Burnaby Split Four Matches with Meraloma: Wins in Men's Premier and Women's Division
by Mike Devlin
BLRC 3rd Div Men 10 – Meraloma RFC 12
The days opening match was played in great spirit with a high level of aggression but little to none of it off the ball. The Lomas emerged from the shed ready to play and had the BLRC on the back foot from the beginning. If not for some spirited tackling by Trevor Flynn and Tom Menzies the Meraloma’s may have put up well more than the 7 first half points they scored. Halftime score 7-0.
In the 2nd half the game opened up a bit with Menzies hitting a 3 pointer but the Loma’s backline connecting for a converted try to lead 12-3. The final few minutes was pressure filled with Eli Bialowas scoring for Burnaby Lake and Hugo Marks converting, but the Lomas were able to hold off the final charge and win a turnover to claim the win.
A solid effort on both sides of the ball. The flanker duo of McCartney and Menzies were on fire all day and newcomer Hugo Marks showed well in the backline when he came on in the 2nd half. The Lomas pack were solid all day and the big centres cleared lots of space.
It was great to see the Lomas with a full bench. So many clubs struggle for players theses days but it seems that whatever the Meraloma’s are doing it’s paying off.
BLRC Women 43 – Meraloma RFC 13
A solid game that saw a spirited first 40 minutes which ended with the BLRC on top 17-10 (I believe. Both the 3rds and Women were playing at the same time, a full soccer field apart). As with all 4 Meraloma squads, their women’s team came out of the gates fired up and put the BLRC on their heels for the opening 20 minutes before the girls found their footing and pushed back.
In the 2nd stanza the Burnaby Lake Women took over with great set piece management up front and strong running and tight play in the backline. In the end the BLRC scored try’s though Gabrielle Hindley, Lauren Tagg, Katie Grudzinski, Annie Arnott, Brynna Walker, Shayna Slobin and Chelsea Rodgers. The BLRC are unfortunate to be losing 2 key players to foreign land as Annie Arnott is packing up and moving to Newfoundland and Gabrielle Hindley is headed down under to play rugby league for a season. We wish both players all the best and hope to see them back in Blue & White!
BLRC Premier Reserves 24 – Meraloma RFC 33
Not a good day for the BLRC Reserves. Between Friday and Saturday, the roster lost 4 key players to unavailability and call ups. Though the replacements are of high caliber skill-wise, the BLRC lost a lot of size which would be crucial against a big Loma XV. The Meraloma’s stormed out of the gates, putting 23 unanswered points on the board through sheer bullying. The BLRC were absorbing too much of the impact and found penalties whenever they tried to give some aggression back. Well played to the Loma Flyhalf who identified mismatches early and exploited them. He’s a solid player!
The addition of Steve Batie into the BLRC centres in the 2nd half added a shot in the arm for the team as did the inclusion of Hugo Marks late. Batie led the charge on defence and helped stop the Lomas attackers behind the gain line more often than not. With about 20 minutes to go, the BLRC brain trust finally found the Lomas “tell” and exploited it for 4 tries but time ran out on the comeback and after 9 straight wins the Reserves will have to stew on the loss for 2 months. The BLRC got 2 try’s from Captain Darren McCrory and singles from James Tucker and Luke Toroca. Hugo Marks added 2 conversions. Congrats to the Lomas, they were deserving winners on the day.
BLRC Premier Men 27 – Meraloma RFC 17
As in the other 4 matches, the Meraloma’s came out on fire, pushing the pace of the game ad pinning the BLRC in their own end for the opening 10 minutes. BLRC FB Brian Fitzpatrick took a run into 2 Loma tacklers and somehow emerged from the contact at full pace, the ball moved from Gino Paolella to Blake Steele who scored at the 10-minute mark. Fitzpatrick added the extras to go up 7-0.
At 31 minutes Reid Watkins would add to the lead, taking a short pass from Vikilani at the back of a 5m scrum and cutting through the Loma defence to score between the posts. Fitzpatrick’s conversion made the score 14-0. The Meraloma pack brought the home side back into the game, using strong mauling to push the ball to the BLRC goal line before their #6 fell over the line for a try! With the convert, the score read 14-7 which was your score at the half.
The 2nd half opened with a penalty opportunity for the BLRC just outside the Loma 22m and Fitzpatrick split the upright to go ahead 17-7. 8 minutes into the new half the Meraloma’s had a penalty opportunity of their own on the BLRC 5m and the Flyhalf tapped and found a gap in the BLRC backs, diving over for a try which he converted. 17-14. A few minutes later and a another BLRC penalty inside their 22, the Flyhalf splits the uprights to tie it at 17. With 20 minutes to go the BLRC would be awarded another penalty opportunity and Fitzpatrick gave his team back the lead. 20-17. With about 10 minutes to go the BLRC put the game out of reach through a method I have never seen before. The BLRC scrum were awarded a penalty about 9m out from the Loma goal. The big Meraloma #6 was slow to retreat and raised his hands to show he wasn’t obstructing play. Reid Watkins tapped and ran into the retreating flanker’s torso, using him as a blocker and pushing him back over his own goal line where Reid touched the ball down. The convert was good and so the BLRC lead 27-17 which was your final score.
The game was physical. The game was hard. Either team could have walked off with the win and the BLRC were fortunate to do so. Well played to the Meraloma’s who fought hard through all their teams all day long! Despite the cold and the rain, it was an enjoyable club day overall!
Many Teams~One Club