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Rowers clash with Richmond RFC, take three wins at home

Photos: Malin Jordan
Caleb Hansen runs in a late second-half try, sealing a 37-30 win for the
Rowing Club over Richmond RFC March 9 at Brockton Oval.

After a one-month absence from Brockton Oval, the Vancouver Rowing Club battled their way to three hard-fought wins March 9.

The thirds began the day with a 43-10 win, the seconds won 62-7, and the firsts garnered a 37-30 bonus-point win. With the victories, the club captured the inaugural Canada Line Cup.


The Thirsty Thirds (2-1) opened their match on the back foot after gifting an early three to Richmond in the first few minutes of play. But the Rowers managed to turn the momentum in their favour as the forward pack offered some solid rambling from open play. Spencer Latu and Robin Mallinder led the way and the rest of the forwards rucked well, retaining possession on their own ball and turning over some of Richmond’s ball at key points in the first half.

Tugboat goes for a run after sidestepping a would-be Richmond tackler in
third division play. 

It didn’t take long for the Rowers to break through the Richmond line, scoring successive tries at the mid-way point of the frame to go up 12-3. A seesaw battle continued with some intense tackling and sustained pressure from both sides.

Near the end of the half, Travis Sheppard picked the ball and smashed through would-be tacklers carrying it to opposition’s tryline. On a subsequent ruck, the Rowers’ pack punched through another try. Connor Walsh added the convert and the Rowers were up by 16 points at the half-time whistle.

But it was a tale of two halves as a tight first frame gave way in the second to some wide-open running rugby by the Rowers. The thirds started their second half with good momentum, running back the opening kickoff for a try. Chris Gayden led the way with some long runs, scoring two tries in the process.

Chris Gayden runs in for a try against Richmond.

Although the score was lopsided, Richmond fought hard and played well. They were rewarded for their efforts late in the game when they crossed the line for a consolation try. Final score: 43-10.

Scoring Summary
Tries: Gayden (2), Nick Coles, Mallinder, Franco Scodeller, Malin Jordan, Nikola Samija. Conversions: Walsh (4).


The VRC Second Division (10-1) executed a convincing victory at home against their Richmond RFC counterparts, as they furthered their undefeated second half in the Okanagan Spring Brewery League 2.

The Rowers came out of the locker room ready for a tough Richmond side, scoring early and never looking back on their way to a 62-7 bonus-point win.

Richie Thompson breaks a tackle outside the 22-metre line. He finished
his short sprint by touching the ball down between the posts.

The seconds executed well from set pieces, and from re-starts, breaking down a formidable Richmond defense with a high paced-pattern. Scrum half Duncan James did a good job spreading the ball around, and showed very good ball awareness on his way to a two-try performance.

Utility forward Gareth Brown, coming off a three-try game two weeks ago in Langley, was instrumental recovering the ball from restarts. He also finished the day with two tries in a performance abbreviated by the coaching staff, presumably to save him for precious minutes in the first division.

Irish fullback Rob McDonnell converted five Rowers tries on the afternoon, and scored two tries of his own. Also crossing the line for a rub of the green on a busy afternoon were fly half Richie Thompson, centre-back Scyler Dumas, and designated-Frenchman Jon Mergui.

The second div defence played well all game, holding Richmond and their pack-dominated crash-ball game to only seven points.

Dan Smith stretches for a lineout ball in first half
action versus Richmond.

Scoring Summary
Tries: Brown (2), James (2), McDonnell (2), Thompson, Dillon Debono, Dumas, Mergui. Conversions: McDonnell (5), Thompson.


With playoff implications on the line, Coach Jeremy Sabell impressed upon the first division squad the importance of their tilt with the Richmond RFC. A win would garner the Rowers a second place tie with Abbotsford, whereas a loss would leave the squad spinning their wheels, as Richmond would catch them in the standings, moving both squads into a tie for third. (Only the top three Mainland Division teams make the playoffs.)

Nolan Laderoute dives in for a try in the first division match up.

Knowing this, the Rowers came out of the gates hard, opening the scoring early with a converted try. Soon after, the firsts gave a penalty away inside their 22-metre line. Richmond replied with a penalty goal, bringing the score to 7-3.

Both teams played a tight match through the first half. The Rowers had to double-up their defensive cover play after the 20th minute when standout-rookie-flanker Josh Schreiber was lost to a red card for a late hit. In spite of being short a player, the Rowers’ Nolan Laderoute, Caleb Hansen and Karl Mudzamba managed to punch over tries and the squad went into the half-time break up 24-8.

In the second half Richmond continued to run hard at the Rowers and move the ball well. They too played some stingy defense and the squad from the Fraser River delta slowly clawed themselves back into the match.

Michael Jordan prepares to crash into two Richmond tacklers.

As hard running play from both sides opened up the game, both teams took advantage of each other’s fatigue, sending quicker players for trots through disorganized defenses.

Near the end of the half, when the game was still in doubt, fullback Kevin Gurniak fielded a deep Richmond kick inside his own 22-metre line. Using his characteristic speed to find space, he buzzed up the East side of the field for a 40-metre return before becoming the victim of a Richmond dump tackle that earned that player the game’s second red card. With both squads at 14 men, the swinging battle settled for the last few minutes and the Rowing Club (8-3) brought the bonus-point victory home. Final score: 37-30.

Caleb Hansen was a notable standout and earned the coveted Hammer Award for the biggest hit of the day. Hansen augmented his defensive play with a three-try performance. Karl Mudzamba and young hooker Nolan Laderoute rounded out the try chart, while halfback Henry Recinos hit three of five conversion attempts and added two penalty goals.

“This past weekend was a great one for the whole club,” noted Sabell. He said the club battled their way to three solid wins and played some very positive rugby, despite facing the adversity in the first division match after Schreiber’s early exit. “It was a good step forward, and now we need to take the next step — Seattle in Seattle is a big challenge.”

Scoring Summary
Tries: Hansen (3), Laderoute, Mudzamba. Conversions: Recinos (3). Penalty goals: Recinos (2).

See tomorrow’s Ruck Muck for a comparison of the two red cards in the match.

March 16

11:30 a.m. 3rds @ Burnaby “B” (Rupert Park)
1:00 p.m. 2nds @ Seattle RFC (Warren G. Magnuson Park)
2:30 p.m. 1sts @ Seattle RFC (Warren G. Magnuson Park)

Henry Recinos makes a break late in the second half.

Gareth Brown runs in one of his two tries.

Rob McDonnell in second div action.
Jamie Overgaard and Jason Martel in 3rd div action.

Dave Hall in second div action.

Ben Jarvis makes a tackle in 3rd div action.

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