Day 2 is now in the books at the 2018 B.C. Secondary Schools Rugby Union B.C. championships.
Tonight, we break down the re-match of an early season clash which few would have thought at the time was a preview to this Saturday’s B.C. Triple A Tier 1 championship.
As well, we check in on an early-season, round one Stadium Series battle and how it has proven to be an early look at Saturday’s B.C. Double A Tier 1 title match.
Plus, we’ve got the day’s full scoreboard!
ABBOTSFORD — South Delta head coach Spencer Baines and Stephen Rowell, his counterpart with Abbotsford’s Robert Bateman Timberwovles, can each look back on the afternoon of April 10th as a key day in the evolution of their respective teams, and how it has impacted each on the road to Saturday’s B.C. Triple A Tier 1 title tilt.
Paramount on the minds of each were their big semifinal final wins Thursday.
South Delta topped speedy West Vancouver 17-5, while Robert Bateman got its best effort of the season to upset top-seeded Earl Marriott of Surrey 23-5.
Yet as each team looks forward, it’s clear both will look back to their meeting earlier this season in Tsawwassen.
“The thing I remember most about that game is that we played as a team,” Baines said in reflection Thursday, remembering that 22-7 victory over Bateman as a milestone marker in a season which concludes Saturday (3 p.m.) with a championship final rematch against Bateman at Rotary Stadium.
“We have a lot of talented individuals on our team, but in that game, we came together and we executed like we had been practicing,” said Baines. “The win itself means nothing (in relation to Saturday’s rematch) but I see it as one of our better performances of the season. I was very happy we didn’t have to go through them to get to the final, because Bateman is going to be a tough test. They are big and strong. Similar in a lot of ways to us.”
Rowell remembers the loss coming at a time of the campaign in which Bateman’s true rugby identity was yet to be discovered.
“We were still figuring things out, still mixing up the lineup to see where players would best be playing,” Rowell said Thursday, just moments after his team had shown definitively that it had figured things out with a win over Earl Marriott, the same team which edged South Delta 29-25 in last week’s Fraser Valley title match.
“Ever since, the players have bought into what we’re doing and they have executed.”
There was little doubt of that following the win over the favoured Mariners on Thursday.
In a previous meeting, Bateman proved a lot to itself about its ability to hang with a provincial power for half a game.
Yet it was dangerous to read too much into the fact that the Wolves trailed just 10-5 at the break, because the Mariners came back and won that game 40-17.
“So today, we actually played a full 60 minutes,” Rowell said, as his team built an 8-0 halftime advantage into a 23-0 lead before Earl Marriott added a late try. “It was ‘OK, what are you going to do? Are you going to let them get back into the game, or are you going to not blink and keep at the process? Today, we totally executed.”
Bateman’s Grade 10 flanker Phoenix Moller, who did not play in the team’s earlier loss to South Delta, scored a pair of tries, while fly-half Josh Lagunes added another.
Ace kicker Sam Davenport kicked two penalties and added a convert.
The Sun Devils?
Baines knew there was going to be nothing easy about facing a West Van team know for its speed, passing acumen and ability to play an expansive game.
That, and the fact that West Van was coming off an emotional, last-second win over Yale the day before, made this contest, from the Sun Devils’ perspective, a very dangerous one.
“And we were flat right off the bat,” said Baines as West Vancouver opened the game by taking a 5-0 lead.
Douglas Jameson, Michael Calvert and Andrew Kraft were each able to answer with tries as part of the winning rally as South Delta scored all of its points in unanswered fashion.
There were some very anxious moments late for South Delta.
Calvert and fly-half Evan Patterson were each issued yellow cards, Calvert for a dump tackle and Patterson for a late hit.
“We were down to 13 on 15 for eight minutes,” said Baines. “We just defended like crazy and it was pretty special to watch.”
DOUBLE A TIER 1
Mark April 7 down as the early-season date which produced the preview of the 2018 B.C. Double A Tier 1 final.
The Stadium Series at Swangard matched West Vancouver’s Collingwood Cavaliers against Mill Bay’s Brentwood College.
Brentwood had beaten Collingwood 24-14 in last season’s provincial semifinals, yet on this occasion, Collingwood showcased both its speed and opportunistic nature as the Cavs rolled to a surprising 34-5 victory.
Collingwood co-coach Dave Speirs told Varsity Letters that day after that win: “The next time we play them, we won’t be that lucky.”
And on Thursday, after the Collingwood and Brentwood had each won semifinal games to create a rematch in Saturday’s 1 p.m. final at Rotary Stadium, he was standing firm, expecting nothing less than a classic matchup.
“I think we were really pleased,” Speirs said Thursday of the earlier win over Brentwood, “but they made mistakes that day that I know they won’t make on Saturday.”
Watching Brentwood’s dominant win Wednesday over Rockridge, and its 36-10 win Thursday in the semifinals over three-time defending B.C champion St. Michaels University School of Victoria, just reinforced the point to Speirs, who nonetheless is proud of the way his team has accepted the challenge to become its best.
“We have a lot of Grade 12s and they have done everything we’ve asked,” said Speirs, whose charges toppled Chilliwack’s G.W. Graham Grizzlies 50-5 in its Thursday semifinal. “Everyone talks about how hard it is to get kids to commit to something, but they have done it.
“Brentwood has athletes everywhere and we have a really good combo of big guys who are powerful, and speed. I think that it will be a most amazing final.”
AAA Tier 1
South Delta 17 West Vancouver 5
Robert Bateman 23 vs. Earl Marriott 5
Lord Byng 22 Yale 15
Claremont 50 R.E. Mountain 8
AAA Tier 2
W.J. Mouat 56 Elgin Park 22
Kelowna 24 Fleetwood 12
Handsworth 24 Nanaimo District 12
Belmont 24 Sentinel 14
AA Tier 1
Brentwood College 36 SMUS 10
Collingwood 50 G.W. Graham 5
Rockridge 27 Langley 19
Clarence Fulton 29 Sir Charles Tupper 18
AA Tier 2
Glenlyon Norfolk 22 DW Poppy 10
LV Rogers 48 Brookswood 5
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