Westshore Wrapup by Clancy McDonnell: Two Championships, Two Repeats, Match Reports
Premier Women: WRFC 44 – BLRC 12
Westshore’s Velox Valkyries stormed to an overwhelming victory on Saturday with a satisfying performance. They raced to a 25 – zip lead at half-time, building the points through a couple of long range tries. Burnaby Lake fronted up in the second half, with a try straight after the break and some physicality in the collisions and breakdown, but ultimately the VVs were too clever, strong and fast, and the result was never in doubt.
There were notable moments provided by a number of players. With sharp-passing halfback Sasha Guedes and five-eighth Meg Howat providing tidy service, their teammates went rampaging through the midfield in decisive fashion. Some interplay with a winger freed up Amanda Thornborough to race past tacklers for a 60 metre try. The outside backs were in it as well – #15 McKenzie Pusch thundered onto a well-timed pass and the defense never looked like slowing her down as she went through the line and an additional 60+ metres to score.
The forwards made their mark too, with Brittany Sims putting in an 80 minute performance. Two or three times she made a quick throw to a standing prop, then received the ball back and bullocked her way up the sideline. Clever. Prop Randi Hunter took one on the chin, but pushed as hard as ever in the scrum. Rori Wood got through a lot of work in her last game for the club before joining UBC to further develop her spelling. Courtney Sims was another to have a good game, with an early kick-through and foot race taking play 50+ metres up field, before she used her recent gainz to withstand the tackle and offload to Thornborough, who scampered towards the corner to dot the ball down. C-Sims scored a peach of a try herself, scything through the midfield to slam the ball down under the posts.
As the game wore on the Burnaby Lakers kept working, and their efforts can’t be discounted. The Valkyries were dominant though – superior conditioning and skills leading to the decisive half-time score followed by the consolidation through the middle of the second half. The result was excitement and beaming smiles for the coaching crew, with Shannon Houston and Barbara Mervin chuffed. Mervin referenced some homework they’d done to identify opportunities, while Marlene Donaldson (who has now given up her ‘winningest winner of championships’ mantle to Sarah Levson) trotted out her “textbook rugby” quote again.
3rd Division Men: WRFC 33 – Capilano 22
Well. What a kerfuffle with a late challenge to the legitimacy of Westshore’s Velox 3rd Division’s rosters coming from across the water on Friday! Nevertheless, the BC Rugby Union made a ruling and it was on with the show.
The Capilano team was organized and particularly effective when within 30 metres of the try-line. They scored two or three tries by knowing how to pick and go, retaining possession admirably. The Mighty 3rd XV couldn’t get much ball, and when they did it was often to boot it downfield to release pressure or just drop it where they were. Annoying. Somehow, though, they were within sniffing distance at the half. As the second half wore on the teams traded blows, with Capilano pulling ahead only for the VVs to hit back. With perhaps 10 minutes remaining in what turned out to be about a 56 minute half, the VVs took the lead and then added another try to pull into an unassailable lead.
There were big performances throughout the team. Phil Erb showcased his torpedo kicking when he wasn’t in the bin, Aaron Frisby squeezed all he could out of his hamstrings before accidentally rearranging his jaw, while Darryl Hall couldn’t decide what was less important – his AC joint or his nose. Some of the others played some actual rugby. The unassuming John Cox had a massive first half on the wing, tackling with authority out wide and carrying with enthusiasm. Conrad Newell kicked some goals in the first half and was instrumental in the second half chase. Adam Roer skinned a couple of defenders more than once, and bagged an excellent try from some ways out and through some traffic. Big Dave Morgan was the epitome of the hard-working second rower, and was still smiling after 80 minutes. Jason Allen carried and tackled like his wife won’t let him play again. Captain Ryan Waldriff was immense in the second half, stamping his mark on the game and a couple of the opposition players.
So on and so forth – you can’t mention them all. The game was won, and coach Dale Grimston was able to commence recruitment for next year.
Two teams two-peating is quite the feat. Bravo. A number of players will vie for representative honours through the summer. We’ll check in through the summer to discuss club news.