The Rowers mighty Third Division beat the Maralomas at Brockton this Saturday, coming away with a well-earned win in their final regular season home game of 2019.
The Rowers D came out strong, but conceded a try in the tenth minute when a kick for position failed to find touch, and a Maralomas counter attack found some space. 7-0 after the conversion. Conceding the early strike felt familiar, but the Thirds didn’t let it get to them this Saturday. They stepped up the defensive effort, kept their shape (especially in open play) and made it count with ball in hand.
Strong pack play was the difference, the support having improved greatly, allowing for stronger phases and cleaner ball to the back-line. The Rowers dominated set pieces against a Lomas front row that had a ways to go before they gained the requisite experience, and were able to win line-outs consistently, giving them an advantage on penalty kicks for position. Hooker Brian “Fish the Financier” Andrews had a cracker of a day in what might be his final game as a Rower. The Ireland-bound forward, threw to a five man lineout that the thirds put together in the warmup to win clean ball all day, and create a base for an offensive performance the Rowers can be proud of.
Centre Jeremy Burtenshaw, Scrum half Dominic Howard and rookie fly half Ashley van Rensburg all scored tries, and “Edmonton” Luis Groot made some impressive yards after coming down with a Rowers kickoff on the wing that surprised his teammates, opponents and the home crowd. Groot carried it a good thirty yards before being dropped, allowing the Rowers to set up a clean set of phases that finished behind the sticks. Van Rensburg also had a try-saving tackle in the second half that contributed to what could only be described as a team win.
The team showed discipline, limiting low percentage offloads in contact and trusting their support to keep the ball, much to the elation of flanker / 2nd Row utility forward Donald Campbell (of the Campbell Clan, Prince Edward Island). “The entire team – every single player – did their job,” Campbell told us Saturday in the Carver room. “We weren’t forcing things. We worked and worked, phase after phase, to eventually find an opening.”
Campbell was among a charging forward pack who were pressing at the Lomas goal line with time expired only to have what would have been a final try held up in the end goal.
The win puts the Rowers at an even 5-5, 6th in BC Rugby’s Lower Mainland 3rd Division standings. They’ll be in action next week away at arch rival Capilanos.