James Bay Rugby 2014

James Bay Athletic Association Creates History With 25th BC Championship Win

by Phil Meyer
posted May 12 2014

In the passage to the change rooms at historic MacDonald Park is a large mural – displaying JBAA’s twenty-four BC Championship Trophies – the year of each emblazoned thereupon. At practice and home games, our players glance at this Champions’ Mural going to and from the field – and in ways big and small, reflect on the Navy Blue athletes from the 127 years before, upon whose shoulders present-day players stand. On Monday, graphic artists from the Victoria Department of Parks will add a record 25th Rounsfell Cup to the Mural on the Wall.

Saturday, at Klahanie Park in North Van, the Bays took the champion field again. Five pathfinders: Spence Dalziel, Nolan Miles, Jim de Goede, Neil Meechan, Jordan Wilson-Ross – had walked this Champions trail before. Ten new-stars: Nick Wallace, Noah Barker, Cole Racine, Graham Harriman, Vince Herlaar, Pat Parfrey, Clayton Meeres, Nick Blevins, Taylor Dalziel and Dan Mathie – to be “blooded” in the crucible of this penultimate Canadian Club Rugby joust. The words of record setting coach Pete Rushton ringing in their ears as they ran out: “We’ve had a lot of history with this Cup! Go out today and create your own!”

So they did. Facing a strong Burnaby Lake team playing hard-edged rugby from start to stop, the Bays, led by the Blue Crush, established an “edge” in set and loose play – “managed” an adverse balance of penalty calls and non-calls – survived seven lead changes – and powered through to the 83rd minute, to give themselves a chance to win at the final whistle.

The day starts with strategy. Facing the roar from Burnaby-laden Klahanie stands, Coach Rushton puts his team through warm-up paces some two fields away – where the “roar” is diminished – there competing with traffic noises from the Capilano Road. Then back to the field for the anthem – and a “high” start: Nick Blevins powering left – passes through several hands – Jordan Wilson-Ross (selected as JBAA`s Most Inspirational Player for the 2013-14 season) high diving into the corner of the end zone for the score. Bays 5 – Lakers 0.

But through the day, the Lakers were not done – and not done – and not done. Mid-half, Burnaby star Admir Cejvanovic slices in to open Lakers` scoring. Geoff Ryan converts – the Lakers seize the lead: 7 to 5.

Eight more minutes – Dan Mathie faces a “sitter” penalty in front of the Pink posts. Mathie is a “courage” story among many on the day. Out from Ontario to join the Bays for the latter part of the season, he injured his “hammy” Wednesday last at an RC Langford run around – couldn’t practice Thursday with our Bays – wasn`t sure to start until the warm-up on the Capilano Road. But with Bays` kickers gone to London Town, Dan is the choice. Leg heavily taped, he faces the ball. The Bay sideline holds our breath. Kick is good! Bays 8 – Lakers 7.

Two minutes from half, the Blue Crush are at it again – powering to the Lakers` line – Jordan Wilson-Ross magically joining the Crush to burst up-gut, and score his second. Mathie converts! At the half: JBAA 15 – Burnaby 7.

Again, the Lakers are not done. James Reekie now in-game. At 50 minutes he is over for the score! Ryan converts. Burnaby now only one back: 14 to 15. They up their game. Approaching mid-half, Cole McQueen tallies near the corner. Lakers now have their second lead: 19 to 15.

Seven minutes more. A Harlem Globetrotter highlight from the Bays! The Bluebacks sweep right – passes go through several hands – Mathie finishes, deep into the Laker in-goal. Then, instead of touching down, he “alley oops” the ball back inside – a Burnaby hand tips it – and Eagle Graham Harriman, who has flown down the sideline in close support, grabs the ball out of high air – and falls to ground for the score! When asked about this, Mathie reported: “Our guys were yelling; “Go inside!” This is how a rookie progresses toward veteran. In any event, all was well that ended well. JBAA now 20 points; perhaps in control – Burnaby 19.

But in this hard fought game, control is always tenuous. Immediately following, a Bay is yellow carded for inappropriate reaction to a Pat Parfrey throttling – and Burnaby mounts a final fierce attack on the Blue goal. The Bays defended desperately – but with the miscreant set to return, the Lakers` efforts bare fruit, in the form of a successful Ryan penalty goal! Lakers now 22 – Bays 20. One and one-half minutes left. James Bay apparently cooked.

Bays kick off. Lakers (mysteriously) lose ball control. JBAA restarts with 45 seconds and the ball in hand. The Blue Crush, led by Nick Wallace and the rest of the tight five, “seize their history”! Pick and go! Pick and go! Pick and go! At the 81 minute mark, the Crush still has the ball – now at the Lakers 40 meter line. Pick and go! Pick and go! Pick and go! Eighty-two minutes gone. Crush still with the ball – now at the Lakers` 35. Pick and go! Pick and go! Pick and go! Whistle blows – a penalty at game’s end!

Mathie kneels at the Burnaby 30 – off center of the posts. This 21 year old was forced to kick the winning points two weeks ago to seal the deal against Castaway Wanderers. He must do so again today. Screams from Burnaby supporters in the stands pour down upon his head. Mathie draws a breath – puts boot to ball – through the uprights! He is a veteran now!

JBAA now has 25 Championships. Coach Pete Rushton has five of these in the past ten years! Bays observers rate this JBAA 23 – Burnaby Lake 22 result “among the best”. Such results only occur when opponents are exceptional. We salute the players of Burnaby Lake. It is damn hard to get to the BCRU Championship Final. It is harder still to win. Burnaby played hard and well. Perhaps, in the end, the difference was that some at JBAA have traveled this trail before – and better knew the way!

Post-game, the teams emerge to find that all food has already been eaten – all beer has already been drunk – and “game hosts” are well on with their packing to go home. Left with this, the Burnaby guys reportedly returned to their clubhouse. The Bays, with hours to kill before ferry-time, bus to the sands along the Tsawwassen Causeway, drink beer purchased on the way – howl at the moon – and celebrate together! Canada’s from across our vast country – Eagles from America – Champions All Together – North America’s Team!

*Bays’ Rugby Weekend: Ones End Season with Loss to Burnaby – Awards Banquet*

posted May 5 2014
by Phil Meyer

James Bay Athletic Association’s rugby weekend started Saturday afternoon across the pond in Burnaby, where the Ones came up short in a spirited match against the Mike James led Burnaby Lakers. Burnaby’s win came on two difference makers – a converted try two minutes in – and another at game’s end. The bigger Burnaby side never trailed, leading 19 to 7 at half time – and 29 to 14 at the final whistle. Canada U20 returnee Charles Debove scored both JBAA trys – which were converted by Lucien Nel.

Burnaby now goes on to play U Vic Norsemen next Saturday at Klahanie Park, in a repeat of last season’s Celli’s Cup final. Several Bays from this game will join their Premier comrades, in preparation for their BCRU Premier Championship tilt against Burnaby, also at Klahanie next Saturday.

The JBAA Ones rushed back to the Island on the 5:00 PM ferry – to attend the Annual JBAA Awards Banquet at the House of Bays. Amid the usual spattering of wit and alleged mirth, the following awards were handed out by Coach Pete Rushton:

JBAA Ones:

• Most Improved Player: Braedon Simmonds;
• Rookie of the Year: Mike Nieuwenhuysen;
• Most Inspirational Player: Nate Waldmann;
• Most Valuable Player: Kieran McAuley.

JBAA Prems:

• Most Improved Player: Noah Barker;
• Rookie of the Year: Rain Slavica;
• Most Inspirational Player: Jordan Wilson-Ross;
• Most Valuable Player: Spencer Dalziel.

The Bay Award, emblematic of “what it means to be a Bay” was awarded to Jake de Goede, Fight Night Heavyweight Champion, in the final stages of a two year rehab of an injured knee.

Pat Dunkley received the Bill Day Award, in recognition of his exceptional service to JBAA over the years.

Bursaries to help with post secondary education/training were awarded to Taylor Dalziel and Noah Barker.

Eagles Nick Wallace and Graham Harriman were each presented with a limited edition First Nation signed print, created specially by Roy Henry Vickers for JBAA’s 125th Anniversary.

This morning, the players and coaches are back to planning and training – work still unfinished – a week still to go.

And while this is happening, JBAA’s Phil Mack, John Moonlight, Connor Braid, Sean White and their Canada 7’s teammates have swept through undefeated to the final of the Scotland International Sevens Tournament in Glasgow! They play the Kiwi’s in the final later today.

Huddy Huddy You Canada Sevens!

*Bays Show Composure, Grit and Heart – Edge Castaway Wanderers 16-13*

by Phil Meyer
posted April 28 2014

With gnarled Bays’ champions of yesteryear growling and sunburned along the MacDonald Park sidelines, North America’s Team fights for ground and score – inch by inch – minute by minute – to edge a power-laden Castaway Wanderer squad by three at BCRU Premier Semi-final’s end. A dozen or so Canada’s on the field – two Eagles. No quarter asked – none given.

The Bays, playing down slope, started strong – Dan Mathie slotting a penalty goal five minutes in. At 18 minutes, center Nick Blevins breaks up field – the Blue Crush power further – Nolan Miles touches down in the left corner of the in-goal.

Twelve minutes from the half, Blue Crush – holding their own against the CW’s “Canada” pack – are back again – surging to the goal – Taylor Dalziel, playing in the centers for this game, touches town to seal the deal.

A sole successful penalty strike from CW’s Ander Monro brings the visitors back within 10 just before the half. JBAA 13 – CW 3.

In the first 30 minutes of the game, the JBAA Blue Crush – Nick Wallace, Noah Barker and Cole Racine at the front – Jim de Goede and Graham Harriman in the engine room – are playing the Black and Red’s even – or perhaps a little better. But, 30 minutes on, CW’s “Canada’s” – led by Barkwell, Tiedemann, Phelan and Ilnicki – step up to yet another gear – and both momentum and field position begins to shift. Fierce pressuring against the JBAA line. Determined – sometimes desperate – tackling from the Bays. Ilnicki finishing a CW maul at 47 minutes for a try. JBAA 13 – CW 8.

Then, some 25 minutes from the end, the CW tide slowly turns to ebb. With Black and Red’s still pressuring inside the JBAA ten meter line, Bays’ scrum half Spence Dalziel – aided and abetted by fellow wizard Neil Meechan – purloins not one, but two balls off the Castaway’s front foot – averting JBAA catastrophe – bringing Navy Blue defenders some reprieve.

As mid-half approaches, the Black and Red’s are still playing in the JBAA end, when they succumb to a pressure crack – in an event eerily similar to one a year or so ago, when Morgan Williams was slugged, a CW red carded, and the Bays surged to victory. In the now, a CW player stomps Clayton Meeres out in open play – flag up – red card – CW now playing the last 22 minutes 14 men against 15!

At this level, you can’t do that and win! Ciaran Hern does register the next score, diving over in the right corner – bringing CW back to tie – 13 to 13. But the CW pack, now playing 7 vs. 8, is losing their edge – and yard by up-slope yard, momentum and field position begin to favour Navy Blue.

And so, 11 minutes from time, young Dan Mathie lines up a technically straight forward penalty kick in front of the CW posts. This is his first time in the sky high pressure cauldron of the Hundred Years War! He takes a breath – strikes foot to ball. JBAA 16 – CW 13!

The final ten minutes are consigned to serious D on both sides of the play – but with the extra man, the Bays now in control. Then off to the House of Bays. Congrats and drinks all around between these ancient adversaries. Canada’s Nick Blevins is named “Man of the Match” for his strong play. It could have been any one of twenty. Strong men playing a hard game!

This is Serious Playoff Rugby! Winning is everything – and leads to higher challenge ahead. Losing is ultra-hard. It leads to the abyss – and to summer. The Bays now prepare for travel across the pond, where they will meet Burnaby Lake two weeks hence, in defence of their BC Premier Championship earned last season.

*JBAA Run – Fun – Win in the Sun at the Loma Dome*

by Phil Meyer
posted April 13 2014

On Saturday, JBAA traveled “overseas” to play this season’s final league games at the Loma Dome. The day started well, as, for the first time this spring, JBAA boarded a Spirit Class ferry, and were able to settle in for a champion’s breakfast in the Pacific Buffet.

At the Dome, the Bays poured in a sunshine-aided 131 points in the two games – desperately reaching for sunscreen as they went. It is thoughts of days such as this – sunshine – dry field – old friends on both sides of the ball – lots of score – that keeps us alive through the mud-spattered doldrum days of darkest winter.

In the early game, Dan Mathie leads the way. Another “hat” – now eight trys in three games! Mike Nieuwenhuysen, soon off to Kiwi Land, gets two. Ben Pluck gets two as well, and adds seven successful converts – 24 points on the day. Ben Johnson, back in the line-up after a stint of work in Red Deer, adds one. Skeeter Simmonds gets the other. Score at the half: 38-0. Score at the end: 59-7. Everybody gets to play! Everybody gets beer in the clubhouse after!

The Premier game starts with a bit of Blue Haze – fumbles – bumbles – strange bounces – and a Mike Hall penalty goal at 4 minutes. Post-game, Loma icon Gus Fumano opines: “We should have stopped playing then. We would have forfeited the game – but we could have said we finished our season ahead of the Bays!”

But the Lomas are a proud lot – and carry on. So do the Bays. Six tries in Half 1 – Six trys in Half 2. Three players – John Moonlight, Jake Webster and Clayton Meeres with “hats”. Single trys from Sean White, Jordan Wilson-Ross and Noah Barker. Twelve convert points from Connor Braid.

Moonlight scores his three within the first 28 minutes – taking speed of play to a higher level.

Braid at #10, White at #15, Blevins and Meeres in the centers – J-Ross and Webster on the wings – taking the ball and straightening, cutting through gaps, drawing tacklers – passing, looping , charging up the field. Multi-pass scores – attacks from 30 – 40 – 50 – 60 yards!

The Blue Crush also dominant – Bays, strong on D, allowing one quick-strike score by Loma forwards late in Half One. But this was a game for scoring! And score the Blue Backs did! For the Bays, 12 trys in all! At finish: JBAA 72 – Meralomas 8!

Mixed feelings in the Loma’s clubhouse after. Our Bays have played the Loma’s at Connaught Park – and at MacDonald Park – decade following decade following decade. Loma’s proud history is second only to the Bays as BC Premier Champs. Will we see this historic team again? The Fumano’s are still there. Brian Erichson is still there. Others stand by to help. All are determined. It may take awhile – but it is hard to bet against Loma history, going forward down our mutual rugby road!

Huddy Huddy Meralomas!

*Bays Nail Down Home Semi with Strong Effort Over Caps*

by Phil Meyer
posted April 7 2014

On Saturday at MacDonald Park – now a movie site for shooting Noah’s Ark – James Bay Athletic Association soldiered through the rain to overpower Capilano RFC 43 to 7. Caps are a solid team, featuring mauling forwards’ play, straight ahead attack off the sides of the scrum, and significant periods where they do not relinquish the ball. So it was for periods Saturday.

But the Blue Crush matched them maul for maul and bosh for bash – the Bays put in their most comprehensive defensive effort of the season – and the Bluebacks put in five of the seven JBAA trys in another highlight reel performance.

Scoring starts at 4 minutes, when the Crush power deep into the Capilano end of the pool, and Dan Mathie slices round the right corner to score. Nine minutes on, Nick Blevins takes a Spencer Dalziel feed to power over. Conner Braid converts. JBAA 12 – Capilanos 0.

The Caps continue to work on their patented grind game – and are rewarded with a fight-back try three minutes later. Rob Bowman scores – Matt Sims converts – back within five!

Half into the half, Connor Braid, deserving as BC Rugby News’ Man-of-the-Match, sets the Bays on their way. Fifty meters out, the Caps mishandle – ball tapped goal-ward by a JBAA foot – Braid dribbles the ball some final 30 yards – dives on it in the end zone. Connor conversion. Prems 19 – Caps 7.

Eight minutes from the half, Mathie takes a wide miss-pass from Braid, and scoots over for his second score (his fifth in last two games). Connor converts. Score at the half: JBAA 26 – Capilano 7.

Half two sees several Capilano threats – but the Bays are putting in some thundering tackles – and the scoring is all basic Blue. Clayton Meeres races in at six minutes – also on a set-up from Braid. Connor converts. Bays up by 26.

And as the Blue Crush gain steam, Nick Wallace scores seven minutes from time – while Taylor Dalziel, playing at flanker in this game, notches the Crush’ second score – and Bays’ seventh – just before the end. Jeff Williams, quarter-back of last season’s Rounsfel Cup triumph, is now in the game. He “just misses” on Taylor’s try – saying: “I would have got it if I was just a little younger”. Final whistle: Bays 43 – Caps 7. All off to the clubhouse for beer and Power Aid!

The Bays and the Caps share a long history of respect. On the field throughout this rain spattered trial – and in the “bubbling” House of Bays after.

Capilanos 21 – JBAA 7:

In the Celli’s game, Caps rode solid scrum power to a deserved win. The Bays hung in, seeing glimpses of hope through to Caps’ last try at the final whistle. Jake Webster, just back from Canada 7’s duty in Japan and Hong Kong, scored the sole JBAA try – Ben Pluck converting. With the win, Caps now stand in second in Division 1 play. JBAA remains in fourth.

Next week, the Bays travel across the water – to Connaught Park to play the Lomas in this season’s wind-up. Caps return home to host Burnaby.

*Bays Edge Forward in High Scorer at Brockton Oval*

by Phil Meyer
posted March 31 2013

On Saturday at Stanley Park’s Brockton Oval, the two longest lived rugby teams in British Columbia took to a rain-drenched field to once again renew their 100+ years of battle. JBAA, with a record 24 Rounsfell Cups under their belt, is again in the thick of BCRU Premier play. The Rowers, following a few flat years, have returned to the Premier League, and are ascending. Stepping up from BCRU Division One, and competing well at this higher level, is immensely difficult. Evidence shows that Rowers, with five wins already in hand, have set their own stage for ongoing success as a BC Premier team.

The Oval was soft and wet for the game – the greasy ball favouring defenders – the greasy turf seemingly favouring offenders, as once an attacking cut was made, too often, covering defenders had trouble doing more than slipping and/or falling down.

From the opening whistle, the Oarsmen signal this game would be no swim in the Park – the ball going skittish from a Navy Blue attack – Kevin Gurniak kicking it through to the end zone – beating everybody to it! Forty seconds gone. Rowers 5 – Bays zip. Bays’ sideliners muttering.

It takes JBAA 140 seconds to strike back – Dan Mathie, in at fullback for a hammied Pat Parfrey, snaring a Nick Blevins pass and sprinting to the score. Connor Braid converts. Navy Blues 7 – Oarsmen 5.

Sixteen minutes in, the Bays score again – Spence Dalziel’s quiet cut to the short side from the base of his scrum leaves Rowers sprawled, as he goes 15 meters to the line. Bays now up 12 to 5.

But the Rowers are not one and done. They fight back for two scores: a forwards’ bosh at 20 minutes, finished by Quinn Cowie – then a score five minutes later by Romain Plantey, convert by Darren Harris. Rowers now ahead 17 to 12.

The Blue Crush continues to edge forward through the slosh and slop – hiccupping backs still threatening. Nine minutes to half – Braid cuts up the field – passes off to front rower (and former Rower) Noah Barker, who powers to the goal. Braid converts. Bays back up by 2.

As halftime looms, Mathie gets his second – Blue Crush powering toward the line – Mathie slashing through as half time blows. JBAA 24 – Rowers 17. More scores to come.

Half Two. Blue backs are taking better care of ball, and finding footing. Three minutes in, Taylor Dalziel, Jordan Wilson-Ross and Nick Blevins concoct some backfield lightning – Dalziel finishing for the score. Braid converts. Bays 31 – 17.

The Rowers, oars still in the water, continue to work hard. Connor Leduc scores at 46 minutes. Brian Derham follows with a penalty kick. George Richmond adds a five-pointer at mid-half. The Oarsmen are now within one: Bays 31 – Rowers 30!

But on this day, the Rowers strong effort to win the prize fell one half of a half short – with the final 20 minutes pretty much Blue Crush and Bluebacks. Sixteen minutes from time, Braid, Blevins and Wilson-Ross electrified spectators with another multi-pass attack – Braid looping round to finish off with a slide-across into the right corner – then lofting a prodigious sideline convert through impeding rain.

Six minutes from time, another multi-pass Blueback attack – Mathie finishing in the corner to get his “hat”. Three minutes more – Taylor D gets his second – slicing in on an inside pass from Sterling Vidalin. Braid converts – his 6th on the day. JBAA 52 – Rowers 30 at the end.

JBAA Ones 30 – Rowers 17.

The early game featured less slop and slosh – as the rain only began with an opening whistle signal from the referee. Play was fairly even throughout. But at the end, the Bays played even on defence – and showed a bit more offence – notching a 30 to 17 win – and cementing their fourth place finish in Celii’s League play.

Ben Pluck opened JBAA scoring at 14 minutes, off a strong initiating run by Braedon Simmonds. Rowers scored back at mid-half. The Bays added two before half-time: by Blake van Heyningen at 36 minutes; then Connor McRae from Simmonds three minutes further on.
At the hall: Bays 15 – Rowers 5.

An early penalty goal by Pluck, then a try from Mike Nieuwenhuysen pulled the Bays away. Two fight-back trys from Rowers gave them hope. But a final JBAA try by T.K. Barnes ceiled the Navy Blue deal. Both kickers pretty much ignored converts – each getting one.

Then off to what must be the most scenic clubhouse in Canadian rugby, set along Vancouver’s Cole Harbour. Good hospitality from the Rowers. Good talks and lots of lies with old rugby friends. Then dash to the ferry and home.

Bill Meechan, our JBAA Ones coach, summed up the day best.

“Yes it was sloppy out there. But scoring 82 points in two games is a lot of rugby fun!”

Rowers, whose two teams scored an additional 47, might say the same.

*Burnaby Lake Wins by Inches: JBAA 21 – Burnaby Lake 26*

by Phil Meyer
posted March 24 2014

Playing time gone at MacDonald Park! Bays’ Blue Crushers slamming at the Lakers’ line! A final plunge – Nolan Miles thinks he’s got it! The official’s, unaided by video replay, decide “two inches short”. Whistle blows. Burnaby Lake 26 – JBAA 21!

So ends probably the best game seen at The Mac this season. With two powerful scrums surging back and forth, giving each other no quarter, it was the backs who were on display on the day. The difference maker: Lakers’ #10 Geoff Ryan spotting a pinching JBAA wide defense – launching a well placed attacking kick to the left sideline – into the happy arms of Evan Thomas, who canters in to score. TWICE!

The Bays get off at a gallop. Connor Braid, playing a penalty advantage, drop-kicks the ball through the uprights from 35 meters in the opening minute. Three minutes later, Pat Parfrey comes into the line from fullback to take an inside pass from Nick Blevins to score. Braid converts. Bays 10 – Lakers 0.

Lakers continue to battle. Six minutes in, the first Ryan-to-Thomas aerial bomb catches the Bays flat footed. Ryan converts. Bays 10 – Lakers 7.

Still in the first 20 minutes, JBAA continues to roll. Braid kicks his first penalty goal. Then a passing attack from Braid to Jordan Wilson-Ross sets Parfrey in for his second try. JBAA 18 – Burnaby 7. The teams, led by their smashing-bashing forwards – and serious defensive play in the centers – continue to clash, with no reward into half time.

Second half sees the Lakers playing down field – exerting pressure. At 21 minutes, James Reekie powers over. Three minutes later, the Ryan-Thomas over-the-top combo strikes for their second! Ryan converts both. Lakers have sprung ahead – 21 to 18. The mainlanders continue their press – and nine minutes from time, Thomas gets his “hat” – diving over again on the left side. Lakers now have a “two score” lead: 26 to 18.

This seems to wake the Bear up – and the last minutes are all Bays. Five minutes from end, Braid slots another penalty goal, bringing his team back within a one score reach. Then, in the last three minutes – now playing with a man advantage – the Bays ratchet up attacks on the Laker line. That’s where the game ends. Two inches to score. No more time to do it.

Then to the House of Bays. Lakers, who seem to have clinched first place in Premier League play, quietly elated in taking a measure of revenge for last year’s Champions’ loss – talking of revenges still to come. Bays disappointed – but unbowed – now five points clear in second place – still with serious work to do, if JBAA is to earn a “get-back” chance at season’s end. Congrats from both teams to the other – and to the referee, who managed the testosterone well on this day of outstanding rugby combat.

Burnaby Ones 33 – JBAA 5.

In the early game, Burnaby rode a dominating performance by their scrum to a five-try 33 to 5 win over the Bays. JBAA tackled well throughout – but the Lakers denied them ball through much of the afternoon. Sole JBAA points were by Blake van Heyningen on a charge to the goal line mid-second half. This result sees first place Burnaby five points up on Norsemen in Celii’s Cup play. The Bays are in the fourth and final playoff spot – eight points ahead of Rowers. JBAA will travel to Brockton Oval next Saturday.

*James Bay Ones Improve Chances for Playoffs: Bays 32 – Norsemen 15*

by Phil Meyer
posted March 16 2014

On Saturday at Wallace Field on the U Vic campus, JBAA Ones solidified their hold on the fourth and final playoff spot in Celii’s Cup play with a dominating 32 to 15 win over Norsemen. The game featured the return of two former Prems – Scott Humphrey, from the Bays’ Canada Club Championship win in Edmonton some years ago – and Neil Meechan from last season’s BC Championship squad.

It was the JBAA defence – led by Rain Slavica (who had to step in for Olde Star Andy Foster), and Sterling Vidalin up front, that determined results on the day. Mike Niewenhuysen opened the JBAA scoring in the first minute – racing 45 meters, stiff-arming one would-be tackler – scoring in the right corner. Sloppy ball control and silly penalties stopped the Bays cold for the next 28 minutes – until Meechan cut up field and put Ben Pluck away on a 40 meter jaunt for a second try. Brandon Sidhu-Sherer completed first half scoring from a maul. JBAA 15 – Norsemen 3.

JBAA scored again in the first minute of half two, when Eddy Adams passed wide to T.K. Barnes, thence to Braedon Simmonds, who powered over on the left side. Adams, who struggled with his kicks at goal on the day, converted.

Nieuwenhuysen notched his second on a 30 meter power run eight minutes on – and Joel Gusdal finished off – on a spin wide pass from Adams.

The last 20 minutes saw Bays – now a man (and in one instance two) short – play defence – yielding two Norse trys – but managing through to the final whistle.

Next Saturday, JBAA – both Ones and Prems – host Burnaby Lake at MacDonald Park. The Norsemen will rejoin Vikes and travel to Meralomas.

*Bays Start Well – End Well – in Battle of Jericho*

by Phil Meyer
posted March 3 2014

On Saturday at storied Jericho Beach, JBAA scored two trys in the first 14 minutes – and another two in the last six – on the way to a 33 to 19 victory over Ravens. In between, UBCOB’s enjoyed significant possessions of ball. They also notched four penalty goals to none for the Bays – an approximate indicator of whistling balances on the day.

At outset, the Bays looked like they would continue their rollover play against the Ravens of two weeks prior. Aspiring Eagles’ lock Graham Harriman finishes off a Blue Crush surge to goal ten minutes in – powering over for the first JBAA try. Connor Braid, whose kicking at goal was impressive on his chances, converts. At 14 minutes, Braid – playing at #13 – breaks up field – delivers a fierce straight arm to a would be tackler – and sets up Jordan Wilson-Ross, who gallops in to score. Braid converts. Bays 14 – Ravens 0.

Over the years, the Ravens have proved a courageous lot – and riding on the wind of a series of penalty awards – their tails come up – while some confusion creeps into the Bay side. At 34 minutes, Adam McQueen slots a Raven penalty goal – the first of four on the day. Then another at the half time break. Bays 14 – Ravens 6.

Immediately in half two, the Bays find themselves playing two men down. The Ravens capitalize: another McQueen penalty two minutes in – an Alex O’Doul try squeezed in at 7 minutes, McQueen converting. The Bays early lead now overcome: Ravens 16 – Bays 14.

The Ravens are coming on – surging in the loose – Bays hanging on grimly. Then, slowly, the English Bay tide begins to turn – led by Spence Dalziel, Man-of-the-Match Vinny Herlaar, and the Bays’ “nationals”. Mid-half, Dalziel and Herlaar combine on a nifty run and gun, setting winger Charles Debove away for his debut Premier League try – the play covering 70 yards. Braid converts. Bays back up 21 to 16. Nine minutes later, McQueen notches his 4th penalty. Bays 21 – Ravens 19.

Then, with 6 minutes to go, a return to early game fireworks as the Bays find another gear. Jack Smith, playing at #8, breaks sharply from a Blue Crush maul to score. A minute from time, Herlaar gets off on a 40 meter power gallop to tally down the left side. A final Braid convert. JBAA 33 – UBCOB 19.

An added feature on Saturday was the presence of Hall of Fame referee Al Hudson on the sideline. It is always a pleasure to see Huddy – even though the rumour that the Bays’ tribal greeting is named after him is false.

This game served as a reminder – if any was needed – that the Ravens are for real – and that they play a hard game. Next week they travel a few blocks to Connaught Park – attempting to improve their playoff aspirations against Lomas. The Bays’ Prems will travel to the U Vic campus to face Vikes.

JBAA Ones 48 – Ravens 7: In the early game, Clayton Meeres, playing down due to the BCRU’s carded numbers dictum, leads the Bays to a 48 to 7 win. Jake Webster takes a Meeres pass six minutes in to score. Eddy Adams trys off of Bays’ pressure. Meeres breaks 25 yards up field to set up a Ben Pluck score. Meeres scores his own – a 45 meter jaunt through pretty much “everyone”. Blake van Heyningen brake dances to the goal for the Bays’ 5th try. Adams goes 4 for 5 on converts. Score at the half: JBAA 33 – Ravens zero.

Adams gets his second try 4 minutes into half two. Ravens get a converted tally five minutes later. Kai Lloyd scores near mid-stanza. Kerry Park powers over at the final whistle. JBAA Ones 48 – UBCOB Ravens 7.

The JBAA Ones will rest next Saturday – moving their contest against Norsemen to March 15 – to assist U Vic numbers next weekend.

Posted in BC Premier.