Westshore Stumble at Home vs James Bay; Women Claim Win in Seattle
by Clancy McDonnell
Premier Men: WRFC 19 – JBAA 47
Saturday was essentially a perfect day for rugby, but Westshore’s Velox Valhallians couldn’t win a trick. They hosted James Bay under sunny skies in front of a healthy crowd, and although the opening exchanges were evenly matched, the VVs lapsed at the wrong times in the wrong ways. James Bay took a good lead into half time, and quickly stitched things up after the break, scoring a couple of soft tries.
James Bay will feel like they earned a couple of their tries, but also like they were gifted a couple. One was the fruit borne of the home side being a man down. The #8 picked off the scrum, beat the blindside flanker, then passed on, with an outside back finishing off the overlap. Another came when the scrum-half slid through a gap that ought not have existed. Another from a VV pass that went to ground inside the VV quarter. Amidst all that, the Bays were executing well enough to run up 47 points.
The VVs scored 3 tries. The first was well constructed – they bent the line, then keeping the ball alive punched straight a couple of times, with captain Foster Dewitt scampering the last 10 metres. The second was a brilliant effort from youngster Brock Gallagher, the 20 year old using his slippery feet to slide through a gap nobody thought was there in a way reminiscent of Stephen Larkham in his pomp, then out-pacing the cover on a long arc to dot the ball down near the posts.
The VVs wore a commemorative jersey replicating the original one worn 50 years ago, but probably won’t feel they did themselves or the occasion justice. To be sure, there was work rate and effort on display, but they couldn’t replicate the gel evident in their best work this season. They need better game awareness, ball possession and defensive acuity and desire. The players wearing the decorated JBAA jersey were full value, taking a 2-1 tally away from this season’s exchanges.
Coach Aaron Frisby was succinct in his assessment after checking whether he was allowed to just swear. “If you can’t tackle properly, and can’t hold onto your own ball, then you won’t win a game of rugby.”
Premier Reserve Men: WRFC 26 – JBAA 40
Although this game was a tad more competitive, the end result was the same. The teams were evenly matched for much of the game, but the Bays’ fitness and ability to keep going set them apart by the end. They scored a number of good tries, with their number 8 prominent. For the home side, there was intermittent cohesion and accuracy combined with a mixture of mild defence and inexperience. Try of the day went to young hooker-come-flanker Jordy Makela, who set off on a 70-metre shimmying run that the opposition either couldn’t or didn’t want to interrupt.
Women’s Premier: WRFC 30 – Seattle 17
The Valkyries travelled to Seattle to play. Starting some regular bench players due to border delays, they scratched around for a disjointed victory. Dropped balls from both teams were, by accounts, order of the day. Nevertheless, it was as nice a day down there as in the capital city, and although they keep saying they’re not playing well, the Valkyries do keep knocking over all-comers.
After the Premier men’s game, there was a nice coming together of the men’s teams and supporters, including some visiting Kiwi sailors. Some brief words were shared, and the Ka Mate was performed as an act of solidarity and respect for the NZ and Muslim communities following the terrorist act in Christchurch last week. Meanwhile, the 3rd Division team went up to Comox and beat a lean Comox squad in an apparent rehashing of the Second War, or pre-Brexit journalism, or something. The combined Cowichan/Westshore ladies 1st Division team notched a sizeable victory over United. This coming weekend the senior men go to UVIC, while it looks like the Valkyries are trying to arrange a make-up game.