Ravens and Rippers Advance to BC Finals: Double Win Over Burnaby
by Peter MacDonald
Ravens 28 – Burnaby 8
Rippers 25 – Burnaby 12
Saturday was a big day for the UBC Old Boy club as both senior teams won and will now go on to Abbotsford to contest for BC championships, a feat last accomplished by the club in 1990. The Rippers got the day going in heavy rain in Burnaby and their defence and fitness were apparently the difference. Two tries from James Thompson were a big part of the win as well. We all look forward to being able to watch the Rippers full game kicking off at 1:45pm at Rotary Stadium on Saturday.
Alex Lee (photo by pjCARR)
The rain had eased off a bit by kickoff at Jericho for the Premier game but a slick ball was a factor all game long causing slightly slower ball and a few extra knock-ons. Ten minutes in, after a Raven penalty kick make and a Burnaby miss, the Ravens notched the first try. Flanker Karl Moran made a tackle at midfield and promptly made a quick, clean pilfer. The ball moved immediately through hands to the right where fullback Aaron McLelland accelerated past the defence along the right sideline for his first of two tallies, 8-0 Ravens. Burnaby answered quickly though with a kick and chase try with the Burnaby winger diving onto the ball a fraction before his opposite number, 8-5 Ravens.
The rest of the half was even with both teams having dangerous spells of possession but no tries. The only scoring was from the Ravens’ Adam McQueen who slotted a penalty kick arising from a set scrum at 35 minutes as the Ravens went into the break ahead by a score of 11-5. Both teams had defended well, the Ravens tackling was sure and hard and Burnaby was getting up quickly in defence to stifle the Ravens’ attack. Burnaby’s #8 Cole Mosychuk was a force running with the ball and the Burnaby fullback, Ben McIvor, was fielding the Raven kicks with ease and running them right back at them for good field position.
Jorden Sandover-Best (photo by pjCARR)
The game was in the balance and would remain so till the three quarter mark. For the next twenty minutes the teams battled to a standstill. The set scrums were low and hard and handled carefully by referee Saro Turner. Hard tackles from the Ravens led by flanker Simone Etheve were staunching the Burnaby attack. A lineout steal by Jon Phelan denied Burnaby a chance to maul in a try. Crash runs in succession from Connor Hamilton, Ben Grant, Moran and Paul Ahn tested the Burnaby defence but couldn’t break it. The Ravens were then offside at 58 minutes and Burnaby closed the gap to 11-8 sending a wave of concern through the big home crowd which surrounded the field on all sides. But moments later the Ravens put together a frantic series of rucks and phases inside the Burnaby 22 which finally stretched the Burnaby defence out of shape allowing lock Sam Clarke to drive in under the posts for a breakthrough try, 18-8 Ravens.
Connor Hamilton (photo by pjCARR)
At 65 minutes the Ravens stretched the lead to 21-8 with a penalty goal from a Burnaby offside but Burnaby kept the pressure on for the rest of the game. The Raven defence bent but did not break. Tackles from David O’Donoghue, Ahn, McLelland and many others secured the lead as did a key counter ruck initiated by McLelland. A final try ensued near full time when Jordan Sandover-Best put up a high kick chased down by winger Karsten Leitner and McLelland. Leitner was just able to get a hand on the loose ball and pat it back to McLelland who had space open up and he was not going to be caught on a long run into the posts to ice the game.
Along with UBC, Burnaby has set the standard in the Premier league these past few years and the Ravens have had a tough go of it with them. This year and this game were no different but the Ravens pack and defence have matched them this year and did again today.
The Raven back row stood out including O’Donoghue off the bench and Nathan Kendrick at what Garth Hendriksen coined “central flanker”, ie hooker. Adam McQueen was 5 for 6 in shots at goal and he handled the slippery ball and Burnaby defensive pressure very well. Props Chris Taylor and Marc Belvedere both went down with injuries and we hope they are both good to go this week. Referee Saro Turner was on top of things maintaining control without the need to issue any cards. The standard of rugby was high, as it should be.
The Ravens defeated the Houston Sabrecats professional team in January. UBC retained the World Cup against Cal Berkeley in March. Berkeley is in the NCAA championship game this coming Saturday. There will be some very good rugby this Saturday in Abbotsford, as good as it gets in club rugby in North America. Hope to see you there.