Burnaby Claim Two Wins at Home Against CW from Oak Bay: FULL MATCH VIDEO
by Mike Devlin
BLRC 2nd Div Men 24 – Kamloops RFC 28
Another great game between the 2 clubs. A few weeks back the BLRC travelled through a Coquihalla blizzard into the interior to take on the Raiders and the 2 clubs put on an 80 minute defensive battle that saw the Raiders hold on to a 6-3 victory. On Saturday, the Raiders brought their A game to Burnaby Lake for what was a shoot-out by comparison. BLRC Flanker Tom Menzies owned the game’s first 30 minutes, making lots of tackles while adding 3 penalties and a conversion. Tom’s convert was on a big scoring run from BLRC newcomer Matt McKenzie who played with James Bay previously before moving to Burnaby this fall. Matt made his club debut last week vs the College Rifles and had a solid outing. He played an exciting 40 minutes on Saturday before being subbed off to go up and join the Reserves.
Cris Amoroso uses “blue steel” to corral the pass vs KRC
Kamloops would put 3 points on the board through their veteran prop/kicker Greg Thomson. Greg is a talented rugger who has suited up for Kamloops every Saturday for what seems like an eternity! Great to still see him out there mentoring the next generation of Kamloops rugby players. The score was 16-3 just before the half when Kamloops set up a maul at the BLRC 5m and pushed over they try line with their Hooker Joe Castellano touching down the ball. Thomson made the convert and the first half ended 16-10 in favour of the BLRC.
Tom Menzies opened the 2nd half with a penalty that extended the Burnaby lead to 19-10 but then the Raiders came storming back with 2 try’s. Their #9 Dylan Neath pounced on a loose ball, taking it at pace for a try. Shortly after, Kamloops #14 Jordan Wolfe made a break along the sideline and ran the ball in from the BLRC 10m all the way under the posts. Thomson was good on one of the converts and Kamloops led 22-19. The BLRC backline came back off the kickoff though with Botes driving the ball into the Kamloops half. A few passes later and it was scrumhalf Paul Murphy who dove over in the corner to put the BLRC back in the lead, 24-22. Unfortunately (for the home side) the win was not to be, as Greg Thomson would be given 2 more shots at the posts in the games dying moments and made good on both of them to put the nails in the coffin and end the game 28-24 for the Kamloops Raiders.
What a game. There was drama, lots of scoring and some big hits. Much credit to the Kamloops players for making the early morning trip down the highway and pulling out the come from behind victory. I thought their players of the game were Thomson and their Flyhalf Darsha Thilakarathne. On the BLRC side, Tom Menzies stood out for his work around the park while Mike Misky led the way in the backline.
The full game can be seen here: https://youtu.be/GPNYbdPX1O8
This Saturday, the BLRC 2nds host another travelling team, the Kelowna Crows. It should be another good one!
BLRC Premier Women 10 – Seattle Saracens 34
Another tough game for the BLRC women who need to scrape together some healthy bodies to finish out the fall season. After a promising start to the season the Ladies have seen major injuries take down many of their key players. Adding those injuries to general “life” availability issues that most players face on any given Saturday PLUS rugby unavailability to some key players like Katie Grudzinski (Rugby League World Cup) and former captain Carolyn McEwen who is taking a needed break from the game to make up some time at work…and the roster which looks robust on paper has been thin on the pitch. The BLRC have chosen to play 2 of their games this year shorthanded, losing one close one at CW and taking a beating from Westshore the 2nd time. Much credit is due to the BLRC’s captain Emily Van Gulik who is a warrior out there. She was given the captaincy this year with good reason and has led from the front every game. I can tell that it’s her positive attitude and hard play that inspires the women on her team to give 110% all game. The BLRC have had a long list of strong women lead the team since its inception. They have been fortunate to have names like McEwen, Schnell, Sugawara, Steele, Donaldson, Larson and Harmse at the helm and Emily fits the mold of these great leaders. I hope that the BLRC are able to get some players healthy and available so that they can string some wins together. The players who have been committed and stayed healthy this fall deserve it.
Alya Govorchin and a Seattle player try to corral a loose ball
Seattle started the game hard and scored for the first time about 7 minutes into the game on a well worked backline move and never looked back. The BLRC tackled and tackled all game but eventually found themselves out of defenders which was when the Seattle team were able to get space on the outside and score. Gabrielle Hindley and Hedieh Hajesmaeel were the BLRC try scorers on the day. Hindley continues to impress me week in and week out. She’s a strong & athletic backrower who never misses a tackle and understands the game better than most. In the backs, Gen Gratton had a great game, using her foot intelligently to relieve some pressure while never missing a tackle.
Angel Santos spins the ball from the base of a ruck in her vintage BLRC shorts
The full game can be seen here: https://youtu.be/DLb2o2Sh1AY
One game left in this half for the women. They host CW this Saturday at Burnaby Lake.
BLRC Premier Reserves 20 – Oak Bay CW 0
Big thanks to the CW players who got up early and took the boat to the Mainland on Saturday. They came over knowing that the games result was already written and they were most likely going to be pounded physically. In spite of that, the players who arrived and took the pitch played hard and never backed down.
Siaki Vikilani finds a gap in the CW defence
The unofficial score (I’m told) was BLRC 55 – CW 22. Gino Paolella scored a hat trick for the BLRC, Scott MacKay, Mathew Chan and Johnny McLoughlin ran aggressively through a few CW defenders. Vikilani, Provost-Smith and Brian Robinson were present at every breakdown and the engine room combo of Cooper Johnston and Tom Dear carried the ball A LOT, made some great yards and looked good doing it! I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the effort and performance of CW legend Doug Hepp who put in a full 80 minutes on Saturday. He was certainly the leader of the young CW team on Saturday. I’m told that he’s moved into housing some of the young Canada hopefuls who move to Victoria. He’s a club guy through and through. He tells me that this is the last time I will see him in a jersey. Not sure I believe him though.
Man of the Match Gino Paolella on his way to another try
The full game can be seen here: https://youtu.be/tRhvo8hkGJQ
Premier Men 24 – Oak Bay CW 22
The rain which threatened all day held off just long enough to make Saturday a great rugby day! CW and the BLRC were tied for 3rd place in the standings and a BP Win would vault either team into a tie with UBC for 2nd place. Oak Bay came out flying and controlled the early going. Their 8man Haydn Evans opened the scoring only 4 minutes in when the CW players had moved inside the BLRC 5m for the2nd time. Evans picked and went from the base of a ruck and bullied his way in next to the posts! Povey added 2 points and CW were in the lead early. The BLRC started to exert some pressure and were rewarded at the 8 and a half minute mark when CW were penalised at a ruck inside the Oak Bay 22m. Ben McIvor quick tapped and tossed the ball to Micha Govorchin who rumbled through some tacklers for 10m on his way to 5 points. MacLaine’s convert tied the game at 7. At 17 minutes, a high cross kick from Povey had Ngongo and Porter contesting for the jump ball. The ball took a fortuitous CW bounce and deflected into the waiting arms of Haydn Evans. Evans popped the ball to Mike Adibe who charged into the BLRC 5m before he was stopped. Adibe had the wherewithal to find Evans who was running in support with a perfectly timed pass and the Oak Bay 8man had his 2nd try of the game. Povey’s kick hung wide so the score was 12-7 in favour of the visitors. 36 minutes in, and the BLRC were threatening. A CW penalty gave Burnaby a Lineout at the 5m. The lineout was stolen by CW and batted back into their own end zone where Doug Breadon was the first to arrive on the scene and tied the game at 12. Povey would add 3 more points for Oak Bay before the halftime whistle, so the visitors led 15-12 at the break.
Cody Rockson looks for the offload
The BLRC opened the 2nd stanza by pushing down into the CW end. Cole McQueen would be the final recipient of a few offloads and a behind the back pass and he got a head of steam built up that took him straight through a defender for 5 points. The BLRC now found themselves ahead 17-15. 10 minutes later the visitors had set up shop inside the BLRC 22m ruing phase after phase and stretching the BLRC defence. Eventually the Blue & White wall opened and Conor Pullin rushed through it to score untouched. Povey hit the convert to put Oak Bay back in the lead 22-17. The leads was short lived however as less than 2 minutes later, Dan Josok made a long run into the CW 22m before being pulled down. Higgins saw no one home and box kicked the ball over the CW try line where Cole McQueen touched it down for a try and a tie game. Neil MacLaine made the conversion and Burnaby Lake found themselves ahead 24-22. The game’s final 22 minutes were played at an intense pace and both teams emptied the gas tank but no more points were scored.
Michael Gough goes horizontal to avoid a tackle
The full game can be seen here: https://youtu.be/814fiXlBzkA
Oak Bay brought a star backfield with danger men at every position. I wasn’t familiar with the Fullback Mike Adibe but I thought he had the strongest game amongst their backline. He was a threat when he had the ball, constantly driving his legs in contact and made some try saving tackles when he needed to. Haydn Evans had a good game in the forwards scoring 2 tries but I thought their 2nd row Shataro Yamano was the Man of the Match. He seemed to be involved in every breakdown, was their primary lineout jumper and was a pest around the breakdown.
On the Burnaby Lake side, Cody Rockson was deemed to be the Forward of the Match and was well deserving although I thought that either of his back row partners, Doug Breadon or Mike O’Toole would have been worthy choices as well. Cody was one of the top scrum halves in BC for a long time and decided this summer to transition to the back row. He plays the position like a veteran, making hits and poaching balls at the breakdown but also gives an extra option out there for those times that that #9 has been pulled into the tackle or ruck. The Back of the Match went to Ben McIvor who has been playing great since making the jump from 2nd Division 3 weeks ago. Ben has a boot on him that got the BLRC out of trouble a few times in their own end and runs hard into contact when necessary. In spite of Ben’s best efforts, the BLRC won the boat race afterwards.
Big thanks to the BCRRS’s Saro Turner, Jamie Levchuk, Jivan Dhaliwal and Brad Schwalger for their work officiating on Saturday! This Saturday the Premier Men and Premier Reserves host UVIC at 12:45 and 2:30.
www.burnabylakerugby.com Many Teams~One Club
Burnaby Take One on the Chin Against College Rifles Team from Auckland
by Mike Devlin
The Burnaby Lake Rugby Club were fortunate to have the opportunity to host the touring College Rifles RFC from Auckland this past weekend. The College Rifles were originally a military club, having been established in 1897 by members of the Volunteer Corps. At the post game, they explained that their club lost 300 members in the 1st and 2nd World War and awarded a commemorative jersey to the BLRC that lists the names of every College Rifle who gave their lives in service to their country. In honour of those veterans and serviceman who sacrificed in WWI & WWII, the Korean War and in many peacekeeping missions as well as the ongoing war on terror the BLRC organized a trumpeter to play the Last Post followed by a minute of silence before kickoff.
The College Rifles and Noah the trumpeter
The College Rifles last toured Canada in September of 2010 and made a stop at Burnaby Lake that fall. That game was very competitive with the tourists clinging to a 5 point lead as the time ran out with the BLRC inside the red zone. This Saturday’s game… not as competitive! The College Rifles brought some serious skill and some serious size! Post-game, in every conversation where you complimented the play of one of their players, the response was always something along the lines of “Yeah, he’s played X number of Mitre Cup seasons” or “That’s why he has a Super Rugby contract”. They were impressively large humans. Pretty much all of them. The speed at which the College Rifles came up on defence or changed plans and directions on attack was like nothing I’ve seen in the BC Premier League or CRC. Having watched the Canada/Georgia match that morning I am 100% confident that the College Rifles also would have put a bonus point win on our National Men’s Team although I think that DTH & Paris would have scored tries for Canada in defeat.
College Rifles Loketi Manu slips a tackle on his way in for a try
The first 40 minutes were competitive on the scoreboard with the College Rifles putting together some sustained drives interspersed with the odd big break and generally speaking, controlling the game. The BLRC’s Dan Josok, Gino Paolella and Matt Chan each managed to find space and had made some yards after breaking the Rifles defensive line on occasion. Each time though, the Kiwi fullback Joe Collins or the incredibly impressive outside centre Loketi Manu would track the BLRC flyer down…and normally turn the ball over. Doug Breadon, Reid Watkins, Siaki Vikilani + Tom Dear tackled and tackled and tackled and tackled some more but like plugging holes in a dam, eventually you run out of fingers and the water starts flowing. Such was the case at halftime where the tourists led by 12. With the difference in size and experience between the 2 sides, there was much (well deserved) positive talk on the sideline but you could feel that the BLRC were starting to run out of luck and tackles. In the final 40 minutes when both teams started to add some subs, the College Rifles put on a display of champagne rugby that was impressive to even the most diehard BLRC fan, running in try after try. The game finished as a 48 point shutout although I wonder if the scorekeeper may have missed a try!
Nolan Shelley gets the pass off to Andrew Porter
Much credit to the players from Burnaby Lake who took the pitch on the bye week. At this point in the season, if you are not on the “injured-unavailable” list, you’re probably carrying some form of injury. Many players chose to take the week off, but the 23 men who gave 110% on Saturday against an intimidating foe have earned a special place in the hearts of the Burnaby Lake faithful. None more so that long time 3rd Division Prop Jordan Johnson. Jordan is a club guy in the truest sense of the word, willing to do anything to help the club. He took up the game as an adult a few years ago…primarily as a reason to drink some beer and while he’s made a few forays into the odd Premier Reserve match, he’s most comfortable coming on as a spare in the dying minutes of 3rd/2nd Div matches. Jordan found out pre game that the starting BLRC Tighthead was stuck at work and that he would be getting the start. Jordan lined up against a very fit, and incredibly intimidating 6”3 285lb Dexter Faamoana who splits time between the Rifles and Auckland Blues. Jordan had a very long afternoon but kept coming back for more and fought for every inch. He did not win any of those inches.
The College Rifles maul was on point all day
The College Rifles Hooker, Hamish Boult, was deemed Man of the Match for the Rifles while Mathew Chan took the honor for Burnaby Lake. Post-game the BLRC put on a fantastic banquet for both teams. BC Rugby President Samantha Shorter was on hand to gift a tie to the College Rifles and many shirts, plaques, etc were exchanged. Stories were delivered by BLRC captain Michael Gough (a veteran of the 2010 game as well) and College Rifle coach/Ex Vancouver Trojan Derek “The Ring” Rope. After the formal dinner, Gough organized both clubs into a series of games…which was an area that the Jordan Johnson did dominate + led the BLRC to victory time and again!
College Rifles Captain Dexter Faamoana awards Mathew Chan the Man of the Match Cap.
Many thanks to Simon Smoldon for organising the banquet, and setting the rule that each table (where possible) was to have 4 Canadians and 4 New Zealanders at it. That’s a great way to make friends and probably something that clubs should try to do post-game. Also to Tom + Maureen House, Gerard + Linda O’Toole, Sandy MacDonald, Jim Jamieson, Jessica Harvey, Tiana Coutts, Alicia Noger, Alya Govorchin, Katie Van Nes, Mele Vikilani and many others who took care of the cooking and serving of the lamb, chicken, salads, deserts, drinks, etc. It takes a whole club to put on the day we had, and your efforts were spectacular and made the club proud! Lastly to Chris Assmus, Jamie Kelly and Ian Trevor from the BCRRS who spent the afternoon out in the rain we greatly appreciate your efforts!
BLRC President Simon Smoldon awards College Rifles Man of the Match Hamish Boult a BLRC club shirt
Tis Saturday sees all 4 senior teams at home with the 2nd Div Men hosting Kamloops, The Premier Women hosting Seattle and the Premier & Premier Reserve Men hosting CW.
www.burnabylakerugby.com Many Teams~One Club
Burnaby Defeat Westshore in Men's Premier and Reserve, Loss in Women's Premier - College Rifles from Auckland This Weekend
by Mike Devlin
BLRC Premier Men 43 – Westshore RFC 8
The Premier Game began with a penalty to the home side (typical Burnaby Rugby) but the BLRC quickly righted the ship and started applying some pressure to Westshore through the forwards, causing a turnover and working the ball back into the Westshore end. At the 7 minute mark, Burnaby Lake got on the board after a lineout at the WS 5m line. O’Toole came down with the ball and the pack set up a maul that drove over the line with Micha Govorchin the lucky ball carrier getting credit for 5 points. Burnaby Lake Captain Mike Gough told me that the forwards across all 3 teams have renewed their commitment for set piece training and under coaches Angel Cividanes (scrum) and Pat O’Gorman (lineouts) have been putting in extra work on Tuesday and Thursdays. That extra work was on display all Saturday with 5 BLRC Tries coming from set piece plays.
Bryce Worden takes the ball into the Westshore Defence
The next score was also from a lineout at the Westshore 5m line. Captain Gough was at the back of a moving maul and decided to go it alone, tearing off the back and though the Flyhalf on his way over the try line. Neil MacLaine made quick work of the convert ad the BLRC were ahead by 12 midway through the first half. Neil Maclaine would be the catalyst for the next points when he made a break through the visitors centres at the Westshore 10m line. The Irishman put on a burst of speed to go around his opposite and had only one man to beat at the 5m. Big Bryce Worden would be rewarded for running a support line as MacLaine fixed the Westshore FB and passed back inside to Bryce who touched down next to the posts! A great move and run from Neil and a very impressive job by Worden of keeping up with the speedy centre! Maclaine made the convert and that put the BLRC ahead 19-0 which was how the half ended.
Jack Caithness surveys the Westshore attack
Westshore were the first on the board in the 2nd half. The BLRC were working the ball out of their end but would be penalized for sealing the ball in a ruck which gave the Westshore #10 Tyrone Gersch a shot at posts which he was successful on. A short time later, Burnaby Lake was awarded a scrum at the Westshore 22m. The scrum was won and the BLRC backs set up a nifty move that saw Flyhalf Jack Caithness end up with the ball out wide, sprinting over the try line to extend the Burnaby lead to 24-3. Another BLRC lineout at the Westshore 5m brought another try. The pack pushed the Westshore defenders back to their own line before the ball was spun wide to Johnny “Flash” McLoughlin who cut back in between the Westshore centres and waltzed over for the score. Mark Higgins hit the convert and the BLRC had a commanding 31-3 lead. A short time later Westshore Fullback Sitiveni Nacoko created a try out of nothing for the visitors when he made a break at the centre line which turned a BLRC winger around and he took the ball inside the Burnaby 5m before popping to former Abbotsford RFC & FVRU stalwart Jordan Tait, who scored out wide. The 31-8 score line was as close as Westshore would get however, as the BLRC added 12 more points before games end. Mike Gough would score his 2nd try off a lineout at the Westshore 5m and finally a penalty try was awarded with a few minutes left in the game that brought the final score to 43-8.
Ben McIvor with ball and Cole McQueen in support
Some strong performances from Westshore in spite of the score line. As a team, they tackled well when their backs were against the wall. Although their open field tackling was lacking at times, their goal line stands were like something out of the 91 New York Giants playbook. The BLRC spent most of the opening 20 minutes inside the Westshore 22m but some strong “man up” tackling by the Island team yielded only 5 points. The aforementioned Jordan Tait had a solid game, scoring their only try and showing up around the ball often plus I thought he did a good job containing the wingers on his side. If I was there and had a vote, he would have been my choice for M.O.M although Flyhalf Tyrone Gersch was also worthy. In the forwards I thought their 8man Tua VA’a had the strongest game with a few solid ball carrying tutorials. For the home side I think Bryce Worden made a case for player of the game with strong scrummaging and a high work rate around the pitch. Bryce is a big man at 6’4 and 250 lbs but gets around the park well which showed when he was the lone supporter on MacLaine’s run. Bryce left us for a year and a half to play rugby in New Zealand but returned in September and keeps getting better and better as he adapts back to the Canadian style of rugby. When he first started playing Men’s rugby he was overshadowed by the BLRC’s big men like MacKay, Luca, Ackerman etc but in their absence (and with the season ending injury to Rowley) he has claimed the Tight head jersey as his own. The BLRC backline continues to be led by Cole McQueen who moved up to centre for this game and was just as good as he’s been all year at Fullback. Cole is as dependable as they come on defence and matches speed with a big frame which makes him hard to take down one on one as the Westshore defenders found out.
The other BLRC games that day were a mixed bag as the 2nd Div Men bore the brunt of the lineup shuffling and covering that went on this week, getting pounded by a tough Langley side 50-8. The BLRC women also found themselves shorthanded and were beat up by a dominant Westshore team 88-5. The only other win for Burnaby Lake came in their Men’s Premier Reserve match where the BLRC overcame some early adversity to post a 35-15 victory!
Sept 11 2010 - BLRC roster vs College Rifles – lots of familiar faces!
Although there is a bye in the BC Rugby schedule, the BLRC are in action this Saturday when they host the College Rifles from Auckland. The 2 clubs have a long history together and many players have donned both jerseys over the years. Most recently BLRC’ers Shelby Sloan, Bryce Worden, Cole Mosychuk, Nik Hildebrand + Dylan Marshall have spent time in Auckland with the College Rifles while historically, BLRC legends like Pat Riordan, Marley Riordan + Alec Douglas suited up for the Rifles while playing rugby abroad. Burnaby Lake has also benefited from a few players coming the other way over the years, most notably, Gareth Marsden who played 100 Premier games for the Rifles before moving to Canada.
The last time the College Rifles toured Canada in 2010 they squeaked out a victory over the BLRC… and this year we are coming for revenge! Game kicks off at 230pm this Saturday, Nov 11 at Burnaby Lake with banquet to follow in the clubhouse. If you would like access to the banquet, the tickets are $20 and can be purchased on game day.