Burnaby Women Open Season with Win Over Bayside: Men Div 2 Defeat Brit Lions
by Mike Devlin
BLRC Women 17 – Bayside 12
The Burnaby Lake Women had the honor of opening the 2018/2019 season for the club and were fortunate to do it at home and under sunny skies. The Women’s program is being led this year by newly promoted head coach Corinne Jacobsen and assistant coach Julia Sugawara who represented Canada and BC on many occasions as members of the BLRC. I can think of few more knowledgeable + better mentors for the current crop of athletes to learn from and the club is excited to see the progress the team will make under this new leadership!
The BLRC are flush with new bodies this year as members of the BLRC junior girls/Burnaby North girls teams coached by Ian Trevor and Shelby Sloan have started funneling into the program and a few other local players have decided to step up and try their hand at Premier rugby. With the fall season being thought of as a “development” season, I know many of the new players will get lots of game time and have a few months to state their case for one of the coveted Premier jerseys in the spring.
Double try scorer Jessica Harvey vs Bayside – photo by Pj Carr
While the BLRC controlled most of the early play, including a long stanza spent around the Bayside 5m, some staunch tackling from the South Surrey defenders (the #7 Ting Jing Zhang in particular) kept the BLRC off the scoreboard. Bayside would put the first points on the board through outside centre Miriama Naiobasali who shredded the Burnaby Lake defence after taking an innocent looking pass at her own 22m. She straight armed one tackler and ran around 2 others on her way in for a try. Flyhalf Hera Sfikas added the conversion. At 20 minutes, the BLRC are attacking close to the line but are held up. The 5m scrum is won and the ball goes to Flyhalf Jess Harvey who swerves through a few would-be tacklers to score. Her conversion just misses so it’s 7-5 for the visitors.
Bayside try scorer Miriama Naiobasali – photo by Pj Carr
At 24 minutes, Miriama Naiobasali answered for Bayside. Finding a gap at her own 22m and pushing off a BLRC defender and taking the ball 75m untouched for her 2nd try. This was to be the last time the BLRC let Naiobasali do damage and Jess Harvey, Sally Hillier and Faith Fitzpatrick should be commended for containing her with some very timely open field tackles that kept Bayside off the scoreboard for the games 55 remaining minutes. Near the end of the half, Jessica Harvey (personal trainer to the stars) tied the game up with a try and a conversion. The BLRC had worked the ball near the Sharks 10m through bruising runs from Coutts + Van Gulik before the ball went to Harvey. The flyhalf noticed a mismatch in the Bayside line and exploited it, sprinting around 2 Sharks and then throwing a fake on the FB to score standing up.
Madison MacLeod gets wrapped up by Ting Jing Zhang near the try line – photo by Pj Carr
The 2nd half brought some spirited play from both sides, but neither were able to breach the try line in the early going. As mentioned, Naiobasali was a constant threat but she was brought down before doing damage. The Sharks Flyhalf Hera Sfikas earned many commendations from the sideline for her toughness. She was hammered on more than a few occasions by some tough BLRC girls. Katie Grudzinski, Tiana Coutts and Jess Harvey all put the shoulder into her hard enough to draw “ooohs” from the sideline and each time Sfiaks popped straight up and kept going. Commendable.
15 minutes into the 2nd half, the BLRC were pressing inside the Bayside 22m. The Sharks got the ball back and tried to clear but the ball didn’t make touch and was taken cleanly by Outside Centre Sally Hillier who popped to Faith Fitzpatrick who then passed it to winger Laura Londono who dove across the paint to score in the corner. The conversion was short and though there was some good rugby played over the final 25 minutes, neither team added to their score.
Kudos to Bayside for coming out and giving the BLRC a tough first game. They fought to the final whistle. On the home side, congrats to Tara Brandl, Victoria Bui + Liz Wright who played their first senior rugby on Saturday and didn’t look out of place. I am not sure whether they will end up with our junior or senior team as we go forward, but I didn’t think they looked out of place. Also, congrats to Madison MacLeod, Laura Londono and Faith Fitzpatrick who played their first games in the Blue & White and all 3 had great games! (Wo) men of the match for the BLRC were Lauren Tagg in the forwards and Jessica Harvey in the backs. Both good choices, though I wouldn’t have complained if Tiana Coutts and Cat Thompson had been given the nod.
The full game can be seen here: https://youtu.be/JWoDXCsATXw
This week the Women will be hitting Highway 1 and heading out to Abbotsford!
BLRC 2nd Div Men 31 – Brit Lions 24
Down in Delta, the 2nd Div Men started their season on a positive note with a bonus point win over a game Brit Lions squad. There was plenty of fan support on the Brits sidelines and I’m told that they were excellent hosts (as always) post game. Always a pleasure when you’re playing a proper club!
The BLRC were led by their backline who accounted for all the BLRC’s points with try’s coming from Alex Ryan (2), Paul Murphy. Haydn Melin & Taylor Skwarok! Jarett Richardson added 6 points from the boot to round out the scoring. 9 players suited up for their first games in the Blue + White and added some youthful enthusiasm to a team that was a little veteran heavy at the end of last year. Scott McCartney got his first start at #7 since returning from a 2-year trip to the UK and was a tackling machine (as always). Newcomer Kyle Perkins and veteran Brent Molesworth did a great job in the front row, controlling the scrums. Another newcomer Alex “Kevin Flynns nephew” Ryan made a big impact when he entered the game in the 2nd half. Alex scored twice to put the game out of reach and controlled the game like a veteran from the #9 position.
Next weekend the 2nd Div travel to New West to take on United.
Many Teams~One Club