Westshore Rugby Report – Wins in Women's Premier and Men's Reserve at Klahanie: Loss in Men's Premier
by Clancy McDonnell
Men’s Premier: WRFC 6 – Capilano 26
The senior men’s team played Capilano at Klahanie Park on Saturday. The VVs fired a couple of warning shots across the bows, but Capilano stayed the course and put points on the board through the game. Competitive in open field play, the set piece and at the breakdown, the Valhallians weren’t out of place in the game so much as out of sorts and unable to execute consistently enough to get over the try-line. While it wasn’t one way traffic for the home side, they took a try from a charge down and then constructed a couple of scores with ball in hand in the second half to open up a good lead.
Without a couple of regular props available, Ricky Bown had his first start at premier level in the front row and acquitted himself well. Others contributed handily, including reserve flanker Kyle White, and the efforts on the field remain genuine and committed (the message looks to have got through about discipline). This result continues a poor run of results for the top Westshore men’s team though, so the group will look to refresh their approach and do the business this coming Saturday against one of the other sides to rejoin the premier level this year when they host Nanaimo.
Men’s Premier Reserve: WRFC 33 – Capilano 0
The second team had a return to the winner’s circle after some frustratingly close losses in recent times. An early score settled the nerves, and a solid 5 minute goal line defensive stand boosted the confidence. A couple of more scores came in the first half, and the lead was extended through the second stanza. The team welcomed back Ryan Waldriff to #8, and he notched two tries. Youngster Tyran Hunt stepped up well into the prop position, while Kyle White ranged well in the midfield and wide channels without neglecting his core flanker duties. In the backs, Isaac Gonevou continues to distribute well and develop his game sense, while winger Tommy Taylor provided, yet again, a proficient kicking option from the tee.
Women’s Premier: WRFC 38 – Capilano 12
The Women’s Premier game saw the Westshore team overcome a new challenge to record a decisive victory. The Capilano team was big and strong, and the Valkyries responded well to the challenge, with co-coach Barbara Mervin effusive about the manner in which the players “tackled ferociously” to set up victory. She was also pleased to note that none of the players on the day qualifies as a capped or carded athlete under BC rules, underlining the depth of skilled players at the club.
McKenzie Push and Chelsey Minter were recognized as players of the game, good reward for two players who’ve been producing all season. Closing out the first half with an 8 zip record puts the ladies in good stead for the back half of the season.
The award for host of the weekend was a tossup between Capilano, who boast the best beer selection of any clubhouse encountered this season, and the Lions Gate Hospital, who provided fairly prompt service to a couple of Westshore guests.
The Westshore men’s teams host Nanaimo this coming Saturday.
Westshore Weekend Report: Losses in Premier to Meraloma; Women Defeat CW
by Clancy McDonnell
Men’s Premier: WRFC 13 – Meraloma 35
The Westshore Velox Valhallians did it tough on Saturday, with the visit to Meraloma not going according to plan. The Premier team looked the goods early on, and scored a good try after exerting pressure. They moved the ball tidily, and the grunts up front were organized and committed. But defensive lapses gifted freebies to the Lomas, and the home side took a lead into half time.
The second half didn’t get any better for the Valhallians. Although they threatened at times, the errors came too frequently to maintain possession and work into the danger zone. Some of the errors were the result of the strong tackling of the home side, whose back row certainly fronted up. Meraloma worked through to the end of the game and took a decisive victory.
It’s not complete gloom and doom. The Westshore scrum was resoundingly strong, and the lineout functioned well. The shape that the VVs are playing with was evident throughout the game, and more to the point it produces gains. But against a side that will take its chances, you need to make your sticks.
Men’s Reserve: WRFC 21 – Meraloma 24
The Premier Reserve game also went to the home side, who opened with a couple of early tries. Westshore couldn’t quite get their head in the game, choosing for much of the first half to assist the referee rather than make tackles and score tries. Some clarity of thought following the break saw them score two tries in quick succession, but they couldn’t hold the focus. The home side was hungry and aggressive in defense and did enough to win by three points.
Women’s Premier: WRFC 31 – OBCW 28
Back on the Island, the Valkyries won a close game against the Oak Bay Castaway Wanderers. The home side have welcomed back their UVIC athletes, and gave the Valkyries a run for their money, with the game being decided by a decisive try with three minutes left in the game.
The Valkyries, like most teams mid-November, are missing a number of injured players, and also are proud to have Paige Farries and Emily Belchos away representing Canada. This presents a tremendous opportunity for developing athletes to start games and play 80 minutes at a high level. New recruit Sasha Guedes, fresh from the UVIC program, was recognized as best back on her debut. Barbara Mervin was positively gushing, saying that the “U20 Canada scrum half will definitely be one to watch”. There are also some veterans worthy of mention for Saturday’s game – captain Meghan Howat, strong ball carrying tight-five forward Chelsey Minter, and accurate line-out throwing Brittany Sims.
The mighty 3rd XV (provincial champs, thank you very much) beat the UVIC Jutes in Gordon Head (WRFC 32 – UVIC Saxons 27). The 2nd Div Women played Meadow Ridge away, but injuries without reserves led to forfeit of the match. In a classic old school move, the home side lent a few players and the show went on. U18 Boys: WRFC 39 – JBAA 19. U18 Girls: 7 Westshore girls played on a composite South Island team that beat the North Island.
Performance of the weekend was Jason Gagnier’s two try effort from #8 on the Premier Reserve team that put them back in the hunt. Statistic of the day is that the Valkyries have now won 22 games straight. Wowee.
Coming up there is a triple header, with the the senior Men and Women playing this Saturday at Klahanie Park against Capilano.
Westshore Women Defeat Burnaby; Men Lose in Premier and Reserve Contests
by Clancy McDonnell
Men’s Premier: BLRC 38 – WRFC 8
Men’s Reserve: BLRC 35 – WRFC 15
Women’s Premier: WRFC 88 – BLRC 5
Westshore’s Velox Valhallians put in a medium performance at Burnaby Lake on the weekend. After a somewhat encouraging effort in a loss to Seattle the week before, where they came back to life for the final 25 minutes and ran it close, this was a disappointing regression. Their inability to meet the referee’s standards was a prime culprit, with the visitors getting themselves four or five yellow cards. The home side played well, shifting the ball accurately, using the full width of the field, and scoring a number of entertaining tries.
It’s not all bad news, with several players continuing their good form. Foster Dewitt again carried strongly and worked the game plan. Openside break-away Nikai Penny returned after a couple of weeks away and brought energy and starch into the defence. Clay Panga, having returned to the number 12 jersey he first wore for the club in 2006, was notable for his communication and agile work through traffic.
The Valhallians approach the bye weekend with a couple of prime work-ons. Discipline is obviously at the forefront, and defensive pattern is another. As well, they welcome the Regional Development Session being put on by the BC Rugby Union, with Ander Monro providing specialist kicking coaching on Wednesday the 8th at Westshore.
The Premier Reserve game was in the balance for the first half, but ultimately the game got away from Westshore. Burnaby Lake had a slight edge in most facets of the game, but where they won it was in the contact point. A big centre led the way here, repeatedly holding his feet in contact and busting another few metres. Westshore may rue their tackle technique and probably their inability to sustain possession and deliver on the game plan.
Sunnier news for the club came with the Women’s Premier team dominating. With their own injuries and miscellaneous absences, the Valkyries ran up a snooker score against their overwhelmed opponents. The factors contributing to the extraordinary success of this team are myriad, and didn’t happen overnight. One of the most remarkable of these is the team’s consistency. Burnaby Lake has been one of their greatest and strongest foes over the years, but this year (with respect) they are struggling in the Win/Loss columns. The Valkyries never seem to have a bad game, let alone a poor season.
The talent and work ethic of some of the older heads (read: M. Donaldson, B. Mervin, S. Levson etc.) has been well celebrated. Young talent emerges again though, with youngster Rori ‘CJ’ Wood impressing in her second season of senior rugby. The second-rower scored two tries on the weekend, and is in the Canadian U18 program. You know succession planning is going well when it seems to the casual observer as though it takes care of itself.
Burnaby Lake were good hosts. The clubhouse was warm and welcoming after a freezing day on the pitch, chilli that would challenge Chad Vath’s Super Bowl offerings warmed the belly, while a couple of wobbly pops helped ease the pain for the men. Curiously, there is a game scheduled for Women’s 2nd Division on Remembrance Day, while the rest of the club has the weekend off. On Saturday, 18th November the senior men are away to Meraloma, while the Premier Women are slated to venture behind the Tweed Curtain to take on the Oak Bay Castaway Wanderers.