Both squads underscore victory with bonus-point win–
By Braden Maccke
|Nick Coles runs in for a try as the Rowers battle Surrey at Brockton Oval
earlier this year. The VRC travelled to Surrey Nov. 24 and won both their
matches against the Beavers.
The Vancouver Rowing Club secured two solid wins Nov. 24 after downing the Surrey Beavers in firsts and seconds. Both teams ran in four-plus try perfomances to score the maximum five victory points, while Surrey’s first division side garnered a bonus-point loss.
The Rowing Club 2nd division arrived at Sullivan Athletic Park on a cold November morning in scattered fashion. An accident on the Alex Fraser Bridge complicated traffic and delayed the Rowers warm-up.
But the Super-Twos started strong, nevertheless, as new centre-back “Bonny Irish” Colm ran in an early try around the fifth minute. Fly-half Richie Thompson slotted the conversion and the Rowers had the early momentum with a 7-0 lead.
Despite the try, the Surrey Beavers stuck to a pack-dominant inside game and clearly out-rucked the visiting side. After notching a penalty goal, the Beavers launched a goal-line attack that lasted several minutes. The onslaught saw three scrums at the five-metre line and the Beavers finally crossed over to score an unconverted try, taking the lead 8-7.
On the ensuing re-start, Rowing Club flanker, Ben Keith, was knocked unconscious in a tackle, bringing a tense moment, and an early half-time, as he was attended to by paramedics. Keith eventually left the field under his own power, to everyone’s relief.
Surrey continued their forward-attacking game play in the second half, but the VRC defense continually held strong. Bolstered by the power running of a resurgent Jonathan Mergui (who replaced the injured Keith), the Beavers were relegated to the back foot as the tide of momentum shifted into the Rowers’ favour. The well-drilled Rowing Club then took advantage of each opportunity, scoring four unanswered tries in the second half to come away with a 27-8 victory.
Returning after recovering from a serious neck injury, Mergui led the try parade. “It was my birthday and the first time I ever scored two tries in a game!” he exclaimed after the match. “Bonny Irish” Colm also crossed the line twice, and the other substitute flanker, Gareth Brown, added a try of his own. Eight-man Colin “John C. Riley” Robinson also had a stalwart game quarterbacking the VRC scrum.
Although rucking and defense were not executed at the standard to which the 2nds hold themselves, the club can be happy with the victory and the bonus point.
The Club’s top side came out flat against Surrey, surrendering a 19-0 lead early on. Realizing they were unprepared for the level of game the Beavers were bringing, the Rowing Club rallied around the outstanding rucking and inside-ball play of pack-leader Phil Hosie. After Hosie unleashed some dominant play at the breakdowns his squad answered with a converted try.
But Surrey battled right back and scored another converted try, restoring their 19-point lead, making it 26-7.
Undeterred, the Rowing Club opened the game up with even more hard rucking. This allowed them to win some critical ball at the breakdowns, in turn, allowing for some creative back-line play. The Rowers built on that momentum to keep themselves in contention and eventually opened up the game, running in try after try.
Carlin “Chuck Norris” Wilkin had an outstanding game, scoring two tries, breaking for numerous large gains, and provoking spectator reactions with his many hard hits. Wilkin earned the coveted VRC Match-Day Hammer from Coach Sabell for his efforts.
Centre-back Scyler Dumas, full-back Matty James, tight-head prop Sean Dignan, and second-row Phil Hosie, all contributed tries, three of which were converted by fullback Doug Crowe. Crowe also added a penalty kick to seal the dramatic 19-point deficit comeback. Final score: VRC 39 – Surrey Beavers 26. Rowers Head Coach Jeremy Sabell, clearly proud of his charges, commented that the game was “really neat to watch.”
Both sides face Kamloops at the Oval this weekend. See Thursday’s Ruck-Muck for a match breakdown.
*This story has been edited from a previous version.