UBCOB Ravens – November 2023

Ravens Loose but Still Win Ravens 57 – Caps 19: Match Report by Peter MacDonald

On another fine fall afternoon the Ravens continued their homestand hosting the Capilanos before a good crowd which was bolstered by players and coaches visiting BC for the university championships being held in Langley at TWU. Among the visitors was Ontario referee Stephen Stothers-Robertson who handled the game well under the watchful eye of assessor Alan “Huddy” Hudson.

The Caps drew first blood early as their lively scrum-half, Brandon Power, picked off a McLelland pass and ran it in from 40 metres out, 7-0 Caps at 10 minutes. That may have woken the boys up as the Ravens answered quickly with a McLelland grubber touched down by fullback Nick Blain after a hard run by flanker Joe Locke had brought them into good field position, 7-7 at 12 minutes. Then gradually the Ravens asserted themselves with powerful, direct runs by #8 Grant Crowell and Locke setting up a good platform from which the backs could attack. Three Raven tries before the half saw McLelland slide in through a narrow gap, Harjun Gill touch down after another McLelland grubber and Crowell break off from a driving maul and crash in, 24-7 at the half.

The Caps were first to score in the second stanza as well as Mike Moloney’s long miss pass to Franklin set up another grubber try touched down by hooker Ethan McCarthy, 24-12 Ravens at 45 minutes. But just as the score was becoming closer Taiyo Minami, the Ravens’ hooker, ran a classic hard line against the grain and, once in possession of the ball, burst through the defence and in textbook fashion drew the last man and laid out a perfect pass for scrum half Billy Wickham to walk in, 31-12, a dagger. Taiyo’s countryman and front row sidekick, Yo Hasegawa, then scored next from lock Don Carson and by the 80th minute the nine Raven tries had outmatched the Caps three.

Not all was roses for the Ravens though as winger JP Fieldhouse, who finished off the last try, unfortunately suffered a shoulder injury when a defender landed on him as he touched down. JP was off to the hospital immediately, (we wish him well), while Yo Hasegawa enjoyed the get together in the clubhouse and his selection as the forwards’ man of the match, despite a tricep injury that was quite concerning.

Nor was coach Chris Taylor or the sharp-eyed pundits happy with the Ravens’ injudicious ball handling on more than one occasion, make that more like ten. Many a half break ended with the ball spilled forward, a forward pass or a difficult pass knocked on as the ball carrier, with good intent, tried to advance the play when ball retention was the order of the moment. Likely that tendency will be drilled out of them this week in preparation for a sterner test.

Power, Franklin, Moloney and McCarthy impressed for the Caps. The Ravens’ pack, which welcomed back flanker Trevor Helgason, dominated the sets and got the better of their Caps’ counterparts on the day. The Ravens new Japanese players Yo, Taiyo, Tsugo and Riku stood out spectacularly with their strength, fitness and particularly their skill and technique. Guido Suez made his season debut off the bench as did Lance Lamberton who impressed in the late stages of the game.

Next week it is a trip to Cowichan to play the Pride. Yo, Taiyo and company might be interested to know that the Japanese U19 National team came to BC on a five game tour in 1971 which began at the Cowichan ground with yours truly in the stands taking in their fast pace and high level execution which marks their country’s style of play to this day.

Posted in BC Premier, Front Page.