Burnaby Split Matches with Ravens in Premier and Reserves: Match Reports and Match Videos
by Mike Devlin
A deluge of rain throughout the province and unfriendly Coquihalla weather unfortunately led to the rescheduling of 1st Division Women and 3rd Division Men’s games vs Kamloops RFC on Saturday. Both teams get another week of preseason training before stepping onto the pitch for the first time in 2020 this weekend. The BLRC Women are home to Scribes RFC while the 3rd Army are on the march out to take on Chilliwack RFC.
BLRC Premier Reserve Men 70 UBCOB 8
The game began with a penalty try for the BLRC forwards followed by UBCOB hitting a 3 pointer at the 7-minute mark to make the score 7-3. After that, however, it was one-way traffic for the home side. The BLRC ranks were bursting that day and the Reserves would be assisted by the addition of Chris “Bubba” Atkinson who was unable to play in the Premier game due to prior engagement but offered his services to the 2nd XV for 60 minutes. Chris dominated the scrums (As you would expect), laid out some big tackles (As you would expect) and ran through the open field like a winger (unexpected) to score a beautiful try and set up a few more. Chris was recognized b the Ravens as MOM and I wouldn’t disagree. In addition to the penalty try, the BLRC added 11 more scores with Giuseppe Laudisio, Ben Chater, Darren McCrory and Cole McQueen each earning 2-a-piece. Singles from Mike Gough, Andrew Porter and Atkinson along with 4 conversions from Nolan Shelly topped off the BLRC scoring. For the UBCOB’s 8-man Matt Chan was the standout on both sides of the ball and scored a nice 2nd half try. A good game for the BLRC Reserves to get the ball rolling on the 2020 campaign. They expect a sterner test this weekend when they travel to Victoria to take on James Bay.
Andrew Porter on attack vs UBCOB. Photo by Pj Carr images
The full game can be seen here: https://youtu.be/-_LL6lBf4Is
BLRC Premier Men 19 – UBCOB Ravens 29
There’s coming out of the gates flat, and then there’s how the BLRC entered Saturdays Premier match. Almost rolling backwards. The Ravens backs are top notch, led by Sandover-Best, McLelland and Mason. Physically and mentally, as good as it gets at the Premier level. They led there team up FAST on defence after every breakdown or set and stifled the BLRC backs before the ball was in Flyhalf Geoff Ryan’s hands. It’s tough to put a play together when the defenders are already in the channels. The Ravens were also fast on attack, taking the opportunity for quick taps whenever possible and didn’t give the BLRC any time to adjust. Much credit to their coaches and team leaders on the explosive attack. The first 40 minutes of the game was painful to watch from the Blue & White sideline as the Ravens poured in 4 try’s and achieved a bonus point before the break to lead 26-0. Although there were glimmers of hope starting at the 20-minute mark, any momentum from the BLRC was lost due to slippery fingers, failed lineouts or simply passing the ball to a Raven defender who was in the way. The Ravens first try came from veteran winger Jeff Vreys who took a flat pass from a teammate inside the BLRC 22m. He feigned right and cut back hard to the left, encountering heavy traffic at the goal line but stretching out for the try only 5 minutes in. The kick would fall just short but be the only miss for Colby Mason on the day.
At 9 and a half minutes the Ravens would strike again. The BLRC were penalized at their own 5m for holding onto the ball in a ruck. Mason (I believe) quick tapped and was brought down just short of the line. James Carson quickly grabbed the ball and crossed the paint for a try. Mason’s convert put the visitors up 12-0 less than 10 minutes in. Not a good start for the home team. With a little under 16 minutes gone, Aaron McLelland found a seam in the BLRC defence and sliced through it, popping to Sandover-Best at the try line for another try. Mason’s kick made it 19-0. A break in the scoring for 20 minutes where the BLRC seemed to find their feet a bit and showed glimpses of what would occur in the 2nd half, with a more straight ahead attack that didn’t allow the Ravens backs to pinch in the centers but, as mentioned in the first paragraph, no points to show for it. Eventually after the 20-minute stalemate, the Ravens had worked the ball back inside the BLRC 22m and another BLRC penalty was quick-tapped by James Carson who scored his 2nd try of the day! Mason made it 26-0, which was your score at the half.
Lucas Albornoz with the SBW offload. Photo by Pj Carr images
Adjustments were made during the break which seemed to wake the Burnaby Lake players up and the momentum shifted to the BLRC forwards. In the 2nd half it would be the shoulders of Albornoz, Kelly, Toi and O’Toole who would do most of the heavy lifting in the comeback. The forwards acted like pistons on either side of the breakdown, and sucked in the tiring UBCOB defenders, creating space in the backline for Dan Josok, David Dinbandhu and Hayden Munck to gain yards and score tries. In the end if would be a little too little and a little too late, but the blueprint to victory was laid out there.
Right off the kickoff, the BLRC were in the driver’s seat. Hard runs from Watkins, Kelly and Albornoz set up a long chip from Geoff Ryan which was recovered by Dan Josok at the UBCOB 5m. One phase through the forwards and then the ball went back to Dan Josok, all alone on the short side for a try. Geoff Ryan made the difficult kick from the sideline and it was 26-7 with 5 minutes gone in the half. The next 20 minutes were all BLRC but the Ravens always found a way to keep the BLRC out of the end zone. Finally, at 24 minutes of the 2nd half Reid Watkins cut further into the lead when he took a pass from Lucas Albornoz near the Ravens goal line and dove over for a try. Geoff Ryan made quick work of the conversion and now it was 26-14. Jamie Kelly was the catalyst on the BLRC’s last try of the day. Jamie spun off from the back of a maul and made decent yards, bringing the ball into the Ravens 22m. The ball was swung wide from the breakdown to Dan Josok who was all alone and dove in for his 2nd try of the day! The convert was just short on that one and the score stood 26-19 with about 13 minutes to play. Alas, with about 10 minutes to go, the Ravens had pushed into the BLRC 22m for the first time in that half and the BLRC gave away a penalty at the breakdown, clearing the way for Colby Mason to put the nail in the coffin with 3 more points. Final score 29-19 for the Ravens.
Pileup at the goal line. Photo by Pj Carr images
A closer game in the end than first half viewers would have predicted. I know the BLRC players I spoke to after the game felt that they perhaps could have or should have taken the win but not for the “we should have’s” and “what ifs” and there certainly is some truth to that but the Ravens were also deserving winners. Their premier team played basically iron man rugby with only one spare (that I counted) so with a few more fresh legs, perhaps they could have shown a bit more energy in the middle 35 minutes. Colby Mason stood out to me in the backs and James Carson in the forwards while Jamie Kelly and Dan Josok did the same for the Blue & White.
The full game can be seen here: https://youtu.be/JsSNm1qpj5I