Ravens Bring It against Westshore 69-19
by Peter MacDonald
On a mild, dry afternoon at Jericho the Ravens’ warm up looked focussed and high tempo and there appeared to be some intent amongst the players to improve the standard after a disappointing outing the previous week. Westshore hung with the Ravens for the first 25 minutes but the Ravens’ had carried that intent and tempo into the game and their mobility and speed were too much for the visitors over the full 80 resulting in an eleven try to three score and a decisive win.
Jeff Vreys opened the scoring early when he was put away with a nice draw and give by flanker Matt Chan. Westshore quickly answered through centre Isaac Gonevou who beat the first tackler and cut in emphatically under the posts, 7-7 at 10 minutes. After Vreys punched in another try at 15 minutes things settled down and Westshore had its best run of play. They were strong in the sets and attacked well off of lineouts with extra backs in freeing fullback Taylor McGuire on the outside to ramble for big yards. But at 25 minutes an excellent team try by the Ravens was a dagger. No 8 David o’Donoghue picked from a set at midfield, Simone Etheve in support then laid off to lock Niall Hannon who drove straight north. James Carson and again Eteve handled it on its way left to the backs where centre Michael Nevin sent the final pass to Tarzan MacKay Cantin whose bobble ended up moving nicely on into Michael Hogan’s paws in stride for the try in the left corner, 19-7 Ravens.
Three more Raven tries followed before the halftime whistle: Colby Mason powered in from close range, Aaron McLelland took a gap……… the last two defenders waiting on him never had a chance, and Hogan turned a tackler inside out and sent Nevin in for the finish after the Westshore defence had become unmoored. Westshore then tallied from a set scrum and pick and go sequence from their powerful forwards to close out the half at 38-14 Ravens.
It was more of the same in the second half. The Ravens were allowed too much time and space and were able to take advantage of mismatches in open play. McLelland attacking an isolated front row forward is unfair. He rounded one as the old time hockey analyst Howie Meeker used to say “like a hoop around a barrel” on his way to his second try. Prop Jake McLachlan crossed the whitewash twice, first on a tray from McLelland and second on merit.
The visitors took it on the chin but hung in for a third try of their own and played with respect despite the score as the game wore on. Both sides were in good spirits in the clubhouse as Coach Thompson and others renewed friendships with some Westshore BC Bears from last summer. Good luck the rest of the way boys.
O’Donoghue led for the Ravens with his all round game and his runs from kickoffs. The backs showed that there is more than one danger man and that they each have their own qualities: Mason - strength, Vreys - speed and determination, Hogan - intelligence and anticipation and McLelland the whole package. Nevin back from injury showed off his twinkle toes, his passing and a bit of mischief as he ushered in a brief scuffle near the end and then drifted away into the background avoiding a possible yellow card. Tarzan went down with a serious arm injury and may be lost for a while unfortunately as he was really stepping up for the Ravens of late.
Next week it is Nanaimo at home to close out a three game home stand. See you there.