Ravens Roll On to Defeat Nanaimo: Complete Regular Season with Road Trip to Seattle
by Peter MacDonald
This BC Premier League season has been ambitious to say the least, twenty games with lots of travel and expense. But no club needed more commitment and had more travel than Nanaimo. With no cross town clubs to compete with, every away game for Nanaimo involved a full day. The BCRU welcomed all comers and Nanaimo chose to step up and test itself. With wins over James Bay, Caps and Seattle and scoring 20 points per game they clearly deserved their spot. This Saturday was their last game and although they were depleted they played some attractive rugby despite the score and were good company throughout.
The heavy downpour in the morning soaked the Jericho field but it stood up well and allowed open, running rugby. The Ravens took advantage and, as in the recent weeks, were too much for the opposition. With seven of the eight games since Christmas at Jericho the Ravens’ travel was behind them and they have settled in and gotten stronger. Whether they are in a bubble of late having not been tested since the U Vic game we’ll soon find out.
Notable on this day were winger Karsten Leitner with a hat trick fashioned through some powerful running often cutting back and breaking tackles on his way in. Jordan Sandover-Best was lively at scrum half neatly breaking from a ruck at midfield on one occasion and weaving through defenders for a 50 metre try. Adam McQueen showed some speed picking up an errant pass and outrunning the pursuit for a 70 metre try. Front rowers Alex Mascott and Paul Ahn and lock Kiernan Collie were big contributors in the loose and flanker Simone Etheve returned from injury and resumed his tackling clinic. Inside centre Ben Grant was matched up against Nanaimo’s Brad Marshall in a battle of high quality veterans. Marshall featured a bosh, left arm fend and back of the right hand soft pass that showed his skill but Grant contained him while distributing wide for the Ravens’ outside backs to fire off.
Nanaimo lock Kiko Haliliku led their pack and Kiwis Sam Fowler and Matt Poole at #s 9 and 10 were as skillful as any in the league. The Nanaimo backs were keen to attack and move the ball all day but the odd error cropped up and the Ravens had much of the ball. Injuries to two Nanaimo front rowers didn’t help.
It is now off to Seattle to wind up the regular season before a home playoff date, April 28.