In Form Ravens Win at Connaught: Ravens 53 - Lomas 7
by Peter MacDonald
Despite heavy rains over the previous two days the Connaught field was in good shape for the Ravens premier game with the Lomas. That did not augur well though for the hosts as the Ravens were sporting on the day the two most dangerous runners in the league in Aaron McLelland and Theo Sauder. And with the Ravens’ pack operating in peak season form the Ravens’ backs had plenty of good ball with which to attack.
The first half possession was roughly equal but at regular intervals the Ravens broke down the Loma defence to score five unanswered tries. The first three involved overlaps or line breaks finished off with inside passes, two to Sauder and one to Jordan Sandover-Best. Then, the only try scored in tight went to Brian Moylett who drove in after other forays by Chris Taylor and James Carson. Left winger Sean Hase finished off the scoring down the left sideline just before halftime on a final pass from outside centre Sohaib Chaudry.
It was more of the same in the second half with right winger Jeff Vreys scoring on the outside after Sandover-Best and McLelland went blind off a set, Moylett picking up two more tries, one a recovery of his own grubber, and Sauder dribbling on and chasing to touch down a final try at the whistle.
On a wet day the Lomas tried an up and under approach in the first half but counterattacking runs from the Raven danger men outweighed the odd gain in field position for the Lomas and the catchers did not shy away from the hits. Despite the tries coming through the backs it was the Ravens’ pack that dictated much of the game. The ball carriers, Taylor, Carson and Conor Hamilton were making good ground and were drawing in defenders and the back row were clearing out and securing the rucks. The forwards’ roles in set play and early phase play are clearly defined and the execution is at a high level. Numbers often favoured the Ravens once the ball went wide.
Sauder at fly half and Chaudry made impressive debuts with the club. Sauder’s quickness, balance and power are well known. Chaudry, from Ontario, moved the ball quickly when called on while also reading well off fellow centre Moylett in open play. Tim Richardson made his 2019 debut, he and his brother Pat having played previously with the club a few years ago. Tim and Pat manned the flanks and as usual they put in performances that were analytically are off the charts I’m sure. Captain David O’Donoghue in a new role now at #8 appears bigger and just as fast and as effective as ever.
The Lomas kept up their work rate and spirit throughout and picked up a tally near the end. Isaac Winter stood out for me as he has in the past. The Ravens were a bridge too far on the day: amateur sport in Vancouver doesn’t get better than that displayed by the Ravens in this game in my humble opinion.
After a bye the Ravens test themselves against UBC at UBC with the students coming off an elite university tournament in Japan which should have them operating at full throttle as well. It should be a good one.