The Rowing Club’s top side played strong, dynamic rugby Saturday to earn a 17-5 victory over the Meralomas on the road at Connaught Park.

The ‘Lomas drew first blood in the 28th minute on a play that started from a scrum in the Rowers’ end. The VRC defense held up at the goal line for a while, but the hosts eventually found an overlap that they were able to exploit with quick hands to get on the board. 5-0 Meralomas after a missed conversion.

It would stay that way for the rest of the first half, both teems keeping the lid on excellent attacks with exceptional defense.

The Rowers would strike again in the 48th minute, kicking for touch off a penalty to set a lineout, winning that lineout to set up phase play, and using brute-force determination to drive a maul into the end goal and tie the game, Gregory “Gus the Bus” Crowe grounding the ball to score the try. 5-5 Rowers after a missed conversion.

“The Bus” lets go with a primal scream after getting his team on the board.

Wide open attack would put the Rowers ahead in the 55th minute, Jordan W-R finding a seam along the sideline to put the exclamation point on a strong attack with quick cycles and sure hands from the Rowers’ backline. 10-5 Rowers.

In the 60th minute, back row forward Micheal Cooke was able to break a tackle in his own end and break off a 60 yard run into Maraloma territory, running through tacklers as he went, only to be dragged down only a few yards from the goal line by the Meralomas chase. Rowers’ support was able to win the ball and continue the attack, but the Lomas’ goal-line defense held strong, eventually winning a turnover and kicking away to end the Rowers’ thereat.

Cooke breaks a tackle…
Cooke with the stiff-arm…
Cooke’s Away!

The Rowers would add an insurance try in the 67th minute, courtesy of fullback Tom Rowland, who was able to put it right under the posts. A Nick Wackawitz conversion made it 17-5, final score.

Tom Rowland, foreground, scored an insurance try Saturday.

Forwards Coach Jonathan Mergui had reservations about his teams’ early play from set piece: “We came out with good intention but we couldn’t get our lineout to work and lost our first five throws, all of them in the Lomas 22. We built pressure but couldn’t score.” Mergui was more pleased, with the resilience the Prems showed in securing the victory: “In the second half we used the wind, fixed the lineout, and exerted the defensive pressure we should have had in the first half. We did well to recover mentally from a [bad] start.”

The win makes the Rowers top team 3-1 on the year, good for third place in the Mainland First Division, behind the UBC Thunderbirds and the Capilanos, both 4-0.

The Prems are next in action this coming November 13th, when they host the Bayside Sharks at Brockton, 2:30 pm kickoff.

More photos from this game in the photo gallery, and on Instagram @VRCrugby.

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