UBCOB Ravens – October 2022

Ravens Edge T-Birds 28-20 – Report by Peter MacDonald

Forty-nine years of rivalry between these two fraternal clubs resumed before a big crowd at Jericho for the start the BC Premier season. The game did not disappoint as the rain held off and the conditions allowed for open rugby, though the structure, ball retention and decision making on both sides may not have been at peak season form.

The Ravens jumped into a lead 3 minutes into the game with scrum half Alex Ball quick tapping a penalty from 20 metres out and going it alone, evading any offers of defence to score near the posts, 7-0. UBC answered with a penalty goal and then a try at 16 minutes from a well conceived angled grubber chased down by centre Takoda McMullin and touched down in the right corner, 8-7 to UBC. The Ravens soon replied by putting together a few phases that freed centre Noah Bain for a long run and some interplay with his inside support before ruck ball allowed lock Donald Carson the chance to pound it in for the try by the posts, 14-8 Ravens.

There was no further scoring in the half as the Ravens weathered UBC’s pressure near the line with a steal at the tackle by hooker Jesse Mackail after a dangerous run by the UBC #8 Reimu Wilson-Valdes and later with Andrew Coe’s interception of a flat pass defending a UBC overlap out wide.

UBC kept the pressure on as play resumed winning a penalty at a dominant set scrum and having plenty of possession in the Raven half but their moment passed without putting points on the board. The Ravens though, energized by full substitutions, did then make the most of their ascendancy. From a ruck 40 metres out near the left touchline two dangermen were lurking at the hind foot in a crack of space on the left. The open side was eschewed and the ball moved left to McLelland and then deftly to Ball who shot through along the line and then turned the last two defenders inside out with cuts before diving in out wide and converting his own try 21-8 at 66 minutes. Minutes later some strong forward running from James Carson put the Ravens on the front foot in UBC territory setting up a spell of pressure from which cousin Frank Carson emerged and extended a right arm over the line emphatically for the bonus point try, 28-8 Ravens at 70 minutes.

UBC though did not roll over. In the dying minutes, as if to intimate that they would have more in the tank should the two teams meet again, UBC put on two tries with lock Isaak Kelly crashing in and then a chip and chase try that brought the score to 28-20 before the final whistle put an end to the comeback. The Ravens deserved the win but it was a bit cruel for UBC, who played well, to take no points away as the deficit of 8 points and their three tries left them empty handed.

UBC’s fullback Owain Cormack and Jack Carson at #9 stood out as did the Ravens’ prop Tom Kaijaks and Alex Ball who is truly a baller. Left winger Marceau Bertin of the Ravens gave the crowd the highlight of the game in the second half as he stood square to tackle big Izaak Kelly who boshed Marceau flat on his back but as Marceau was going down he stripped the ball from Kelly, hauled it in and in one motion laid it back over his head for his ruck support to secure. Talk about taking a hit to make a play. It was unique, it happened in a flash, I’ve never seen it before. I think it needs a name… maybe “the Marceau”… but don’t try it!

Players and fans rolled in from everywhere for the game here in the “Village of Vancouver”. Canada A players from Brazil, Evergreen Club/Raven players from touring Portugal and Spain, Andrew Coe from MLR and Nick Allen from the Canada 7s. And the start of fall rains during the week made the rugby fellowship that much more enjoyable.

The Rippers made their debut for this year in the early game and came together for a win over the students making the club two for two on the day. Next week it is off to Victoria to match up with James Bay and to pay tribute to its 136 year history in the game in BC.

Posted in BC Premier.