Burnaby Lake – January 2022

Burnaby Lake Match Reports: Wins in Men’s 3rd Div, Women’s 1st Div; Loss in Men’s Premier: MATCH VIDEOS

by Mike Devlin

BLRC 3rd Div Men 24 – Kelowna Crows 22

A great start to the 2022 Spring season, with two very evenly matched teams going back and forth for 80 minutes. The game decided only at the final whistle.

Kelowna are going to be a problem for any team in the league, especially at home. Their 10, 12, 13 trio wouldn’t look out of place in the BCRU 1st Division and their #13 might slide into many a Premier roster. The Outside Centre struck fear in the hearts of the BLRC coaches whenever he touched the ball. Both of Kelowna’s first half tries were set up by powerful runs from the big youngster.

The BLRC played a forward centric game that created space for the outside backs who accounted for all the Burnaby Lake points. The first half ended 15 -5 for the visitors with BLRC winger Taylor Skwarok accounting for the teams’ points. Skwarok scored his 2nd at the dawn of the new half with FB Kou Odaka adding another and a convert shortly thereafter. The Crows answered the bell with their big 2nd row rumbling over the try line to take back the lead, 22-17 with about 15 minutes to go.

The Blue & White controlled the play for the remainder of the game and with no time left, Winger Jack Brady found some space to score and tie the game. Odaka stepped up to bat from just inside the 5m line and slotted the game winner.

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

This week the BLRC 3rds head south to visit Bayside RFC at 12:45pm

BLRC 1st Div Women 75 – Oak Bay Castaway-Wanderers 0

The BLRC Women started strong and finished strong on Saturday, pouring in 13 tries in the opening match of the Spring. Newcomer Jess Walrond showed her skill accounting for 6 tries and 2 conversions. Scrumhalf Nikolina Boundy stood out in the game video, making a few timely tackles and keeping the offense going forward. The scrum looked good, the backs had pace and executed the gameplan well. A special nod should be given to Chelsea Rodgers who started the game at 6, moved to 8 and then spent some time in the centres all while hitting 3 conversions.

Francesca Andreoli on attack. Photo by Zach Lattie

Simran Gillar fends off a tackler. Photo by Zach Lattie

The BLRC women join the 1sts and 3rds at Bayside this week. Kickoff is at 11:15 am.

Tries: Walrond (6), Govorchin, Andreoli, Hindley, Boundy, Luti, Thomson
Con: Rodgers (3), Walrond (2)

The full game can be seen here: https://youtu.be/tPM4jLV8FIs

BLRC Premier Men 13 – Oak Bay Castaway-Wanderers 33

Not the start to the season that the BLRC coaches were hoping for but one that showed some potential. CW controlled much of the action and were deserving winners. Their pack led by Chisolm, Finnemore, Sponarski and Braddock are big + solid, capable of controlling the sets and making the breakdowns a pain for the opposition. Grady Bowd is as good as it gets in this competition at 10 and has an able supporting cast, including long-time BLRC player Daniel “Sunshine” Griffiths who played a great game at Outside Centre!!

Cooper Johnston brings down a CW ball carrier. Photo by Zach Lattie

Having watched the game a few times, the BLRC were in it until the end, but kept shooting themselves in the foot with a failure to execute at too many key moments. They left the Island with no points, where 2 points were very attainable which is tough to swallow, but if they can fix the mental side of their game, the physical side will carry them through a lot of wins this season.

CW took control of the action early, strong running bringing the ball into the BLRC 5m, where #5 John Humphries took advantage of some shoddy tackling for his 1st try of the season. Grady Bowd’s conversion made it 7-0 only 4 minutes in. At 20 minutes, CW tally for the 2nd time. The BLRC had a lineout on their own 5m and, it’s hard to say whether due to a lack of communication or a failure to execute, the throw went long… also no one jumped for it, save CW 8-man Cam Sandison who took it out of the air and dove over the try line. Bowd made the extras and so Oak Bay led 14-0.

Brian Fitzpatrick looking for touch. Photo by Zach Lattie

Burnaby Lake got one back off the kickoff, an errant pass in the CW backline bounced directly in front of Mike Gough, who kept his feet through a tackle attempt and popped the ball to his engine room partner Cooper Johnston at the CW 10m line. Coop won the foot race and scored. The convert was wide. 14-5 for the home side with 15 minutes to go in the first half. The BLRC struck again 8 minutes later. Winger Jack Gelbart picked off CW pass and the ball went through everybody’s hands over a few phases as the ball crossed to the other side of the pitch where it ended in Brian Fitzpatrick’s hands just outside the Oak Bay 22m. Brian took it in for a try to make it 14-10. Grady Bowd ended the half with a try, quick-tapping a penalty at the BLRC 5m and scoring in the corner. Convert good. Half time score CW 21 – BLRC 10.

Ethan Turner got the BLRC back on the board early in the 2nd half, slotting 3 points to make the score 21-13, but that would be all the scoring that the BLRC would do on the day. Johnny Cullen answered for Oak Bay. The winger touched down wide on the far side of the field after CW crashed numerous phases into the near side. The BLRC defended well and avoided penalties for half a dozen tackles but when the CW backline went wide they were one defender short. 26-10 for the home team. The Castaway-Wanderers would cap off their scoring for the day at 65 minutes with #12 Brandon Schellenberger finishing off a series of pick-and-goes near the goal posts. Bowd made quick work of the extras and it was 33-13 which was your final.

The game can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/Dto9HYwY6P0

Despite the loss and the aforementioned “brain farts”, there are a lot of positives to look at on the BLRC side. Mike Gough, Sean McKeown and Joey Tomlinson notwithstanding, it’s a young team with a ton of upside. They’re athletic and fast. Unlike BLRC Premier teams of the past, the team is capable in the sets but not the scrum-centric monsters we’ve fielded in previous seasons. Where this season’s team excels is in the open space and have proven to be lethal on turnovers both on Saturday and in the falls Coastal Cup season.

There are some standout players: James Catterson is a great rugby player. He’s as solid as they come on both sides of the ball and always keeps a cool head. Brian Fitzpatrick is dangerous with a bit of space. The guy has wheels and a nose for the try line which can’t be taught. Ethan Turner has returned to the club after spending the latter part of his teens in Abbotsford and is finding his voice at Flyhalf. Nik Hildebrand’s return to the Blue & White has garnered a lot of positive talk and he proved his mettle on Saturday. The fan favourite can scrum, tackle and has decent speed for a big man!

Lastly, the coaches are trying David Dinbandhu out in the back row with the goal of making him an 8-man. A great decision in my opinion. David is a big boy with a ton of speed. He doesn’t go backwards very often. With a bye week coming up for the team, I hope that the coaches give him a run at #8 in this week’s first Div game at Bayside to get him a bit more experience at the back of the scrum.

As the season progresses, we will look forward to the return of some familiar faces who suffered injuries during the fall to boost the depth of the lineup. I’d expect a few of them to be available in 2 week’s time when the BLRC host Capilano RFC. That game will be live streamed on the BLRC’s YouTube channel. Noted rugby mind, Aaron Takel will be joining yours truly in the broadcast booth. Hope to see you there!

Many Teams~One Club

Posted in BC Premier.