James Bay AA - February 2020

February 10 2020


Bays Within Five at Burnaby in BC Premier - Face Ravens Next Weekend

from JBAA Media

Yesterday the James Bay Rugby teams left on the 9:00 am ferry heading to the mainland to play Burnaby Lake Rugby Club. The Bays were forced to give up a home fixture after being notified by the City of Victoria that MacDonald Park would be closed for another week, despite the fact there have been no games played on the park since November.

Upon arriving at the fields, it became blatantly obvious why the condition of the Burnaby fields is so superior....they included a drainage system when the fields were re-turfed, while Victoria did not. So until such time that the water evaporates on MacDonald Park, it remains a seagull sanctuary.

In the Premier Reserve game the BLRC demonstrated their depth, while underscoring the reason they sit atop the standings in this league, by overwhelming the young Bays. Burnaby had a mature and well-coached team, strong in the forwards and pacey in the backs, rolling up 13 tries, while the Bays managed only a solo try by young JT Boehme. Full credit to Burnaby for their impressive performance. JBAA can take some solace in the fact that three of our U19 players held their own while making their first appearances in the men's league; young Logan Auringer in particular.

Although a number of Bays' stalwarts were unable to make the trip because of work commitments, the return of Mike Nieuwenhuysen from suspension and, in particular, the addition of Cooper Coats from the sevens program, would be of significance in the Premier game.

The beginning of the Premier game saw Burnaby open the scoring early on; a nifty kick ahead was recovered by a streaking winger who touched down to give the home team a 5-0 lead with barely five minutes gone. After the re-start, Burnaby continued to press in the visitors' half until Carson O'Sullivan broke through on a 50 metre sprint-and-bosh to relieve the pressure. Back and forth play was restricted to the midfield for the next 15 minutes until a 45 metre romp by Jordan Austin got the Bays deep into Burnaby territory where a Burnaby offside allowed Cooper to slot three points for the Bays. Almost immediately after, Burnaby replied with their second try to jump into a 10-3 lead. A Burnaby offside near centre gave Cooper another chance at goal two minutes later. He was successful on this 45 metre attempt and the score narrowed to 10-6. Again the home-town crew pressed into the James Bay end, but were thwarted by solid and committed tackling. However, with one minute to go in the half, an errant pass from a James Bay scrum went into the dead ball zone and Burnaby was given a scrum on the Bays' 5 metre line. Several pick-and-go's later, Burnaby took a 15-6 lead into the half time break.

The second half began with spirited and hard-hitting rugby by both teams with neither gaining any serious advantage. An unfortunate injury resulted to veteran Ben Johnson who had to leave the game 10 minutes into the half with a ruptured bicep, effectively ending his season. Burnaby extended their lead after opting for a scrum following a Bays' offside penalty and they are able to extend their lead to a seemingly insurmountable 22-6. However, a cheeky kick ahead by Cooper 5 minutes later allowed a streaking Aaron Evison to gather the ball and score between the posts. The convert brought the score to 22-13. Play continued to be rough and entertaining with both teams defending valiantly. At one point with the Bays pressing, a scuffle occurred and a Burnaby winger, after becoming slightly unhinged, is presented with a red card for his efforts. The penalty and ensuing lineout results in a JBAA possession, ultimately allowing Mike Nieuwenhuysen to power over for the try. Coats converts and the score is now 22-20 with the potential for an upset clearly in the air. At the 30 minute mark Burnaby kicks a penalty to extend their advantage to 25-20. James Bay continues to press, while the home team vigorously denies. A chance to kick a penalty in front of the posts is awarded to the visitors, The Bays quickly reject the kick and go for the whole enchilada with a tap and go, without success, as an ensuing maul is held up and a turn-over results. Moments later, the Bays have a final chance after a line-out win is quickly handled in the backs where a 3 on two overlap is created. A jarring tackle by a Burnaby defender pops the ball loose and the game is effectively over. Darn.

This game had lots of excitement and drama. Congratulations to Burnaby on their win. Next week the Bays travel to Jericho to play the UBC Ravens.

Pemberton Holmes
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