Westshore Fall to CW 34-7 in Men's Premier - Host Pacific Pride This Weekend at Juan de Fuca
by Clancy McDonnell
Men's Premier: Westshore 7 - Castaway Wanderers 34
Westshore's Velox Valhallians played a strong CW outfit at Windsor Park on Saturday, and despite best efforts were not able to put themselves in a position to win.
The game started well enough - the home side scored a try but then the visitors notched one of their own. Tireless Jade Billington, who uses a low centre of gravity in both attack and defence, pounced on a ball out of an attacking scrum to equalize about 10 minutes in.
Thereafter CW was able to move the ball better, with good forward skill in mid-field allowing the backs to make good territory on the flanks. Through the game they ran in a number of tries that the visitors weren't able to return in kind. The home side was probably sharper over the ball, and although they would concede a number of penalties, particularly in the second half, they also earned a few and slowed the VV ball down in fair but slippery conditions.
Aiding the efforts of the home side was the gulf in performance by the forward packs, particularly at the set piece. CW had Canada players on the bench, while the VVs started two Ebb Tide players in their mid-40s. You can't fault the effort of those players who are available and front up, but it points to bigger problems for the club with respect to playing numbers.
The scrum was pretty much one-way traffic, with the home side winning tight-heads or penalties on the Westshore feed, and never under threat on their own. As the World Cup final showed, if you can't rely on your set piece then you're going to struggle against a decent side. To make matters worse, CW picked off a number of VV lineouts, and watched a number of others malfunction of their own accord. The VVs adapted by taking quick taps from just about everywhere on the field.
As always, there were some positives as well. It was a top drawer learning experience for young Bryce McKinnon in the front row. Peyton Eagar was again lively in the back row. The backline had it's moments 9 through 15, and you'd think that if the pack can step it up then the team performance will shift to the good.
Coach Aaron Frisby was succinct - "injuries and depth is making it impossible for us to compete."
From my view, Westshore has knocked on the door for brief patches over the last couple of seasons but is struggling as is. The modern challenge in converting youth players into club players is a problem shared by other clubs. The Pacific Pride is light on forwards at the moment, highlighting depth issues across the league. BC Rugby is somehow proposing to add an extra layer of elite competition into an already nine month season. There's plenty to think about in the big picture as the club and the playing group resolve to stay the course.
This weekend the ladies travel to Comox. The Premier Reserve men host Port Alberni at 12:45, while the Prems host the Pacific Pride at 2:30.
We're still pushing fundraisers - 1/2 a side of beef ($20), or a 50/50 that will should net the winner 10K ($100). So get your syndicates together as tickets will be on sale on Saturday.
And there's word that Dale Grimston will be providing short term mathematics tutoring to help out Saanich kids unable to attend regular classes.