Burnaby Split Matches with Ravens in Premier and Reserve: This Weekend Palmer Cup at Meralomas Connaught Park
by Mike Devlin
BLRC Women 73 – SFU Rugby 7
A bit of a hiding at Burnaby Lake on Saturday morning where an almost at full strength BLRC women’s squad took out some frustration on our Burnaby neighbors. I won’t get into the match details as the score-line paints a picture of the on pitch action but report that the BLRC got points from Gabrielle Hindley who scored 3X, Brynna Walker with 2 try’s, Chelsea Rodgers with one plus some conversions and singles from Cat Thompson, Alya Govorchin and Natasha Lalonde amongst others. The forward of the match was young prop Liz Wright and the back of the match went to the aforementioned, Ms. Hindley.
A big weekend of rugby coming up next weekend where the BLRC will bring 4 squads to the Lomadome to play for the Palmer Cup. The Palmer Cup is competed for annually by the 2 clubs and honors former Vancouver Trojan/BLRC member Doug “The Bear” Palmer who passed away while on tour with friends at the 99 World Cup. Through years of competition, Doug had built many close friendships at the Meraloma club, and the trophy is a celebration of club vs club rugby. The club with the most wins in head to head competition each year retains the cup.
Through a weird twist of fate, this is the only club day between the Lomas and BLRC this year. The schedule makers at BC Rugby, for reasons known only to them, have gifted the BLRC a schedule with home and away games vs UVIC but only away games vs our two closest (geographically and other) friend, rivals and (most importantly) biggest clubhouse revenue days, Capilano and the Meraloma’ s. While dreaming of ways that the problem of less players per club and not enough coaches can be fixed by creating 3 new high-level rep teams complete with high level coaching staffs, I believe that the BCRU brass forgot that the clubs need to be able to turn the lights on and pay bills.
BLRC 3rd Div Men 15 – Kats RFC 17
The two top teams in the league went to battle for 80 minutes at Balaclava Park and unfortunately the 3rds fell short of retaining 1st place. The Men’s program was hit by the injury bug this week and the 3rds were without MVP and talisman Kyle Geach amongst other regulars on Saturday. In their place, young players like Travis Couture, Reshea Doolan, Jack Brady, Theo Newton, Chase McCrum and Eli Bialowas made statements vs the veteran laden Kats team. The Kats came out strong and put 12 points on the board early before BLRC hooker Reshea Doolan scored his first try in Senior Rugby. Tom Menzies converted to make it 12-7 but the Kats sept the pressure in, adding another tally just before half to go up 17-7. The Kats defence was up fast and disrupted anything the BLRC were planning on attack for most of the first half. This trend continued in the 2nd half though the Burnaby Lake squad tightened up and kept the home side off the board for the remainder of the game. Menzies took a shot at the posts midway through the 2nd half which sailed through to make it a 7-point game. With 2 minutes to go, speedster Jack Brady caught a break and scored wide, but the convert wasn’t to be. A tense final minute ticked away, and the Kats took home a well-earned victory. Congrats to the Kats and thanks for the hosting!! The 3rd Div Men join the rest of the club next week at Connaught Park.
BLRC Premier Reserve Men 32 – UBCOB Rippers 21
It was a very competitive opening half that ended 10-7. Nolan Shelley accounted for all the BLRC points with a try, a conversion and a penalty. Hooker Dylan Vermette added to the lead and got the Blue & White on a bit of a roll that saw them score 15 points with Luca Toroca also scoring and Shelley adding a conversion and another penalty to lead 25-7. UBCOB Flyhalf Brian Tyrer and winger Nolan McAllister engineered a comeback as they each scored try’s with Tyrer adding the extras on both before BLRC lock Cooper Johnston broke a tackle at the 50m line and charged over the try line. dragging the Ravens FB for the final 5m to put the nail in the coffin. Shelley’s conversion was just a formality. BLRC players of the game were Fuku Vikilani who was a beast the whole game, laying out crunching tackles and leading the forwards by example. I thought Nolan Shelley stood out in the backline, were it not for a few poorly placed kicks in the 2nd half I would have called his performance on Saturday one of his best where he combined a great control of his backs with great defence and one uncharacteristically big hit.
The Reserves continue to impress for 65 minutes each game, I would dare to say that they would finish in the bottom half of the Premier standings if they were entered in that league, but nowhere near the cellar. They have built a BAD habit of letting their foot off the gas pedal in the 55-70-minute mark of way too many games. I wouldn’t say that there is a large discrepancy between the skills of the starters and spares but possibly a disconnect between them that a few extra reps at training might solve or maybe it’s just complacency for a team that is usually comfortably ahead in the 2nd half. But if they are going to finish the season in top spot this year, they need to keep the pressure on for the full 80 minutes/game. Going into the final game and what should be their toughest challenge of the half, the Reserves are 9-0 with 9 bonus points so Coach Murphy will have to be happy with the overall play of his team this fall, but improvement is needed.
BLRC Premier Men 11– UBCOB 18 by Simon Smoldon
A rematch of last years Premier Final saw the Ravens triumph by 3 tries & a Penalty goal to 2 penalty goals & try.
The Ravens showed the craftiness & rugby savvy that they are noted for absorbing pressure & quickly turning defence into attack. Aaron Mclelland as always a great threat displaying his wide range of skills & Colby Mason laying out punishing drives & tackles in both offence & defence.
BLRC played well with Paolella, Watkins & Munck showing well in the backs & the forward pack as a whole getting on top early & often at scrum time.
The game as a true rugby contest ended at the 4 minute mark of the 2nd ½ when the scrums were depowered & uncontested as the ravens replacement prop left the game with an ankle injury.
Rather than being replaced by the 5th nominated front row he was replaced by back row Matt Chan leading to uncontested scrums.
Amid much head scratching & confusion the game continued with the miserable wet day & difficult conditions leading to numerous knock on’s followed by depowered uncontested scrums.
The final 20 mins belonged to BLRC & despite being camped in the Ravens 22 they were unable to add to their score.
Thanks to the Ravens for the post game hosting of warm food & cold beer.
On a brighter note the boat race was contested !!!!
This Saturday BLRC is looking forward to contesting the Palmer Cup against Meralomas at Connaught in what should be a great day of club on club rugby to end the 1st half.