Staller hit the convert to make the score 13-7 with about 20 minutes left to play.
Cole McQueen fends a tackler on his way to a try
In spite of the Loma try and the BLRC being down a man for the better part of the game, the BLRC were firmly in control by this point and were marching back into scoring territory. Camped out at the Meraloma 5m, they were awarded a scrum and started pushing, moving the Lomas backwards until Jack Caithness took off towards the try line. Mark Higgins hit him with a flat pass just a few feet from the try line and Jack dove over for a try. MacLaine’s convert put the home side up 20-7. Finally with only a few minutes remaining, the BLRC had another scrum inside the Meraloma 22m. The BLRC backs were lined up in what appeared to be the I formation (I hadn’t seen this playbook before). And after a few passes the ball was in the hands of another Premier debutant John McLoughlin. Johnny Flash found a gap and raced in for the BLRC’s 4th and final try of the game.
Andrew Porter surprised to be fixing + giving
Final score: 25-7
The game can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/KUn__j4-6Fk
Worden, Govorchin & O’Toole get set for a shorthanded scrum
If you were a BLRC fan there was a ton of positives to be had from Saturday. In spite of DOZENS of injuries and/or unavailability the Men’s program pulled off 3 games with spares and everyone got a chance to play some meaningful rugby. The amount of young players that the club put on the field was great to see. President Simon Smoldon is always touting his “25 under 25”… a group of young players, most of whom came through the junior program or local schools, who he constantly refers to as the future of the club. Almost all of them played on Saturday…and played well. Amongst others, the 2 Genest boys (Mate + Kayonee) were outstanding. Nolan Shelley, Dan Josok + Bryce Worden all had solid games. O’Toole, Solis, Khodabandeh + Johnston put in tough performances in the forwards. Gino Paolella, Vishaal Kumar + Siaki Vikilani all put out man of the match performances. The future looks bright from the BLRC sideline.
This Saturday the club has 4 home fixtures. The 2nd Div Men host Langley RFC at 11:15, The Premier Reserve Men and Premier Women take on Westshore RFC at 12:45 and the Premier Men also host Westshore at 2:30.