UBC Edge Ravens 23-22 - Report by Peter MacDonald
On a sunny day at UBC the Ravens scored three tries to UBC’s two but fell to the students in an eventful game that tested both sides and the refereeing team.
The opening minutes saw the Ravens control possession and, after a few phases, on his first touch Aaron McLelland stepped through a generous hole in the UBC backs, accelerated away and chipped the fullback. The bounce fell to him nicely and he was in, 7-0 Ravens. UBC eventually came into its share of ball and slotted one of two penalty kicks on a windy day while the Ravens made one, 10-3 Ravens after 30 minutes. Both teams were looking dangerous in possession, stressing the opposition’s defences and making ground. It was becoming clear that keeping the ball would be the key to this game.
UBC levelled the score when one of their centres intercepted a pass and ran it in for a try at 30 minutes. McLelland at fullback gave it his best shot at bringing him down but was shaken off at the line when he crashed into a padded upright and the ball carrier was freed to touch down. The try scorer then threw the ball at McLelland, not the only indiscretion on the day. Play resumed with a penalty kick at centre.
Next up at 33 minuters was a red card to UBC centre Flynn Heyes who joined a tackle/maul being tied up by the Ravens’ Brian Moylett by way of a shot to Moylett’s head. But, despite being a man down, UBC continued to roll, moving the score to 13-10 UBC at 37 minutes with another penalty kick. The Ravens left points on the board at the end of the half when at the UBC 10 metre line the Ravens lost their third consecutive lineout allowing UBC to end the half with a kick to touch.
The Ravens reasserted themselves after the break when Pat Richardson broke right from a ruck deep in Raven territory, beat a few would be tacklers and was taken to ground at the UBC 22 where quick ball saw Moylett cross the line easily with UBC stretched thin, 17-13 Ravens. UBC stuck to it and after Raven winger Jeff Vreys was carded for a deliberate knock on, the numbers were even. Elias Ergas then fielded a kick at midfield and set up a ruck from which a UBC chip put the Ravens under pressure ending with David Carson diving in from close range, 20-17 UBC at 60 minutes.
The Ravens responded well but then gifted a second interception to UBC resulting in a saving tackle by McLelland who had little choice but to play the ball on the ground to avoid a likely try all of which resulted in a yellow card to him and another three points to UBC through the boot of Adam McQueen, 23-17 UBC at 67 minutes.
The Ravens scored a final try at 75 minutes through Vreys who cut in off his right wing with UBC under pressure from the Raven forwards in the loose and the sets. An unfavourable cross wind helped to deny the conversion, 23-22 UBC. The game ended with a Ravens’ put in at a set on their own 5 metre line. They attacked blind right and a UBC player in attempting an interception knocked on denying an attacking opportunity. The referee adjudged that no penalty was due and he blew the final whistle only to then consult at length with his near assistant presumably about the knock on. The players milled around wondering if things were really over and only when the referees broke up their confab did the two sides know the game was truly over.
It was a well-deserved UBC win. They look to have benefitted from their Japan tour and to have put together another very good squad which will likely only grow stronger. Frost and Worden at prop are big boys so UBC will be stout in the sets. Their lineouts were very clean with Frank Carson being a big target and a good spoiler of opposition ball. The Ravens struggled with their lineouts. The loss of possession there and through the two interceptions likely determined the outcome. But credit to UBC for pressurizing the Ravens in those areas and elsewhere leading to indecision and some poor handling by the Ravens.
Other random thoughts:
- Nice to see Theo Sauder being called up to the World Cup squad
- Brian Moylett’s lock to centre move had some wobbly moments as the game wore on, no comment on his quick tap and flop
- With Carsons everywhere the BC Premier League it is beginning to look like a Carson family intermural league
- Chippy behaviour and unnecessary antics marked the game and were commented on by alumni of both sides, a break from the norm between the two clubs over many years. The most notable incident was UBC flanker Owen Ruttan not retreating after a mark was given to Aaron McLelland. Once McLelland tapped to run Ruttan stepped in from a few steps away and belligerently drilled him into the ground. (Penalty given, no yellow card). We can all do better.