UBCOB Ravens – April 2024

Ravens Through to Final Ravens 24 – UBC 13: Report by Peter MacDonald

For the third year in a row the Ravens were hosting a BC semi-final at Jericho and, having failed to advance in the previous two, hopes were high that it would be third time lucky. On a wet day against a confident UBC side the Ravens were put to the test but they prevailed and will head off to the final for the first time since 2019.

All the scoring came in the first half and, although it was four tries to the Ravens and one to UBC, possession, territory and initiative favoured UBC slightly as it did in the second half as well. At the quarter mark it was 13-10 UBC. Two penalty goals bracketed a Takoda McMullin try in which he burst onto a pop pass down the right sideline and cut back to score under the posts untouched. The first early Ravens’ try came from an Aaron Mclelland dish to Cole Keffer while the second capitalized on a UBC loss of concentration. From the kickoff following UBC’s try the UBC catcher knocked it on and it was played by a teammate in front in an offside position denying the Ravens’ forwards possession. The penalty was kicked to touch and from the lineout it was mauled in with Joe Locke touching down at the back.

UBC then carried play to the Ravens for a spell running their patterns and putting the Ravens under pressure. Two saving tackles by Mclelland, one at the left corner flag on UBC’s big, speedy outside centre Alistair Marshall, and one in the right corner denied tries. At 30 minutes the Ravens’ #9 Sam Walton-Sexton was binned as he infringed at a UBC attacking ruck near the Raven line. But the Ravens’ defence held firm and kept UBC’s forwards out following the restart.

Down to fourteen men and hanging on McLelland turned the game at 35 minutes when he corralled a ball near midfield and headed north with a purpose. Once he breached the first line of defence he cut and swerved his way through all comers while evading the pursuit from behind by a hair to score under the posts, 17-13 Ravens. With a tailwind from the try the Ravens closed out the half with a well taken multiphase team try finished off with a powerful drive by lock Don Carson, 24-13.

UBC had the better of the play in the second half, particularly in the last 10 minutes, but the Ravens’ defence held firm. Steals by Locke and Nico Leonard, Grant Crowell ripping a ball away from a UBC attacker, a saving tackle by Keffer and a UBC maul held up in goal together with good team tackling kept UBC off the scoresheet. The tackling had to be good because UBC were playing through the McMullin brothers and Marshall in the backs and Sol Jacques and Relmu Wilson-Valdes in the forwards a group of studs who regularly need two to take them down. The UBC 9/10 combo of rugby scions Stephen Webb and Jake Bourne distributed the ball well seeing to it that the danger men had the maximum number of carries. The UBC game plan didn’t bring a win but the quality and the maturation of their game, in comparison to the game against the Ravens only three weeks ago, was impressive and augurs well for them next season as they are only losing one starter to graduation.

So the Ravens head to Burnaby to play the Meralomas for the BC title and also for bragging rights amongst the Irish in what is known in some circles as “County Kits”. I stand to be corrected but I believe this is the first BC final to be contested by the two neighbouring clubs. Until the creation of the Premier League the BC final was always the Mainland winner against the Island winner. And in the Premier League’s time the Ravens have not faced the Lomas in a final. Should be a good one.

To add to the excitement the Rippers will play UBC in the Premier Reserve final on Saturday as they advanced as well with a win over Westshore. A special day for the whole club.

Posted in BC Premier, Front Page.