White Wash at The Mac: JBAA v CW Match Report by Phil Meyer
Sean White, like many of his compatriots, including Phil Mack and Connor Braid, grew up at MacDonald Park. Through the Bays’ Junior Program, then to championship Rounsefell teams – on to a multi-capped Canada 7’s and 15’s career – and finally, last season, returning to play fulltime for the Bays. A startling photo on page 24 of this season’s JBAA program shows Sean, DTH, Morgan Williams, Phil Mack – all in Navy Blue – young - shoulder to shoulder. Staring out toward their future.
On Saturday at MacDonald Park, Sean strode onto the turf to enter a new phase of his sporting life – Head Coach of JBAA’s Premier team – replacing storied Pete Rushton, who led the Bays to five BC Championships.
The day was pleasant – the best grass surface MacDonald Park has offered in several years. Temperatures ideal for rugby. Threat of rain unfulfilled. Faithful of both the Bays and Castaway Wanderers – aligned along the sideline – pleased to see each other, and rugby, once again. Six JBAA’ers, shackled by rugby Canada, among cheering supporters. (Connor would also have been there – but he was catching “Big Salmon” up at Langara.) CW likely missing as many, but in the words of one of their senior leaders: “We don’t count our ‘missing’ any more – as there is little likelihood we will see them on the field this season.” And so, our bands play on.
Eight minutes into this Barnard Cup joist, Andrew (the Puzzler) de Goede – who had dropped by The Mac “to see if our Ones had enough players” – finishes off a multi-pass attack. Aaron Evison converts. Bays 7 – CW 0.
CW, playing down-slope, bursts back. James Pitblado scores at 14 minutes – Cam Polson three minutes later. The Bays get back to even on a ramble round the right side by Kieran McAuley near mid-half. Then the teams exchange trys – a spectacular breach of JBAA D by Mike Daisin at 23 minutes – a try response by Bays’ French speedster Guillaume Caillaux with 10 minutes left. The difference at the half – two for three CW converts by Mike Adibe – only one for three by the Bays. At the half: CW 19 – JBAA 17.
In half two – now playing down slope – and led by Player of the Game Moe Abdelmonen, JBAA seizes game control. Jimmy de Goede with one of his “drive and reach out” scores at 48 minutes. Convert by Evison. Nabeel Mohammed Imtiaz on a break from Nova Scotia’s Peter Masimo at 57 minutes. Evison again converts. Then, Shea Wakefield powers in. With four minutes left on my stopwatch, JBAA 36 and in command – CW 19.
Navy Blue players and spectators relax – wait for the final whistle – and wait – and wait – and wait. Perhaps my stop watch is wrong! And while we try to solve this puzzle, CW races to two converted trys – by Adibe and Justin Logan. Adibe successful on the kicks. I cannot report timing on these. My watch has run out! In any event, a game featuring Half-Two dominance by the Navy Blue – now rocketing toward “risk” - the score closing! A “finally” whistle. Coach Sean walks off with his virgin win! His dad, Tim White, former scrum half for the Bays during earlier glory days, confirms that this puts Sean at the top of win/loss percentage standings for senior coaches in BC – at 100%. We’ll have to see how that goes.
Castaway Wanderer Ones 27 – JBAA Ones 19.
The early game was an exhibition encounter between CW and JBAA. Each team scored three trys, with CW prevailing with the boot: 3 converts and two penalties, vs. two converts for the Bays. Final score: CW 27 – JBAA 19.
Both teams declared themselves content with this early season warm-up, although CW was a little more content than the Bays.
Dave Ramsay was this writer’s JBAA Player of the Game. Jake Slobodian scored two trys, and Tomas Burton notched a try and two converts for Navy Blue.
Next week, the CW Prems host Vikes in what I assume is another Barnard Cup contest. The JBAA Prems rest – and will play our next game at Vikes on September 22. This game will count in both Premier and Barnard Cup standings. JBAA Ones travel to Port Alberni next Saturday to play the Black Sheep in a Times Cup contest.