Burnaby Lake – April 2022

Burnaby Weekend Match Reports: Wins in Men’s Premier, 1st Div, 3rd Div and Women’s 1st Div

from Mike Devlin

BLRC on the road to Kamloops by Simon Smoldon

This past Saturday the 1st Div Men & Women of the BLRC boarded the 6am bus to Kamloops for 2 highly anticipated games of rugby at the fantastic new clubhouse & fields that the Raiders have set up. For many of our new players this was a 1st time experience & many were in awe at the landscape & vistas that the locals take for granted…

BLRC 1st Div Women 41 – Kamloops RFC 14

The ladies of the lake got the day under way & quickly got the scoreboard moving with tries from Jess Walrond converted by Chelsea Rogers. These were set up through the hard running of Rachel Choboter, Santina Luti & Katie Grudzinski in the centres. Great defence from the Kamloops team led by Erin Jensen in the centres prevented a further couple of scores as the ball was dislodged & knocked on with the line at our mercy. However, the continual blue & white pressure paid off as 2 further scores were added by Aly Govorchin & Jess Walrond for her hat trick. Kamloops got on the scoresheet just before the 1/2 with a penalty kick from Jess Oldenburger so it was 24-3 To Burnaby Lake at the break.

Both teams made changes at the 1/2 with Kamloops adapting quicker after the break. A strong 15 mins saw the Raiders add 11 points through a try & 2 PK’s & the game was evenly poised. Great defence & a key turnover from Francesca Andreoli, 5 metres from the Burnaby line prevented the raiders from eroding the 10-point cushion Burnaby had & as the game entered its final 20 mins no-one was sure of who the victor would be. As the score line shows it was Burnaby who pushed on & emerged victorious. A large part of this was down to the role the impact replacements Simone Savary & Nunu Holani made. They scrummaged strongly, gained yards whenever they carried & made punishing hits on defence.

This platform allowed for further scores from Gabby Hindley & Nina Boundy with a pk & converts from Chelsea Rogers for a 41-14 victory. Next week the ladies of the lake face off at home Vs Cowichan.

BLRC 1st Div Men 22- Kamloops RFC 15

The Men’s division 1 game was a very tight affair. Word on the sidelines was the Raiders had 7 front rows playing in the pack. With the indomitable Wes Black steering from the 8 man spot & with the ageless Chris Chan in the 12 spot it was apparent Kamloops were looking to keep the game narrow & force BLRC inside at all times. On the flip side BLRC looked to put width on the ball whenever they were able & for the 1st 20 mins executed well with tries for Kishan Karunathasan & Mike Gough following excellent territory gains & trusting the ball to beat the man. Unfortunately, some uncharacteristic poor handling in the backs resulted in squandered scoring chances which allowed the Raiders to get a foothold in the game with a try & convert by Greg Thomson after a multi-phase attack that left the Raiders with a man over.

At this time, scrum half Kishan Karunathasan had to leave the field with a shoulder injury & Tomas Forde stepped in as emergency replacement scrumhalf.  He was able to rely on the wiles & guidance of Nolan Shelley to navigate the game however it was now game on with neither side dominating for extended periods & the game being played out between the 22’s. Nolan Shelley was able to keep the scoreboard moving for BLRC with a penalty kick before 1/2 time & 3 in the second half & the Raiders tallied a try & an outstanding 40 yd PK from Greg Thomson to leave the score line at 22-15 to the blue with a few to play. Strong play from Wes Black & Nick Smith forced a turnover & penalty & with 2 mins to go the Raiders had the opportunity they were looking for. Raiders Coach Derek Pue reminded his charges of the 2 min drill they’d practiced all week & the game was in the balance & the crowd were hushed.

The raiders executed on the kick to touch and their lineout & drive which took them to 5 metres out fortunately/unfortunately depending on your preference there was a millimetre of separation on their next drive which allowed Chase McCrum to win a massive turnover for Burnaby & Nolan Shelley to clear the ball to the 1/2 way. A Blue & White steal at the lineout & the winning of a breakdown penalty allowed BLRC to tap & kick the ball out & claim a hard-fought victory.

Credit goes to both teams & in particular the 18-man BLRC roster that showed belief & resilience to gut out a close win in hostile territory. For BLRC Chase McCcrum had his best game in his young rugby career with his back row colleagues Cooper Johnston, Tom Rafuse & Jonah Fridfinnson not far behind.

For the Raiders Wes Black was a force to be reckoned with & Greg Thomson showed once again what a fine rugby player he is. Big thanks also to the match officials.

The post-game 3rd 1/2 was simply outstanding. Great food, great speeches & great hosting. The Raiders clubhouse, now complete, is fantastic & is a testament to the wonderful rugby & wider community that Kamloops enjoys. Friendships were renewed, new friendships & levels of respect established & as per usual BLRC finished 2nd in the 8-person boat race. The bus trip home was happy & joyous.

The BLRC Women’s team easily won the singing competition over their male counterparts. Next week the 1st div men play Cowichan at home & then hopefully playoffs.

BLRC 3rd Div Men 57 – UBC 0

This game had been circled on many BLRC 3rds calendars for a while. The two teams met early in the fall, and while the game was competitive, the BLRC came out on the losing end. Both teams were very young and the BLRC were the less experienced of the two. Now having had 6 months to learn the game, and bolstered by late season veteran rugby returnees, the BLRC 3rds would have their way with the smaller students, pushing in 8 try’s, 7 conversions and a penalty while allowing 0 points against. UBC were game until the end but just couldn’t get any momentum in the forwards and were pressured too much in the backs to get on the front foot. The BLRC saw try’s from Eli Bialowas, Dillon Cusker, Eoin Reddington, Mateo Carteri, Giuseppe Laudisio, John Decaire, Vishaal Kumar and Juan Ferrer while Reddington added 6 conversions and a penalty kick. Taylor Skwarok would add the final conversion.

Mateo Carteri touches down a try. Photo by Zach Lattie

The full game can be seen here: https://youtu.be/lo6e7EjKInE

The win marked the final regular season game for the 3rds, and they finished the season with 5 wins and 3 losses currently sitting with the 4th most points in the league, having fulfilled all their fixtures. However, due to a quirk (or failure) in the schedule/planning process, the team sees themselves on the outside of the playoffs, in 11th place behind teams that have played as little as 4 games. If Saturday was the end of the 3rds season, they were fun to watch and an honor to coach. Truly a great team!

Coach Devlin

BLRC Premier Men 24 – Vancouver Rowing Club 3

The Premier game kicked off and the weather turned, what had been a beautiful sunny day, ill-suited for the ginger amongst us turned cold, wet and windy, adding a new twist for the players. The VRC took the momentum early, the first 20 minutes dominated by the Stanley Park dwellers, but they were unable to convert it to points The closest they came was from a Duncan James interception at the BLRC 10m that was returned to the BLRC 5m. Though the BLRC fought off the close encounter, captain Neil Maclaine would be issued a yellow for slowing the ball down on the tackle. As they have been for much of the year, the BLRC would be saved by the speed of their back 4 (FB Brian Fitzpatrick, Wingers Kou Odaka and Jack Gelbart & #13 Ethan Turner) who can turn on any dropped ball in an instant.

Taitusi Vikilani over the ball. Photo by Zach Lattie

So it was, that after having virtually no possession for the first quarter of the game and down a man, the BLRC would get on the board first. The Rowers were spreading the ball through the backs inside the BLRC 22m at 26 minutes, but a pass went wanting and Odaka pounced on it, kicking the ball to about half. He was obstructed in his chase and the ref called a penalty. Fitzpatrick quick tapped, engaged contact and offloaded to Odaka who popped to the supporting Turner for 40m run and a score. Turner made the conversion to go up 7-0. Just before the break, Burnaby Lake struck again, this time on the other side of the field through winger Jack Gelbart. Jack made a break and grubbered the ball back infield where scrumhalf Dean “Monty” McMahon took the ball at pace and scored. Turner’s boot made it 14-0. On the final play before the break, the VRC were awarded a penalty in front of the BLRC posts and wisely took the 3 points to end the half 14-3.

Bryce Worden moves the ball forward

With 10 minutes gone in the 2nd half, the BLRC would strike again. The VRC had a goal line drop out after some prolonged play at their own goal line. The kick fell into Jack Gelbart’s hands just inside the 10m line. Jack avoided a handful of tacklers on his way to 5 points. The conversion had the distance but was a bit wide, so the score sat 19-3. The veteran Doug Breadon would get the bonus point try the old-fashioned way, dropping a shoulder and bulling through a gap in the defence from in close to make the score 24-3 which was your final.

A solid outing for both teams. The VRC were unfortunate not to score any tries with their possession and territorial advantage in the first 25 minutes, but the BLRC were unfortunate to have not scored more in the final 55 minutes. The BLRC had control of much of the open play and a significant advantage in the scrums. On the Rowers side of the ball, scrumhalf Dermot O’Meara gets the nod as Man of the Match in the back with 8-man Scyler Dumas getting the honor in the pack. On the BLRC side, a toss-up between Bryce Worden and Taitusi Vikilani in the forwards. Both went the distance, both had strong runs with the ball but I think that Vikilani will get the award as his x-factor (dynamic ball carrying) edges Wordens (extremely strong scrummaging). In the backs, the Man of the Match goes to Ethan Turner for the try, the kicks and some strong defending.

The full game can be seen here: https://youtu.be/VwZidDFPLUw

This week sees the Premier Men host the Pacific Pride. Th game will be live streamed on the BLRC’s YouTube channel at 2:45pm. This week I’ll be joined in the broadcast tent by Chris Atkinson.

Posted in BC Premier.