Westshore Women Defeat Burnaby; Men Lose in Premier and Reserve Contests
by Clancy McDonnell
Men’s Premier: BLRC 38 – WRFC 8
Men’s Reserve: BLRC 35 – WRFC 15
Women’s Premier: WRFC 88 – BLRC 5
Westshore’s Velox Valhallians put in a medium performance at Burnaby Lake on the weekend. After a somewhat encouraging effort in a loss to Seattle the week before, where they came back to life for the final 25 minutes and ran it close, this was a disappointing regression. Their inability to meet the referee’s standards was a prime culprit, with the visitors getting themselves four or five yellow cards. The home side played well, shifting the ball accurately, using the full width of the field, and scoring a number of entertaining tries.
It’s not all bad news, with several players continuing their good form. Foster Dewitt again carried strongly and worked the game plan. Openside break-away Nikai Penny returned after a couple of weeks away and brought energy and starch into the defence. Clay Panga, having returned to the number 12 jersey he first wore for the club in 2006, was notable for his communication and agile work through traffic.
The Valhallians approach the bye weekend with a couple of prime work-ons. Discipline is obviously at the forefront, and defensive pattern is another. As well, they welcome the Regional Development Session being put on by the BC Rugby Union, with Ander Monro providing specialist kicking coaching on Wednesday the 8th at Westshore.
The Premier Reserve game was in the balance for the first half, but ultimately the game got away from Westshore. Burnaby Lake had a slight edge in most facets of the game, but where they won it was in the contact point. A big centre led the way here, repeatedly holding his feet in contact and busting another few metres. Westshore may rue their tackle technique and probably their inability to sustain possession and deliver on the game plan.
Sunnier news for the club came with the Women’s Premier team dominating. With their own injuries and miscellaneous absences, the Valkyries ran up a snooker score against their overwhelmed opponents. The factors contributing to the extraordinary success of this team are myriad, and didn’t happen overnight. One of the most remarkable of these is the team’s consistency. Burnaby Lake has been one of their greatest and strongest foes over the years, but this year (with respect) they are struggling in the Win/Loss columns. The Valkyries never seem to have a bad game, let alone a poor season.
The talent and work ethic of some of the older heads (read: M. Donaldson, B. Mervin, S. Levson etc.) has been well celebrated. Young talent emerges again though, with youngster Rori ‘CJ’ Wood impressing in her second season of senior rugby. The second-rower scored two tries on the weekend, and is in the Canadian U18 program. You know succession planning is going well when it seems to the casual observer as though it takes care of itself.
Burnaby Lake were good hosts. The clubhouse was warm and welcoming after a freezing day on the pitch, chilli that would challenge Chad Vath’s Super Bowl offerings warmed the belly, while a couple of wobbly pops helped ease the pain for the men. Curiously, there is a game scheduled for Women’s 2nd Division on Remembrance Day, while the rest of the club has the weekend off. On Saturday, 18th November the senior men are away to Meraloma, while the Premier Women are slated to venture behind the Tweed Curtain to take on the Oak Bay Castaway Wanderers.