VRC lose three away from Brockton

Photos: Malin Jordan
Jamie Overgaard breaks through two Burnaby tacklers before a third
manages to harness the flanker March 16.

After running away with three wins last week, the VRC dropped three road games March 16. With the losses, all three squads are now in tougher spots on the ladder and will need to notch some wins in the season’s remaining six weeks if they want to make the playoffs.

3RD DIVISION

The Thirsty Thirds travelled to Winona Park March 16 to face the Burnaby Lake “B” team. Though the game was on and the field was booked, someone forgot to alert the kind-hearted folks at the Vancouver Parks Board. The usually-efficient city employees forgot to put up rugby posts for the tilt and the game went ahead sans uprights.

Both teams battled hard and the momentum pitched back and forth, with both sides retaining most of their ball at the breakdowns. It was a different story in the lineouts though, as Burnaby Lake reeled in all of their own lineouts and managed to hawk about 95 per cent of the Rower’s throw-ins.

Robin Mallinder was a veritable tour de muscle as the power forward charged for yards-after-yards-after-yards each time his mitts seized the rugby ball. Diarmuid Walsh also made some great breaks when he took the ball in hand, as did Rob McDonnell. Ben Jarvis was having a first-half blinder until he broke the triquetral carpal in his right hand after saying hello to a Burnaby prop. Spencer Latu also played a good game with some ramblin’ and tramplin’ runs. Though near the end of the half, Burnaby seemed to be winning more ball battles than the Rowing Club.

Robin Mallinder breaks during action versus Burnaby Lake.

Burnaby managed to garner two tries in the first half, to the Rowers’ one, and Le Rouge et Blanc went into the halftime frame down 10 – 5.

Super sub Gareth Brown came on in the second frame and helped a Rowers’ surge that took the game back down into Burnaby’s end. The VRC was eventually rewarded with another rub of the in-goal green and the match was tied at 10. Later in the second half, Burnaby managed to break through and touch a try down in the corner, taking a 15-10 lead.

But the man of the match had to be Jamie “Sweet Pea” Overgaard, as his machine-like performance caused the Burnaby Lakers frustration at every turn. Overgaard beat ruggers from either team to every breakdown, secured continuous Rowing Club ball, and poached a fair share of opposition’s possession. Overgaard even streaked past three Burnaby players — in a dash for an advantage-played pooch-kick by Si “Shimey” Taylor — into the Burnaby in-goal for what would have been the game-tying try. Unfortunately, the ref blew the whistle for advantaged played. Burnaby then stopped the VRC on the next play and the match was over.

2ND DIVISION

An abbreviated Vancouver Rowing Club second division – featuring many new players in unfamiliar positions, and without their regular halfbacks – suffered a disappointing loss to Seattle RFCin the Emerald City.

Sacha Floyd was sidelined in the first half by a painful knee injury and several of the flanker’s teammates rolled their ankles and twisted their knees on Magnusson Park’s “Magic Carpet.” The artificial turf is a veritable hospital zone, having also claimed a Rowing Club broken leg in the VRC’s 2012 Seattle bout. Floyd’s injury reduced the Rowers’ numbers to 14 and they were down to 13 at one point in the second half. Uncannily, the exact same situation occurred in 2012.

Rob McDonnell runs with the ball before breaking through two
would-be tacklers and gaining 25-metres.

The ball played sharply off the plastic surface. A twenty-minute period of heavy rain and hail (later described in the Rowers’ locker room as “biblical”) wetted the ball causing handling issues for both sides. Conspicuous in its absence in the artificial environment was traditional dirt, which can add some laudable texture to a rugby ball in wet conditions.

Seattle’s second division had tremendous size, which they used very well – especially at the breakdowns – providing almost no time for the VRC halfback to move the ball and begin a proper attack. They played a very disciplined and powerful game of rugby to best the Rowers by a final score of 48-26.

A novice referee made some curious decisions, did not seem to be concerned with the flow of the game, and seemed to always be in the way, stopping the game no fewer than two times to call obstruction on himself. The Rowers are looking forward to his development as an official.

1ST DIVISION

The Rowing Club’s top side came out of the gate with a strong game, keeping the score close in the first half. The Rowers’ quick young backs were able to move the ball with great speed on Magnusson’s plastic surface, which can be a fast pitch if there are no current manifestations of biblical plagues cascading down on its unrepentant sheen.

Though they never led in the match, the first division seemed to be controlling much of the game for the first half. In the second half, Seattle was able to solve the Rowers’ defense, breaking for several breakaway tries.

At a final score of 48-26, Seattle showed that they are a much better team at home, with a full complement of players, than they tend to be on the road.

A second division Seattle player informed the Ruck Muck after the game that a B.C. Rugby Union bylaw allows Seattle’s opponents to elect to play Seattle’s home games at the opponent’s pitch, to save the visiting team the travel. The tight-head prop also informed the Ruck Muck that the Rowers were the only club thus far who made the jaunt down
I-5. He expressed gratitude on behalf of his club for allowing the SRFC their first true home game.

March 23

11:30 a.m. 3rds vs. Abbotsford RFC (Brockton Oval)
1:00 p.m. 2nds vs. Abbotsford RFC (Brockton Oval)
2:30 p.m. 1sts vs. Abbotsford RFC (Brockton Oval)

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