UBCOB Ravens – April 2024

Ravens Explode Early Ravens 50 UBC – 21
Report by Peter MacDonald

The two fraternal clubs took the field on a cool afternoon at UBC in the Ravens’ 50th year to renew their friendly rivalry. But friendships aside the Ravens went to work early punishing UBC for any missteps they made.

First, at 2 minutes, Raven fullback Nick Blain picked off a UBC pass in the Raven end and went the distance. Then at 10 minutes, after sustained UBC pressure near the Raven line, a hopeful but flat chip kick from #10 Jacob Bourne landed gently in the hands of Aaron McLelland who made a mark. In a nanosecond he quick tapped to himself, tore off through the UBC backline, kicked the ball ahead and in no time it was 12-0 as one of his teammates touched down in the left corner.

UBC answered quickly through Takoda McMullin as he popped through a hole powerfully and had a direct run for the try, 12-7 Ravens. But the Ravens ran in another three tries before the half, two of which began with UBC kicks to McLelland… I’m not sure the students spent enough time on their game plan homework! At 15 minutes McLelland ran a kick back through the first line of defence and in the end a sweet backhand pass from a driving Tom Kaijaks put Grant Crowell away for a close range try. Next was McLelland fielding a grubber and executing a spin move in tight along the right sideline to evade the pursuit and then backhanding a pass that opened up space with Blain finishing the attack left of the posts after the ball had moved through plenty of hands. Finally, the half closed out at 33-7 with McLelland making a break and sending centre Nico Leonard on his way.

More of the same followed with McLelland fielding a kick and, following a ruck, the ball moved right through the brothers Carson, Frank and Don, whose handling mesmerized the crowd and “unlocked” space for Joe Locke who took the ball like a train to the house. It was two tries each the rest of the way and UBC, which was asserting themselves in the forwards and through the McMullin brothers, scored the next two bringing the score to 40-21 and raising the hopes of UBC as they were gaining steam. The first, a pick and go try, was followed by a Lenny Bondau dish to a charging Takoda McMullin who evaded two tacklers had another straight run for the try under the posts.

The Ravens in full flight at 65 minutes took back the initiative as Isaac Kay, Sam Walton-Sexton and Locke connected down the left sideline with Locke pinballing right and linking up with winger Cole Keffer who dove in at the right corner flag, an impressive sequence. Leonard had his brace after McLelland dummied and made ground as time wounded down.

UBC through its forwards, led by #8 Wilson-Valdes and #6 Joe McNulty, and its straight running winger Alastair Marshall and the McMullin boys took it to the Ravens for good parts of the second half. The Ravens’ depth and maturity won the day though. Isaac Kay brought his experience and well-rounded game with him as he debuted with the Ravens in the second half. McLelland was the spark but everyone pitched in.

After the game Ravens’ coach Chris Taylor unveiled a new cup, the Legacy Cup, to celebrate 50 years of competition between the two clubs. Funded by recent UBC graduates who carried on to play with the Ravens, it will be awarded annually to the club with the most total points in games played each season.

It is off to Burnaby next week to face a tough squad and to try to maintain the team’s position in the table as the playoffs loom.

Posted in BC Premier, Front Page.