VRC win two from two over Meralomas–

By Braden Maccke
Photos: Travis Sheppard
Scrum-half Henry Recinos digs out a ball at the back a ruck during the premier side’s 12-8 win over
the Meraloma Club Oct. 19. It was the squad’s first win of the season in B.C.’s CDI Premiership.
The Vancouver Rowing Club garnered their first win of the season in the CDI Premiership after downing the Meralomas 12-8 at Connaught Park Oct. 19. The Rowers also seized a win in the 1st division Ceili’s Cup League, bettering the Meralomas 48-5. The Rowers 3rd division side lost a close match to the Scribes 13-7.

3RD DIVISION

The 3rds dropped a tight match to the Scribes at Trout Lake, losing 13-7. In the early match (kick off was moved back to 10 a.m. to accommodate players heading to Langford for the Canada “A” vs. Argentina Jaguars game) the Rowers failed to find their stride and many bounces didn’t go their way. The Scribes fought hard and played their way to a well-deserved win.

Coach Kelly Egilsson told the squad after the game, “Now that we know the standard necessary for success, let’s keep the momentum going this week and carry it through to next Saturday.”

First division action.

1ST DIVISION

The Rowing Club First Division got off to a rocky start against the Meralomas in their match. A lack of discipline led to several avoidable penalties, putting the visiting Rowing Club on the back foot early. The Rowing Club got their first solid possession after a missed Meraloma penalty attempt, and immediately went to work on offense.
Some initially messy play was cleaned up as Billy Newman scored what would be his first of two tries on the day. Fly-half Richie Thompson, playing a characteristically outstanding game, added a try and scrum half Darren Harris hit both conversions — later adding a penalty kick to put the Rowers up 22-0 at the half.

Hooker Aaron “Sushi” Collard took control of the ball behind a well-formed maul from an early second-half line-out and rambled in, putting the Rowers up 29-0. Later, Centre Nik Samaja, fullback Alex Ackerley and winger Ryan Messer added tries for the VRC. A strong Rowers defense kept the Meralomas out of the in-goal area until the very last play of the game.

Harris hit 5 of 7 conversions for a final score of 48-5.

Premier division action.

PREMIER DIVISION

The Rowers top tier had a tough time trying to handle a very quick, very tough, Meralomas premier division side. The ‘Lomas scored first, going up 5-0 when they were able to create a two-man overlap in the corner. Undaunted, the visitors relied on strong play by the pack and short runs off picks to move the ball in increments. As they continued to keep possession, hooker Chris Seyler was able to add a game-tying try. The Rowers added the convert to take a 7- 5 lead on the foot of Doug Crowe. The lead was short lived, however, as the home-fifteen soon notched a penalty to go ahead 8-7.

After an extended period of back-and-forth play, characterized by hard tackles on both sides (notably by Rowers standout 8th man George Richmond), fullback Kevin Gurniak was able to find enough space to put one in the in-goal area. The conversion failed, leaving the Rowers ahead 12-8.

As the game clock wound down, the Meralomas threatened, swinging the ball wide out of a ruck and sending a two-man overlap streaking down the far wing. Tighthead prop Jake Chawhan ran a corner-flag route to the ball carrier, making an impressive and difficult cover tackle — uncharacteristic of a big man.

But the ‘Lomas were able to retain possession and advance it to the goal line as (later confirmed by the referee) all time had ticked off the clock. As the Rowers dug in for a tough defensive stand in the shadow of their own sticks, the Meralomas pressed on. Captain Phil Hosie and outside center Matt Doyle were each shown yellow cards with time expired as the ‘Lomas continued to press. Finally, down to 13 men, the VRC were able to recover the ball and the game ended 12-8 in one of the more exciting finishes in recent memory.

Following the game, Coach Jeremy Sabell spoke very genuinely to an exhausted premier side about “heart,” how it’s something that just cannot be coached, and that the side had displayed it as well as he could have ever imagined.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post erroneously reported lock Justin Parlato as the recipient of a yellow card during the final goal-line defensive stand for the Rowers. The card was shown to center-back Matt Doyle. The Ruck Muck regrets the error.

OCTOBER 26

The Rowers take on their arch-rivals Capilano RFC in all three divisions Oct. 26 at Klahanie Park. Kick-off times are:
3rds – 11:30 a.m.
1sts – 1:00 p.m.
Premiers – 2:45 p.m.

More pictures from Connaught:

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