Bay Fest at MacDonald Park: JBAA 21 - Westshore 15 in BC Premier
by Phil Meyer
Today at The Mac, under bright summer weather, JBAA’s fortunes started with a buzz – and finished the same way. At 12:30 on the upper field, the JBAA U16’s faced up against Westshore U16’s, ran in every direction, scored a multitude of trys, and won going away. Beset by foreign winds (off-Canada and east of the Rockies) the Bays have set out to rebuild their Own House. Saturday, these young Bays, led by Coach Jared Barker, former Bay and Canada standout, showed why they now stand three and zero in League play. (The JBAA U19’s are three and zero also.)
At 12:45, the extravaganza continued, with JBAA Premier Reserves stepping out against Westshore. With only a few minutes gone, Elliot Johnson sliced through to touch down under the posts for the Bays’ first score. Tom Burton was successful on the convert. Bays 7 – Westshore 0.
The Valhallians came roaring back with an unconverted try. But Johnson responded with two more, one converted by Burton. At the half, JBAA Reserves 19 – Westshore Reserves 5.
In half two, the teams see-sawed back and forth. Etienne Roberts over for the Bays, converted by Burton, at 48 minutes – a two try response by Westshore – then, near the end, Peter Masimo for JBAA. At finish, JBAA 31 – Westshore 17.
At start, the Premier game looked like the JBAA Fest might be over. At 15 minutes, Taylor McGuire broke away to gallop in for a Valhallian score, converted by Spencer Jones. West Shore added a penalty goal by Jones three minutes later. At the half, Westshore controlling the scrums, and looking confident, holds a 10 to 0 lead. JBAA Olde Stars looking at each other and saying: “What’s happening?”
The second half different. Bays score trys at 48 minutes (Matt Mullins, on passes by Connor Braid and Kieran McAuley); at 54 minutes (Jake Thiel on a forty meter power ramble up the middle; and at 62 minutes, Aaron Evison on a wide right sprint to the Vallhallian goal. All these converted from edges of the field by Braid. JBAA 21 – Westshore 10.
Westshore continued the struggle, and a Keegan Edwards try five minutes from full time brought them back to Bays 21 – Valhallians 15. There the game ended.
This game was (mostly) enjoyable. Dropping out of Premier play is akin to walking into an immense hole. Getting back out is really difficult. Yet, Westshore, game by game, and year by year, is raising their game. On Saturday, their scrum had the edge in play throughout, and there was a good deal of coulda-shoulda discussion about how they might have won. They certainly played hard from beginning to finish.
On the JBAA side, much is written about Connor Braid. Certainly, his kicking at goal was superb. But it was his tackling – he seemed to have perhaps half the Navy Blue tackles on the day – that led the Bays back into the game, and to the win. At this time in early season, the Bays feature a new coach in Sean White, and a bevy of young gunners – notably, Aaron Evison, Jake and Josh Thiel, Matt Mullins and Mitch Sora. These guys are getting better – game, by game, by game.
Proud parents, Jon and Jen Thiel stood on the sidelines – watching their kids play the game. Jake and Josh were born at MacDonald Park (or at least quite near). Now they stand on the field in Navy Blue. Dad Jon speaks following the game.
“Seeing them out on the field in Navy Blue feels really good – even better than in red!”
So our history continues – Bays traveling next week to Seattle – Westshore hosting Rowers.
Another wonderful season shaping!