Valhallians Stumble in Season Opener Against Cross Town Vikes: Home Opener vs Nanaimo Hornets in Triple Header on Saturday
by Clancy McDonnell
Westshore’s Velox Valhallians kicked off their season with a visit to their erstwhile neighbourhood of Gordon Head to take on UVic There was an exhibition game for the reserve teams to begin (UVic won handily) before the big boys got stuck into it. The VVs played 50 minutes of decent rugby, interrupted by a middle 30 of crud that scuppered their plans of victory.
Starting brightly, the VVs worked their way into the Vikes’ 22, took a lineout option on a penalty, then barged their way over for a rather straightforward try. The students hit back ten minutes later after some back and forth play, and then the teams continued to alternate possession and territory until 28 minutes in, when a yellow card against Westshore changed the flow of things considerably.
UVic scored three converted tries by the time the bin countdown was finished, and added two more in quick succession after the break. 42-5 made for ugly reading as spectators wondered just how savage the deficit would become.
At this juncture the VVs pulled up their socks and began to play properly, showing renewed resolve in defence and finding some fluency in attack by moving beyond one-out runners. They scored three tries before the students hit back, with both teams then scoring a couple more.The final score was 57-36.
You can’t avoid tackling for half an hour against a reasonable team and expect to get a result. Having said that there were some bright points. Jason Gagnier showed his hunger, ploughing over for a couple of tries. New back row recruits Cole Mosychuk and Ben Brill made an immediate impact in both attack and defence. The pack lost one feed against the head but earned two emphatic penalties and stole another one in good field position.
The Vikes, for their part, were as expected fairly fit and mobile. They did well in terms of continuity, and had good fortune down the right flank in particular, Their fly-half put on on a virtuoso kicking display to boot. Both teams had evidence of rust in ball handling as well as playing the referee.
Coach Aaron Frisby, while obviously disappointed with the loss of focus that saw the Vikes score 42 points on the bounce, said “there was enough shown on Saturday to confirm there is a lot of promise within the squad.”
This coming Saturday Westshore hosts Nanaimo for a triple header, with the Women’s team due to kick off proceedings at midday. There will be burgers and bar service, and probably John Lyall on the microphone.