Burnaby Men Claim Two Wins in Nanaimo: Women Defeat Kamloops
by Mike Devlin
BLRC Women 74 – Kamloops Rugby Club 13
A nice bounce back win for the BLRC Women to help them forget about the drubbing they took from Seattle on their last venture to the pitch. I wasn’t in attendance but the info I got from Coach Corinne Jacobsen was that the BLRC had the edge in the scrums with the Mattin sisters, Shelby & Brandon, providing some power. 2nd Row Tiana Coutts ran hard with the ball all day and she was awarded the Forward of the match. The BLRC were helped by the return of Flanker Gabrielle Hindley who spent the early part of the season with the Canadian Rugby League squad on their European tour. The flanker has all the tools you need to play and excel at the next level. She also received high acclaim. The backs put a lot of points on the board. Alya Govorchin, Sally Hillier and Chelsea Rodgers were singled out for their play. Congrats to the girls for the big win and big thanks to Kamloops for the great hosting (as always!)
BLRC Premier Reserve Men 38 – Nanaimo Hornets 24
The BLRC Reserves flexed their muscle in the early going and ran out to a 31 – 0 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the first half. The BLRC backline was firing on all cylinders and saw 2 try’s from Nick Vandergoes and singles from Kishan Karunathasan and Paul Murphy plus a penalty try for a “horse collar” tackle on a breakaway by Karunathasan. Darren McCrory connected on 2 of 4 conversions. At 30 minutes the BLRC started making some substitutions and Vandergoes, Vikilani, Murphy + McCrory amongst others left to join the Premier warmups. That is not to say that the quality of the subs was not of high caliber only that the flow on attack became a little disjointed, and the defence suffered a bit. Nanaimo left themselves a crack to get back into the game, and they busted it open, scoring again and again in the second half to keep the score respectable.
James Tucker fends off a Nanaimo tackler. Photo by Pj Carr
I would like to make special mention of the play of Fabio Bitencourt who has stepped up to play out of position in the BLRC 3rd Division at Flyhalf this year. Fabio made the island trip and played a full 80 minutes in the #10 jersey…and looked great doing it! If he doesn’t watch out, he may find himself there permanently. Also, a quick shout out to my favourite BLRC member, Jordan Johnson! The veteran prop made the trip on a “Plan Z only” agreement with Coach Murphy and got stuck in during the final 15 minutes of the game, stealing a few low lineouts and using his size to his advantage in the scrums. You can’t teach heavy. If Nanaimo play like they did in the final 40, they could upset some people this year.
BLRC Premier Men 31 – Nanaimo 19
Nanaimo came out flying and pressured the BLRC to start the game, but some deft play from the Burnaby Lake centres cleared the ball. Then it was the BLRC’s turn to pressure and they set up for a 4-minute stint in the Nanaimo end, but the Hornets yielded no points. Nanaimo 8-man Zephyr Melnyk made a break at 11 minutes to get the ball back into the BLRC end and Nanaimo kept the ball moving, eventually punching the ball in underneath the posts. The convert made it 7-0 for the home side. At 18 minutes the BLRC tie it up, 8-man Domenic Baptista picking up from the base of a 5m scrum and driving his legs through contact for a try! Geoff Ryan makes the conversion. Ben McDougall gave the BLRC a lead with 10 minutes to go in the half. Cian Keegan looked to be in but was hauled down from behind. Cian kept his wits and popped the ball into McDougall’s hands who dove into the corner to score. Geoff Ryan’s conversion put the BLRC ahead 14-7. Just before half, a missed tackle sprang the Nanaimo FB Sam Reimer who zigged and zagged from the BLRC 10m line to the paint, much to the delight of the home crowd. Convert was good, so the score was tied at the break.
Lucas Albornoz brings down the lineout. Photo by Pj Carr
The 2nd half was a stalemate for the opening 18 minutes before a thumping run from Jamie Kelly and a quick pass to a trailing Lucas Albornoz put the BLRC back in the lead. Ryan added the extras and so it was 21-14 for Burnaby Lake. Geoff Ryan extended the lead to 10 with a penalty kick at 27minutes to make it 24-14. The Hornets responded right away, a BLRC penalty on the kickoff allowed Nanaimo to punt the ball to the 5m. A lineout and a maul later and the score read 24-19. With time winding down, a freshly subbed-in Nick Vandergoes would put the game out of reach with a try on the far sideline. The BLRC had been camped out in the Nanaimo 5 for a bit and the ball went wide to the young winger who went in standing up. Ryan made the convert, and the game ended 3 minutes later. Final score BLRC 31 – Nanaimo 19.
Nanaimo was extremely competitive in the game and appear to have brought in some talent for the season. Their scrumhalf, Sam Fowler, stood out for his understanding & control of the game. On the BLRC side, I thought that Hooker Jamie Kelly had his best game of the year. The lineouts were solid, he was stellar in defence and he was all over the ball, emerging from more than a few pileups with the turnover. A statement performance for Jamie. Nanaimo also judged him to be the Man of the Match.
The BLRC Premier Men start the year with 5 games in as many weekends. The results have been strong so far, going 4 for 4 with a big contest against CW looming this Saturday at Burnaby Lake. The 3rd Division Men travel to Crush Crescent to battle Langley RFC.
Many Teams~One Club