The Vancouver Rowing Club Premier Reserves Side played near perfect rugby for 80 minutes in an effort they can be proud of to beat a strong UBCOB Ravens opponent decisively 29-17 today at Brockton.
The Rowers came out firing, moving the ball forward with powerful carries that proved hard to stop, and let the opposition know that it was going to be a long, physical day. Veteran 2nd row forward “Brotherman” Brandon Kaye got the attack going early with a couple of long carries that broke tackles. Penalties at the breakdown prevented the Rowers from capitalizing on that attack, though, and some weak defense put them down 5-0 in the 12th minute.

Brandon Kaye, foreground, in the process of laying a vicious hit on an attacker.

Kaye took it up on himself to up the standard on defense, laying an opponent out with a big positive tackle at their 30 meter line. After some back and forth play, Rowers’ heavyweight loose head prop Gus “The Bus” Crowe was able to gather a pass and rumble for a good 15 yards into space in a run that featured lateral movements and fends not often seen from men of The Bus’ ample girth, thrilling the Rowers sideline and putting the Reserves in business inside the 5 meter line. They were able to run multiple phases until flanker “Big Lift” Connor Hines put it down in the corner. A successful conversion by Oisin Daly made it 7-5 for the Rowers in the 26th minute.
The Express Bus: hard to catch, doesn’t make many stops.

The Rowers put up a strong finish to the half when winger “Mad” Max O’Connor sold a dummy to create some space on the outside and put one in. Another good corner conversion by Daly made the score 14-5 for the Rowers at the half.
But the Ravens weren’t going to give up easy. They were able to hold off several great looking Rowers attacks, including a rolling chain of offloads that started with hooker Ryan Chapman, and traveled to flanker Quinn Cowie through Daly, in the opening minutes of the half. The Ravens caught some luck in the 48th minute, chasing down a grubber kick behind the Rowers defense for a try plus conversion that made it 14-12.
The Rowers were able to build an attack off of a turnover courtesy of tighthead prop “Newfie” Rob Spearing, then get the ball wide to O’Connor for his second big long run into space. The Australian took it 40+ yards before being chased down and tackled out of bounds at the 5. The Rowers were then able to steal the Ravens’ lineout and run crash ball to advance until Crowe found paydirt. Daly’s conversion made it 21-12.
Top: Hooker Ryan Chapman diving in for a try. Robbie Spearing, shown below frustrating defenders, created the turnover to set the try up.


Perhaps afraid of being accused of selfishness or a lack of handling skills, Crowe was able to find O’Connor on the wing with a pass for a third streak into space, followed by an offload to Chapman, who fought off a tackle to put one in in the corner and make it 26-12 in the 61st minute.
The Ravens added one in the 71st minute working a strong crash ball off of a lineout until they found space, making it 26-17, but it would be all they could manage. After Daly added a penalty kick from the 25 in the 74th minute to make it 29-17, the Rowers played lights out defense against a strong, fit opponent who weren’t ready to give up while they were in striking distance. The Ravens were able to get it to their winger in space in the 76th minute for what looked like a sure try until Cowie chased him down and laid a hard tackle that put the Raven out of bounds and gave the Rowers possession. They staved off a desperate attack in their own end for the final two minutes, finally forcing a forward pass, winning the scrum and kicking it out with time expired to seal the victory.
The win puts the Rowers Reserves record at 4-3. They will be in action against the 0-4 Capilanos next week at Brockton.
With additional reporting by Kelly Anderson.
Photos by Kelly Egilsson
Quinn Cowie had a characteristically excellent game, including an impressive cover tackle late in the game that put an end to the visitors’ hopes of coming back.

 
Connor “Big Lift” Hines surveys the defense from the #8 position. Hines had 1 try on the day.

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