Rowers, Sharks, Piggies, Burnaby, Beavers crowned provincial champs
VANCOUVER - Five different clubs were crowned provincial champions on Saturday afternoon as 2011-2012 championship finals were held across six divisions in the British Columbia Rugby Union.
The Surrey Beavers swept the Tier Three Province Leagues and took home two provincial championships, edging Fraser Valley rivals Langley 12-10 in the seconds, 24-17 in the firsts. In an all-Island final, Cowichan Piggies won the Women's Big Kahuna Division One championship after defeating Nanaimo 29-17 at Cowichan Rugby Club.
Klahanie Park in North Vancouver played host to three championship matches of hearth-pounding, high scoring rugby. The day opened with the Women's Langara Fishing Adventures Division Two final where 2011 runners-up Burnaby Lake downed Meraloma 39-27 in a match that featured 12 tries. The Tier Two Okanagan Spring Brewery League titles were split between the Bayside Sharks of White Rock and the Vancouver Rowing Club. Bayside won the League Two match in extra time, while the Rowers won a battle of attrition in the League One final defeating the Rowers 36-24.
Women's Langara Fishing Adventures Division Two - Ged Griffiths Cup
Burnaby Lake 39, Meraloma 27
In search of their first women's club trophy since 2001, Meraloma Rugby Club came out firing and appeared to have the momentum in the opening minutes. Scrum half Ciara Malone shed several tacklers before dashing down the side line for the opening score. The lead then changed hands twice in the first half as Burnaby Lake took a 15-10 lead into the break. The second half saw eight tries recorded, Burnaby winning the count with five to Meraloma's three.
By the final whistle Malone had crossed over twice and Kim Hume had also crossed over for Meraloma. Rachel Gully tacked on the fifth try with Hume adding a convert.
Burnaby had a trio of try scorers each cross over twice with flanker Nancy Radman, Kathleen Grudzinski and Alya Govorchin recording braces. Tian Coutts recorded a try for Burnaby with Rebecca Querido adding two penalties. It was an impressive result for no.4 Burnaby, the lowest seed heading into the playoffs with a 2-6 record.
"That was an incredible effort by both squads and that first half especially was so tight," Burnaby head coach Ian Trevor said after the win. "But our forwards played a great game and we were bigger and played to our strengths. We also knew that their nine (scrum half) Ciara Malone was an outstanding player so a lot of today was making sure the gaps weren't there for her to get through. I think we had the ability to answer to their scores and once we had a two try lead it made it that much tougher for them in the end."
Men's Okanagan Spring Brewery League Two
Bayside Sharks 41, Vancouver Rowing Club 27
Heading into the second final of the day, both sides knew the no. 1 Rowers (6-2) and no. 2 Bayside Sharks (5-3) would be evenly matched. The teams traded the lead on several occasions and drew level with the following score lines; 7-7, 17-17, and eventually finished the 80 minutes of regular time at 24-24. Bayside found their second wind in over time, exploding for 17 points. The Sharks ended the match with three unanswered tries, eventually seeing Dan Lee dot down for the final score.
Men's Okanagan Spring Brewery League One
Vancouver Rowing Club 36, Bayside Sharks 24
Just minutes after a dramatic extra time final and emotions at an all time high, the top sides for Bayside Sharks and Vancouver Rowing Club scrummed down for the Okanagan Spring Brewery League One final. The benches for these games were made up largely of players who had just played 100 plus minutes of playoff rugby in the League Two final.
The Rowers opened the scoring through an intercept try as Duncan James went in under the posts untouched for a try. Matt James added the extras for the 7-0 lead. Bayside's centre Pete Clifford - the league's leading scorer - responded with a try and convert of his own to bring the score to 7-7.
Graham Keane then crossed over for the Rowers to make it 12-7, before Bayside full back Corey Wood made it 12-12 and Clifford added the conversion as well as a penalty. At the break the Rowers were down 17-12 and to make matters worse had lost their starting no. 10 Doug Crowe and full back Matt James to injury.
"In the first half we were doing fine with the ball in hand but we weren't executing on the first up tackles. We lost Matt to a wrist injury and Doug to a broken nose and I think our young guys lost a bit of self belief," said Vancouver Rowing Club head coach Jeremy Sabell. "At half time I told our guys that there was no reason for that and we could be back in this game starting with our tackles."
The second half opened with another Bayside tally as Zac Thorpe dotted down to make it 22-12 and Clifford added the convert. But the Rowers rallied together and battled through the injuries to score 24 unanswered points.
First up was winger Steve Craig who cut the lead to 17-24 with a try. Henry Recinos added the convert to make it 19-24. Next up for the Rowers was Recinos who went over on the far side to make it a tie game at 24 points a piece. Building steam, the Rowers carried their momentum into their set piece as prop Noah Barker then went over and Recinos adding the extras. The fourth and final try saw substitute Karl Mudzamba, fresh off an exhausting over time game in the League Two final, sprint through for the final score.
"There were so many dramatic ups and downs, especially in that first game," Bayside head coach Pat Kearney said, noting the exhaustion of the players in the League Two final. "But you have to give credit to [head coach] Jeremy Sabell and the Rowers because their bench was better than our bench. Their speed was better than our speed and so was their decision making."
The Bayside Sharks will be promoted to the Tier One Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League next season based on their regular season finish, but Kearney said his players have benefited from this year's run in the Tier Two competition.
"At the end of the day it was a good display of rugby and I think it bodes well for the level of competition in the Okanagan Spring Brewer League. I think the spectators enjoyed the games today," Kearney added.
May 12th Finals
Next up are the club championship finals on May 12th for the Canadian Direct Insurance Premier Leuage, Ceili's Cup League, Women's Adidas Premiership and Province Wide Men's Third Division. Final venue and schedule information will be released early next week.
MEN'S LEAGUES - Upcoming Games
Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League - Sat. May 5th:
SEMIFINAL 1: Burnaby Lake 21 - 23 James Bay AA
SEMIFINAL 2: Capilano RFC 34 - 22 Castaway Wanderers
Ceili's Cup League (Tier 1 First Division) - Sat. May 5th:
SEMIFINAL 1: Meraloma Rugby Club 27 - 23 Capilano RFC
SEMIFINAL 2: Burnaby Lake 10 - 24 Castaway Wanderers RFC
TIER 2: Okanagan Spring Brewery League One - Sat. May 5th:
PROVINCIAL FINAL: Vancouver Rowing Club 36 - 24 Bayside Sharks
TIER 2: Okanagan Spring Brewery League Two - Sat. May 5th:
PROVINCIAL FINAL: Bayside Sharks 41 - 24 Vancouver Rowing Club
TIER 3: The Province League One - Sat. May 5th:
PROVINCIAL FINAL: Surrey 24 - 17 Langley
TIER 3: The Province League Two - Sat. May 5th:
PROVINCIAL FINAL: Langley 10 - 12 Surrey
Province Wide Third Division - Sat. May 5th:
PROVINCIAL SEMIFINAL: Kats RFC 5 - 55 Kamloops RFC
PROVINCIAL SEMIFINAL: Brit Lions 15 - 25 Velox Valhallians
Women's Adidas Premiership - Sat. May 5th:
SEMIFINAL 1: Bayside 8 - 36 Velox Valkyries
SEMIFINAL 2: United Rugby Club 12 - 22 Burnaby Lake Rugby Club
Big Kahuna Division One - Sat. May 5th:
PROVINCIAL FINAL: Nanaimo 17 - 29 Cowichan
Langara Fishing Adventures Division Two - Sat. May 5th:
PROVINCIAL FINAL: Meraloma 27 - 39 Burnaby Lake