Welcome to Varsity Letters’ B.C. boys high school rugby report.
Here’s a look at match reports from the past week:
No. 2 ST. GEORGE’S 34 at No. 4 OAK BAY 24
VICTORIA — If you’re the visiting Saints, it wasn’t a bad way to move from the regular season to the playoffs.
St. George’s, in much the same way in which it began its Premier League schedule back on April 5 — with a last-second extra-time win over Shawnigan Lake — did it again.
Down one player with about five minutes remaining in a 24-24 tie, and three substitutions filling in for injured players, Saints scored 10 straight points to defeat the defending B.C. Quad A champs.
Reserve winger Jack Abramowich scored the deciding try before the same guy who scored to topple Shawnigan in April, finished things off.
Scrum-half Connor Palmer converted that try then tacked on a penalty to complete the 10-point win.
“Our subs who came on (flanker Ryn Yue, hooker Matteo Mitchell, winger Jack Abramowich and prop Damian Hu) all did so much to help contribute to the outcome for us,” said St. George’s head coach Mike Stiles.
On a blistering sunny afternoon at UVic’s Wallace Field, Saints scored first with a try down the left sideline from Dillon Hamilton. Thomas Kirkwood added the conversion.
Oak Bay, however, took over, scoring 21 straight points before captain and No. 8 Ethan Jaques found touch in the right corner for Saints making it 21-12 Barbarians at the break.
“We regrouped at the half, made some adjustments, and refocused on our game objectives,” said Stiles who got tries from Andrew Munford and Max Brittingham, one of which was converted.
Despite the victory, Stiles felt that the post-season would be wide open in a Quad-A tier field filled with parity.
“As this game was unfolding, it became apparent to me that Shawnigan, Oak Bay, Carson Graham, and St. George’s all have a legitimate shot this year in the provincials,” said Stiles. “Each team has its own identify and style of play. Carson and Shawnigan both kicked deep on us to gain territory, while Carson tried to grind us down, which can be counter-productive to the tempo we want to play. It should be a really exciting tournament, and I expect if we all get to our regional finals, those two games will set the tone for the B.C.’s.”
No. 1 SOUTH DELTA 22 No. 10 ABBOTSFORD 12
TSAWWASSEN — It took a timely second-half close to get the job done as the defending B.C. Triple A champion Sun Devils got all they could handle early before eventually topping the Abbotsford Panthers.
Ttries by Evan Paterson and Bennett Stoilen fuelled a comeback capped by a game-closing penalty kick by Paterson with about five minutes remaining.
Abbotsford had opened a 5-0 lead behind the play of fly half Josiah Levale whose skill helped Abby find open space as they gained ground over continuous phases of play.
“He was a threat all day to run, pass, or kick the ball with crisp and dangerous execution,” said Sun Devils head coach Spencer Baines.
South Delta scrum half Luke Thodos later handed to No. 8 David Begin who dove in for what would be a converted try and a 7-5 lead.
Penalties plagued the Sun Devils all day, along with some ill-timed knock ons which seemed to deflate the home team, and give energy to the visiting Panthers who later took a 12-7 lead with a converted try of their own.
Sun Devils, however, added two more tries to take the victory, the first from some wonderful running by centre Paterson, and the second from hard-grinding work by Stoilen. Patterson rounded out the scoring when he booted a penalty with five minutes remaining.
No. 4 R.E. MOUNTAIN 29 No. 9 ROBERT BATEMAN 12
ABBOTSFORD — The then-No. 7-ranked R.E. Mountain Eagles parlayed solid tackling and efficient ball possession Thursday at Rotary Stadium, building a 17-0 lead en route to a 17-point win over the former No. 3-ranked, host Robert Bateman Timberwolves.
Mountain, which led 12-0 at the half, got tries from Ethan Bernardin, Hosua Kim, Brendan Woelk, Kyle Morfitt and Silas Abbot.
Kyle Morfitt, David Wegert, Jacob Sousa and Gavin Steinthorson all turned in solid performances in the win.
Bateman fought back as Jared Mueller picked up a wayward Mountain pass to sprint 70 meters to score the Wolves’ first points of the match. George Piper added a try later in the half.
“Mountain were the more physical team on the day and the deserving winners,” said Timberwolves’ coach Nathan Sagert, whose charges get back to action Thursday when they host Abbotsford looking to secure a seed in the B.C. Tier 1 bracket.
No. 8 WEST VANCOUVER 25 No. 11 LORD BYNG 17
Ben Welsh kept his Highlanders in it early with his kicking ability.
In the second half, West Vancouver’s Welsh turned on the jets and helped key a big comeback as the Highlanders closed the regular season in impressive fashion over the Grey Ghosts.
“We learned a lot from last week’s game against Mountain,” said West Van head coach Paul Welsh of his team’s Rd. 2 Stadium Series loss in which Langley’s Eagles rallied for a late victory. “Last week, the game was our’s to win at the 50-minute mark, and we lost our discipline. Today, when the match was in question, our leaders set the tone and we were able to finish the job.”
Trailing 10-6, Ben Welsh’s 60-metre break set up a short run to touch by Abid Vahedl.
Welsh later breached the Lord Byng defense again, and thanks to good ball production by Joachin Cacho Sauso and Nick Austin, Cole Roberts was able to score in the corner.
Marlon Stanley also had a try
West Van’s forwards, led by Harry Waddell, Cole Roberts and Matthew Taylor were all a big part of the second-half turnaround.
Byng captain Landon Clironomos had opened the scoring for his team, booting a penalty to pull the Ghosts to within 6-3. Centre Finley MacDonald later broke the West Van defensive line with the first try of the match, a converted major which put Byng ahead 10-6.
Quentin Watt countered with a late try for the Grey Ghosts to wrap up the scoring.
No. 7 HANDSWORTH 44 ARGYLE 7
NORTH VANCOUVER — The Royals were decisive in their derby with the Pipers, allowing just one try while scoring eight themselves.
Daniel Shokohmoayed scored his team’s first two tries, followed by an imperssive 60-metre break to touch by Blake Meckling.
The tough Handsworth defence was keyed by Connor Ward who started his first game at scrum half. The Royals finished the regular season 7-1 and open the playoffs against St. George’s.
R.A. MCMATH 15 KITSILANO 0
RICHMOND — With the post-season beckoning, the host Wildcats got the bounce-back effort they needed.
Putting a 12-5 loss to Nanaimo District behind them with a strong performance from its forward pack, McMath was able to dominate Kitsilano with a number of strong run-ups en en route to the shutout win.
Ryan Xu opened the scoring in the first 10 minutes as McMath spread the ball out to their backs. Xu, the inside centre, eventually beat two tacklers to score in the corner.
Captain Ben Spare bulled his way over the try line to cap off a concentrated flurry of strong runs as the Wildcats’ forwards showcased their possession skills.
The final try again came from several breakthrough runs both by the forwards and backs, leading to pressure on the Kits’ try line for several phases before Yudai Kumitsu was able to push over for the score.
The Wildcats now hit the playoffs, hoping to make provincials for a fourth straight season.
No. 1 COLLINGWOOD 51 No. 4 ROCKRIDGE 21
NORTH VANCOUVER — The No. 1-ranked, defending B.C. champion Cavaliers were at their most dangerous in the opening minute and used it to their advantage in a decisive win Thursday over the Ravens in the 17th annual Hatch Shield clash at Klahanie Park.
Collingwood scored in that first minute, added two more tries over the next 10 minutes and led 38-0 at the break.
“Their defensive structure and intensity was outstanding,” offered Rockridge head coach Perino Zambon of the Cavs. “They are very well-coached and had a great game plan which they executed with ruthless efficiency. Any time we made a mistake, it was instantly converted into pressure and points.”
Nate Holm, Joey Ficocelli, Linus Hartner, Shervin Etemadahari and Lucas Beaupre handled the scoring for the winners with conversions by Graeme Neill.
Rockridge continued to fight on despite the scoreline and got strong performances by Johdai Kobayashi, Henry Finck and senior centre Seb Geddes.
“It was a very good win for us,” admitted Collingwood coach Dave Speirs. “The crowd was fantastic and both schools came out in force. It’s truly one of the best events in high school sports. The stands at Klahanie were filled and Roger Hatch was there to present the shield that is named in his honour.”
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