Welcome to another edition of Varsity Letter’s B.C. High School Rugby Report.
This week we cover playoff action from the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island.
NEW ZEALAND SHIELD SEMIFINALS
R.A. MCMATH 19 ROCKRIDGE 12
RICHMOND — Zach Ballen’s game-breaking 30-metre run late in the second half led to a decisive try by Jordan Roberts as the host McMath Wildcats topped West Vancouver’s visiting Rockridge Ravens in a Lower Mainland Double A semifinal clash Thursday on Lulu Island.
Robert, and later Seth Wong-Hen, had powered over the touch-line in the opening half to give the hosts a 12-7 lead, but it was Roberts’ second try of the game which enabled the ‘Cats to weather a Rockridge try scored over the final seconds of play.
Jacob Lorenz converted two of the tries as the Wildcats move on to face West Vancouver’s Collingwood Cavalier in the New Zealand Shield Lower Mainland championship final this Thursday (3:15 p.m.) at Brockton Oval.
COLLINGWOOD 24 SUTHERLAND 0
WEST VANCOUVER — A pair of tries from Derek Punter, one in each half, led a balanced scoring effort as the host Cavaliers topped the rival Sabres in Lower Mainland Double A Tier 1 semifinal action.
Max Moyes had opened the scoring for Collingwood at the 12-minute mark, his try converted by Cam Bird.
Connor Currie opened the scoring for Collingwood eight minutes into the second half, and Bird’s second convert of the game made it 19-0.
Carter Proc and Matt Frost played stand-out matches for the winners.
Details were not provided by coaches.
In quarterfinal games played Thursday at Seycove, scores were:
Carson Graham 75 Lord Byng 10, Handsworth 17 Kitsilano 5, Argyle 22 Sentinel 7, West Vancouver 20 Burnaby Central 0 (default).
LOWER ISLAND CHAMPIONSHIP
SMUS 16 OAK BAY 15
VICTORIA — A pair of close call for St. Michaels University School at their own goal line, and more heroics from Quinn Ngawati carried the Blue Jags to a heart-stopping 16-15 win over the Oak Bay Barbarians on Thursday in the Howard Russell Cup clash, emblematic of Lower Island senior boys rugby supremacy.
Oak Bay had built a 15-3 lead in the opening half, and although Ngawati was able to slice it to 15-6 with his second penalty kick of the day, the Barbarians twice lost control of the ball just outside the Blue Jags’ try line.
Taking advantage, SMUS pulled to within 15-13 with eight minutes remaining after lock Euan Hannigan scored a try off a goal-line scramble that was converted by Ngawati.
Then, on the final play of the game, Ngawati booted a 45-metre penalty to win the match.
“If either time the ball had been grounded,” SMUS head coach Ian Hyde-Lay said after, regarding the two bullets his team dodged earlier in the second half, “there is no doubt Oak Bay would have won the match. Only some desperate defence kept them out.”
Ngawati, along with hooker Owen Weismiller, flankers Sam Kahn and Bryn Haydock and centre Felix Butterfield were all standouts in the win. Oak Bay centres Jim Newman and Lachlan Kratz were instrumental for their team. Barbarians got tries from David Carson and Nick Carson, with Jack Carson kicking a penalty and a convert.
“The SMUS-Oak Bay rivalry always brings out the best in both teams,” concluded Hyde-Lay. “I’ve lost count of how many games between the two sides since 1991 have been decided, quite literally, on the final play.”
A number of other Lower Island titles were determined Thursday as well: Community Shield — Reynolds 10, Ladysmith 8; Community Bowl — Claremont 21, Edward Milne 0; Junior Final — Oak Bay 61, Claremont 26; Colonel Hodgkins Cup — Belmont 43, GNS 29.
SMUS and Oak Bay will highlight the Vancouver Island zone tournament May 18 at Mill Bay’s Brentwood College.
Among the scheduled matches: Oak Bay vs. Triple A No. 1 Shawnigan Lake, Glenlyon Norfolk vs. Nanaimo District, Claremont vs Cowichan and Belmont vs G.P. Vanier. A Junior final is also scheduled.
ROBERT BATEMAN 60 LANGLEY 19
ABBOTSFORD — The rain and a determined pack of Langley Saints held Bateman’s Timberwolves at bay over the first half of its Fraser Valley semifinal on Thursday.
The second half was its polar opposite.
Outside centre Dylan Roach led a parade of seven second-half tries, scoring on runs of 30- and 42-metres while teammates Anthony Bodger, Brock McCartney, Sam Henneberry, Taylor Smith and Josh Lagunes scored one each.
Fullback Charlie May, who had opened the scoring for Bateman in the first half with a 40-metre run off a counter attack, also booted five conversions on the day. Captain Sean Moynahan and Lucas Schultz scored the ’Wolves other tries.
G.W. GRAHAM 50 D.W. POPPY 0
CHILLIWACK — Von Richardson, Spencer Breslin, Corben Bowen and Michael Lenger all scored tries and were offensive standouts as the Grizzlies dominated the Red Hawks on a wet home field Thursday.
Defensively, Curtis Russell, Richardson, Sam Hoyer and Cameron Sheffield with consistent tackles and pressure at the breakdowns.
“I applaud the effort put forth by my Redhawks,” said D.W. Poppy head coach Kyle Barry, who got a solid outing from Kasper Henderson. “We brought a never-say-die attitude andwe battled until the final whistle.”
Also having strong games in defeat were Brendan Anderlini, Luca Agostini and George Brown.
Poppy and Langley clash in a crosstown derby for third place in the Valley on Tuesday at LSS.
EARL MARRIOTT 24 W.J. MOUAT 7
SURREY — Despite the torrential downpour which limited play between the 40-metre lines, Gavin Morrison and Ryan Renkers each carried to touch in the opening half as the Mariners beat Abbotsford’s visiting Hawks to earn a spot in the Fraser Valley finals.
Shay Lalor added a try as part of a dominant second half by the Mariners, however Mouat was able to score late of an 80-metre run.
SOUTH DETLA 31 LORD TWEEDSMUIR 5
SURREY — The Tsawwassen visitors stormed out to an early lead after several unforced handling errors came back to bite the host Panthers.
Three first-half tries by a Sun Devils’ team boasting a very physical forward pack made their momentum difficult to slow as Tweedsmuir trailed 25-0 at halftime.
Eamon Piegeon took a feed from Mack Allinson and worked his way past five defenders late in the contest to score the Panthers’ only points.
Before the game, the Lord Tweedsmuir team donned special, self-designed t-shirts in honour of classmate and Vancouver Whitecaps residency player Travis Selje who lost his life in an automobile accident earlier this month.