UBCOB Ravens – April 2022

Ravens Move On: Ravens 19 – Rowers 10

by Peter MacDonald

After another long layoff rugby resumed at Jericho with the #2 seed Ravens hosting the #7 seed Rowers in a quarterfinal matchup. The Ravens, missing a few of its leading players through injury and for personal reasons, were fortunate to get the win as it was a hard fought even game that definitely could have turned out differently. It was not a Picasso but a win is a win as they say.

The first half, in fact the whole game, was a tight affair with few long phases of continuous possession for either side as there were plenty of knock-ons, penalties, kicks to touch and lineouts that slowed things down. Nearing the end of the first half the Ravens were holding a 12-5 lead with both sides having scored through their forwards’ initiative. As the half was winding down the Rowers were knocking on the door and could have crossed the line on possibly four occasions. First Raven hooker Sean Pyle stole the ball in contact as the Rowers approached the line, then a VRC centre knocked on with the open try line metres away, then a Rower quick tap penalty 5 metres out was knocked on and finally the half ended with a VRC maul which crossed the line but failed to produce the ball. The Ravens were fortunate to be holding a lead at the half.

I’m sure the half time talk involved trying to play more expansive rugby but a combination of the Ravens’ difficulty producing it and the Rowers’ ability to frustrate it meant the second half was much like the first. The entrance of #8 Grant Crowell at the half though added another strong ball carrier and together with Jesse MacKail they took route 1 and put the Ravens at the Rower 5 metre line not long into the half. With a penalty awarded against the Rowers there, Crowell crashed forward to just shy of the line and, as the ball emerged, scrum half Alex Ball faked pass and then slammed the ball down one handed at full extension to bring the score to 19-5.

The Rowers deservedly answered at 63 minutes. A Raven player had entered a ruck from the side and the penalty was kicked to touch near the Raven line. The Rower lineout gave way to a series of crashes which ended with flyhalf/coach Duncan James sweeping to the blind side and dishing to the curly blonde haired replacement prop who stayed low and crossed the line with force, 19-10 Ravens.
Although the Rowers were superior in the sets and, in contrast with the Ravens, won their lineout ball consistently, they couldn’t conjure another score with the ball they had. Neither team produced any special moments and the defending bettered the attacks on both sides.

The VRC pack was strong with a big tight five. Local boy Cooper at prop and his Irish partner gave a solid foundation and the locks were big and were excellent lineout jumpers. James came on early to replace the injured #10 starter and managed the game well. The Ravens had only two players in the pack play the full 80 minutes, flanker Simone Etheve and prop Tom Kaijaks both of whom stepped up in defence with Kaijaks making some telling tackles near the end. Mackail, Crowell and Jacob Ikeda in the back row stood out as well.

The Rippers also advanced to a semi-final with a 54-15 win over UVic on Sunday at Jericho. Exciting winger Mark Wandeto had the hat trick. A tight game at the half, (15-12 Rippers) was blown open in the second half as the starters gave way to a strong bench which kept it going.

Looking forward to the Ravens/CW tilt this Saturday at Jericho which will be preceded by the Rippers hosting Abbotsford at Jericho as well, all on the same day!

Posted in BC Premier.