Weekend Match Reports: Palmer Cup Competition Between BLRC vs Meraloma Starts 2-1 in Favour of Burnaby
by Mike Devlin
Saturday was Chris Weston day at Burnaby Lake. Chris was instrumental in laying the building blocks for the BLRC as it stands today. He was a long-time member of the Burnaby Buffaloes and is credited with finding a muddy patch of bog at Burnaby Lake which became the Burnaby Lake Rugby Club pitches we play on today as well as being one of the driving forces behind the building of the Burnaby Lake Clubhouse! Chris found success in the business world, founding Rimex in 1976 and it is now one of the top industrial wheel manufacturers in the world. He gave generously to the club throughout the years and many of the young BLRC players who went on to represent the province and the country would not have been able to afford to do so had it not been for that generosity. He is missed on the sidelines each Saturday and the club has dedicated a home day to his honour.
Now on to the games ...
BLRC 2nd Div Men 49 – Bayside RFC 8
The 2nds kicked off in the early game at 11:15. Big thanks to the Bayside Sharks who accommodated the early kickoff on Saturday and allowed the BLRC to have a stress-free home club day. Bayside has seen a bit of a resurgence in their club, bolstered perhaps by the excitement of the new clubhouse now under construction, and fielded 3 men’s teams the weekend before. This week would be a sterner test for them however as they would be fielding teams at 3 different venues. I can’t speak to the quality of the other sides they fielded but the team that showed up on Saturday had plenty of talent. The forwards were led by Taylor Howes, a very under rated prop and big Josh Arei who would not be under rated, but appropriately feared for the quality of the tackles he can produce. The backs had loads of talent as well with Dan Dixon quarterbacking a fast backline. As good as Bayside looked in the early going, the BLRC were just a touch above. Early tries from Taylor Skwarok and Juan Ferrer plus a Jarret Richardson conversion put the home side up 12-0 early. Bayside and the BLRC traded scores with a Bayside penalty kick followed by a Burnaby Lake try from Haydn Melin and then a Bayside try in the corner from their speedy winger. Finally, Jarret Richardson scored and converted his own to make the score 24-8 at the half.
Kyle Geach breaking tackles on his way to a try. - photo by Pj Carr
During the break, the BLRC were able to make some quality subs and none made a greater impact than winger Giuseppe Laudisio who was responsible for the next 3 BLRC tallies and then decided to take over the scrumhalf position for the game’s final 20 minutes. Just before the final whistle Kyle Geach made a vintage Geach run, crashing through 2 defenders, creating his own hole and taking it the rest of the way for a try! Richardson had added a few more conversions and a penalty throughout the 2nd half to finish the game 49-8. The 2nds are now off until Nov 17th when they host Kamloops.
The full game can be seen here: https://youtu.be/nuacTXvoMoE
BLRC Women 24 – Meraloma 5
Saturday marked the first 3 of 5 BLRC/Meraloma contests this season. The two clubs battle each year for the Palmer Cup. The Palmer Cup is named after our deceased friend + BLRC alumni Doug "The Bear" Palmer and is a celebration of club vs club rugby. It's awarded to the club that wins the most head to head matches each year. The Lomas claimed the cup for it's first 8 years and the BLRC have held it for the past 8. After Saturday the BLRC hold a 2-1 lead in the contest.
Jessica Harvey brushes off a Meraloma tackle - photo by Pj Carr
The first game for the Palmer Cup got underway at 12:15 with a decent sized crowd out to support the women and they were treated to a great game! It was obvious from the beginning which team the final score would favour but the Lomas made the BLRC fight for every inch and never gave up. Jessica Harvey opened the scoring a few minutes in when the BLRC were attacking at the Loma 22m. Leyhana Van Vugt hoofed a grubber behind the Meraloma defence and Jess Harvey beat the pack, grabbing the ball and touching it down for a try. A few minutes later Loose head prop Tiana Coutts scored the first of her 2 try’s on the day, crashing through the Meraloma goal line stand to score. Van Vugt made a nice kick to put the Burnaby Lake Women ahead 12-0 which was the score at the break. Coutts scored her 2nd shortly after the restart, a mirror image of the first, complete with a Van Vugt conversion. The Tight head prop Katie Van Nes scored the final BLRC points when Van Vugt kicked a ball into the Loma end, chased it down and popped to Van Nes who was providing great support. Van Nes took it all the way in for a try! The Meraloma backs would get one back near the end of the game to make the final score 24-5. Strong games from Leyhana Van Vugt in the backs and Tiana Coutts in the forwards hopefully they can keep that up. The BLRC Women are on the road this weekend to Seattle.
The full game can be seen here: https://youtu.be/lk8Rdfx3VzY
BLRC Premier Reserve Men 10 – Meraloma 15
The match of the day! The 2 squads sit at the top of the table and I would dare say that neither would look out of place if they found themselves taking on the bottom third of the Premier standings. The BLRC fielded many players with Premier experience: Gotegote, Vikilani Paolella, Murphy, Shelley to name a few. The Meralomas are the defending champs and came with the swagger that comes from being on top.
Gino Paolella is wrapped up by Wes Lee - photo by Pj Carr
The visitors took the lead early behind a relentless attack that put the BLRC on the back foot. The Lomas offence is centred around #6 Wes Lee who is a big unit and runs hard lines from everywhere. Lee had too many big runs with positive yards after contact to count and it put his team in a good position to score on a few occasions, one of which led to them taking an early 3-point lead from the foot of their flyhalf Oliver Owen at 16 minutes. At 20 minutes it was a hard run from Lee that brought the ball to the BLRC Goal line before being brought down. The ball went to the sideline where #12 Patrick Perillo dove into the corner for a try. 8-0 which is how the half ended despite some good play on both sides of the ball to finish the half. The Lomas were deserving winners of the first half through the domination of the first 20 minutes.
The 2nd half was a different matter as the BLRC came out firing and took over the game. 8 minutes in, Tom Dear put the Blue & White on the board taking a long pass from Nolan Shelley and busting through the centres at the Loma 22m and driving his legs until he was over the try line. Shelley hit the convert to pull the BLRC to within a point. At 53 minutes Nat Hight took the ball into the Loma end but was brought down at the 22m. Brian Murphy grabbed the ball off the back of the ruck and ran it in under the posts…but the referee deemed there to be a rucker rucking the rucked too far past the ruck and called it back. A common occurrence that might go unnoticed, but not this time. The BLRC would take the lead with about 15 minutes to go when Nolan Shelley split the uprights on a penalty at the Loma 10m. Now up 10-8, all the BLRC had to do was close out the game but instead they promptly gave up a penalty in their own end. Fortunately, the kick was pushed just wide. With 7 minutes to go… a bad pass, a bobbled reception, a loose ball and a timely Loma leg swing produced a ball bouncing towards the BLRC goal where it slowed down at the 5m. One member of each team was charging it down and the Burnaby player made contact with the back of the Loma. Penalty try was the call. It was probably the right call but harsh under the circumstances, especially after the called back try. In the final minutes, down 15-10, the BLRC battled and made it into the Loma 22m but couldn’t cross the paint so it ended 15-10 in favour of the Meralomas. Stand out performances from many on both teams. All players will be feeling it today. I think that regardless of who ended up on top after 80 minutes, a fitting end was one team winning without a bonus point and the other losing with one. And so it was.
The full game can be seen here: https://youtu.be/exk8FxM7znM
BLRC Premier Men 42 – Meraloma 16
The Palmer Cup knotted at one-a-piece. The Trophy presentation will have to wait until Spring.
The Premier game was played before a full house. The Meraloma with great support on their sideline from the 2 earlier games and their 3rd‘s with a bye plus many old faces milling around. The BLRC faithful, always boisterous and up for a game against the ancient West side rivals!
The game started on the right foot for the home team with Danny Josok taking in a try before the first whistle. The BLRC kicked off and MacLaine booted the ball into the Loma 22m. They kicked it out and Ben McIvor returned it all the way back before offloading to Josok who scored in the corner. Neil MacLaine made the difficult conversion to go ahead 7-0. At 21 minutes the Lomas draw blood after controlling the ball through their forwards. A maul gets them close to the BLRC goal line and a pick and go gets them across. 7-5 for Burnaby Lake. At 26 minutes Neil MacLaine increases the BLRC lead, slotting a 3 pointer after a scrum penalty. With 10 minutes to go in the half a BLRC forward is sent to the bin for 10 minutes after a few consecutive penalties too many and the Lomas take full advantage of the extra man, scoring on a series of pick & goes at the BLRC try line. Neil MacLaine gets the BLRC back in front with another penalty kick but the Lomas Fly half Isaac Winter ties it up again at the whistle after a BLRC forward was shown a red card. 13-all at the break.
Micha Govorchin dots down for a try - photo by Pj Carr
The Meralomas took the lead early in the 2nd half with Winter, once again, using the foot to add 3 but that would end the Loma scoring for the day with the undermanned BLRC forwards taking over the game, posting 33 unanswered points. The first response was from Micha Govorchin who took off from the back of a BLRC maul at the Loma 5m and bulled through for a try. MacLaine added 2 and put the home team up 20-16. Tom Cvijanovic was next. After a series of Loma penalties brought the BLRC closer and closer to the try line, Watkins popped a quick pass from the base of a ruck to Cvijanovic who met the Meraloma defence at their goal line and kept driving his legs and pushed through the contact to score. Neil MacLaine pulled the convert right but made up for it a few minutes later with 3 points to make it 28-16. Shortly after the restart, Burnaby Lake put together a really great series of plays starting with a punishing run from Taitusi Vikilani. After the ball passed through about a dozen hands, it was fed inside to Andrew Porter who raced in from the Meraloma 10m line to score under the posts. MacLaine’s conversion made it 35-16. Moments later Sean McKeown took a pass from Gino Paolella and sprinted down the sideline before curving under the posts. Neil MacLaine made his final conversion to end it, 42-16 for the BLRC who take 2 games to 1 lead for the Palmer Cup into the Spring.
Reid Watkins spins the ball - photo by Pj Carr
On the one hand, posting 40+ points while playing 50 minutes down a man is something to be proud of, but picking up a few cards is an issue that the team will need to sort out going forward. Big games from Worden, O’Toole and Vikilani in the forwards, Taitusi judged Man of the Match by his peers. MacLaine in the backs was outstanding and Reid Watkins had his best game of the season thus far.
The full game can be seen here: https://youtu.be/cIoufYoFhDs
This Saturday the Premier Men and Reserves head to UBC at 2:30 and 12:45!
Many Teams~One Club