Four Burnaby Teams Through to the Semi-Finals: Match Reports from Quarter-Finals
by Mike Devlin
BCRU 2nd Division Men Quarterfinal
BLRC 49 – Langley RFC 21
A great game that showed the heart of the Langley club and its players. The BLRC were in the driver’s seat most of the game but every time you thought they (Langley) would pack it in, they came back harder. Langley ran a very good basic game. Straight lines and hard hitting which can be very successful at this level. Langley did it well but got beat a bit in the set pieces and mauls by the execution of the BLRC forwards and the speed of the BLRC back 3 when running wide.
Mathew Chan scored 4 try’s on Saturday – photo by Pj Carr
Flanker Matt Chan was the game MVP for Burnaby Lake In addition to some stellar defence, he scored the game’s opening points from the back of a BLRC maul as it went over the Langley try line. 2 minutes later Haydn Melin finished off a big run by Barry Bonell for 5 more points. 10-0 with only 5 minutes gone. The Langley #10 would get 3 back before the BLRC scored again from a set piece that had Barry Bonell making a long break through the centres before tossing the ball to Jarett Richardson who scored + converted. At 16 minutes Mathew Chan set up Haydn Melin’s 2nd try when he made a 30 yard break down the short side of the pitch and sky hooked a pass to Melin who took it in for the score. 22-3 for the BLRC with 17 ½ minutes gone. This was one of the times where you figured that Langley had thrown in the towel, but it hadn’t changed their resolve or belief in themselves one bit. They came right back out firing and pushed Burnaby Lake back into their own end. The BLRC received an offside penalty and it allowed the Langley #10 another chance to add 3 points which he did. Langley followed that up with another foray into BLRC territory and their 8-man scored. #10 added 2 points and the score now sat at 22-13 with 5 minutes left to go in the half. On the restart the BLRC worked the ball back inside the Langley 22m and Mathew Chan would, again, get the BLRC back on the board. Harold Chiffoleau quick tapped a penalty and popped the ball to the hard charging Chan who broke 2 tackles on his way in for a try! 27 -13 for the BLRC at the break.
The Premier Women’s game kicked off at the same time as the 2nd half of this one so I missed some of the play by play, but Langley’s #10 opened the half with 3 points. BLRC’s Jarett Richardson scored next off a Langley turnover. Mathew Chan followed that up with 2 more try’s (kid had a stormer!!) with Melin converting on one of them. Langley scored an unconverted try and then Haydn Melin added a final try to finish the game. Final score: BLRC 49 – Langley 21.
Mathew Chan was hands down the man of the match. Chan scored 4 try’s and set up a few others on long runs. In the backs I though Haydn Melin got the nod for back MVP. Haydn had a few try’s and added a convert while playing some strong defence. Next week sees the 2nd Div Men travel to Stanley Park to take on the Rowing Club in the BC Semi Finals!
BLRC Premier Women 29 – Oak Bay Castaway Wanderers 53
The Final regular season match for the ladies had a lot on the line. With a win, the BLRC Women could secure a home playoff date and for CW, a win would secure them a spot in the playoffs. The opening 5 minutes were all Burnaby Lake with strong runs from Govorchin, McEwen and Grudzinski driving the ball into the CW 22m. Alas a turnover was passed to Mandy Marchak at the CW 10m and she returned it all the way under the BLRC sticks. It was to be that type of first half for the BLRC women. Long + sustained drive with 6 phases. One mistake. Marchak gets the ball. CW score. Such was the case where after 40 minutes of play, Burnaby Lake controlled the ball for about 34 minutes, but Mandy had 3 try’s, had set up another and CW had gotten 2 more from another speedy back off of turnovers. CW 36 - BLRC 0 at the half.
Gen Gratton takes an offload from Angel Santos – photo by Pj Carr
The BLRC came out hard in the 2nd half and put the first points on the board. After threatening inside the CW 22m for a stretch, Inside Center Alya Govorchin found a gap in the defence and scored. Manson converted to give the BLRC faithful some hope. The home side would strike again with Megan Manson taking a pick & go over the try line for 5 points. Oak Bays #14 got one back with a long run from the centre line that ended between the posts. #10 converted to go up 43-12.
An area where the BLRC had been almost flawless in the first stanza was in the scrums where the pack put on a dominant display at the restarts. They used this to their advantage in the 2nd half where the 3rd try was a pushover that 8-man Katie Grudzinski dove on. Manson’s conversion brought the score a little closer at 43-19. The CW #5 answered immediately though seeing some space at her own 10m line, she put on the blinders and charged the rest of the length of the field to touch down between the posts. CW added 3 more points and the score sat 53-19 until the 70th minute when the BLRC took a scrum on the CW 5m line over the line where Grudzinski once again found herself with a try! Emily Van Gulik would add the games final points when she scored in the corner from a metre out. Final score 53-29 for Oak Bay.
The BLRC scrum getting ready to push one over the line – photo by Rain De Guzman
A blowout first half turned into a competitive 2nd half. CW were deserving of the win. They capitalized on every BLRC mistake and were rewarded for it often. Mandy Marchak showed that she’s still got “it”, and she’s got lots of it left! She led a lightning fast back line that were gone if you gave them an inch…the BLRC spotted them a few too many inches.
The BLRC pack is an intimidating group. Even without Carly Walker, Sonya Foulds + Alicia Noger who are out to injury, the pack hits hard and wears teams down in the sets. McEwen, Van Gulik and Grudzinski are leaders who lead with their actions rather than just talk. The backs were a little shorthanded with Maslo, Luca, Harvey + Vikilani patrolling the sidelines on Saturday due to injury but Gen Gratton and Angel Santos stepped up and had big games on Saturday. Megan Manson and Alya Govorchin stood out as the back MVP’s in that order.
Next week the women hit Klahanie Park for what will be a competitive match to see which Mainland side competes in the finals.
The full game can be seen here: https://youtu.be/ZYUS6m-zVso
BC Rugby Premier Quarterfinal
BLRC 50 – James Bay AA 17
The first 10 minutes of the game were played exclusively in the James Bay end. The BLRC were probing, trying to find a weak spot but JBAA defended well. The BLRC kept getting to the line only to be stuffed at the last second and denied points. Logic told me that James Bay would have to change their game plan quickly as there was no way they could keep up this rate of tackling for too much longer.
Eventually the dam broke when the BLRC were inside James Bay’s 5m and Kimi Vunituraga was the first receiver with a head of steam. Kimi steamrolled the defence and scored the first points of the game. Cole McQueen added the extras to put Burnaby Lake ahead 7-0. The Vunituraga try was the crack in the dam and the try’s started flowing. At 15 minutes the BLRC were back inside the 22m and this time it was scrum half Mark Higgins who picked up from the base of a ruck and noticed a lack of “post” and “guard” so he strolled in for a try. Cole McQueen split the uprights and it was 14-0. At 20 minutes the BLRC were awarded a penalty at the JBAA 5m and chose a scrum. The scrum was good and scrumhalf Mark Higgins picked up the ball but was stopped at the goal line. Cole Mosychuk was first on the scene and picked up the ball, took one step and scored. McQueen’s convert brought the score to 21-0 at the games quarter mark. At 31 minutes a BLRC player got a hand on a James Bay clearing kick and the ball bounced right into the hands of Kimi Vunituraga who got a full head of steam and went on a 30-yard gallop before tossing the ball to Neil MacLaine who scored untouched. BLRC up 26-0 with time winding down in the first half.
Darren McCrory tries to get a pass away before he’s tackled by Meeres – photo by Pj Carr
Micha Govorchin got the scoreboard moving at the dawn of the 2nd half. The BLRC had a lineout at the James Bay 5m and drove a maul over the try line with Micha at the back of the maul. A few minutes later, after big runs from Worden and McQueen brought the BLRC back into the James Bay 22m, Micha Govorchin took a crash ball through the defence for his 2nd try of the game. McQueen’s conversion brought the score to 38-0.
With 15 minutes left in the 2nd half, James Bay got on the board. The BLRC took an offside penalty at their own 5m and Blake Van Heyningen quick tapped before the BLRC were set up, diving over the line for 5 points. Elliot Mitrou made it 38-7 with the conversion. The Burnaby Lake forwards struck again off the restart moving back into the JBAA end. The BLRC set up a maul about 10-15m out and drove it over the try line. Siaki Vikilani was the man with the ball when it went over the line and would be awarded the try. After the kickoff the BLRC backline whipped the ball around until it made it to Gino Paolella who had some space and brought the ball into the James Bay 22m. Gino passed to Max Tacket who popped it to Johnny McLoughlin who touched it down for a try. Cole McQueen added the extras to put the BLRC ahead 50-7. With about 7 minutes to go James Bay captain Clayton Meeres found a gap down the far side of the field and sprinted through it to score. On the game’s final play Shea Wakefield made a break from just inside the BLRC half and raced all the way in to score. Final score 50-17.
Gino Paolella avoids the ankle tap – photo by Rain De Guzman
James Bay had some fine performances despite the score line. Van Heyningen was deemed Forward of the match and was deserving, scoring a try and causing a few turnovers. I also thought Graham Harriman could have received the nod. He’s a big tough lock who makes his tackles and is never involved in off-the-ball antics. I’m a Harriman fan. The Bays backs were led by Clayton Meeres who had another fantastic game in the centres. His speed and game sense are second to none in BC. On the BLRC side of the ball, the starting back row of O’Toole, Mosychuk and Rockson along with subs Vikilani and Breadon were difference makers in all areas of the game. Whether it be 1 on 1 tackling, lineouts or moving the ball forward, all 5 players were top notch. Cole McQueen looked great back at Fullback. Great with the ball in space, very vocal in organizing the backs. While I still think of him as a younger man, he’s a veteran of the BLRC system and acts as a 2nd captain on the field whether he’s at #13 or #15. He had a good day kicking too!
The full game can be seen here: https://youtu.be/UrNMev1CAMc
Big thanks to the referees + TJ’s on the day as well as to Langley, CW and James Bay for the great day of rugby!
A big weekend of rugby next week for Burnaby Lake sees 4 teams through to the semi finals, with 3 games at 12:45; Premier Reserves home to UBCOB Ravens, 2nds at Brockton Oval vs Rowing Club and Women on the road to Klahanie to face Capilano! The Premier Men will be travelling to Jericho Park to take on the Ravens at 2:30. Should be a great day of rugby!
Many Teams~One Club