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Capilano, Velox take premier club rugby titles
Kamloops Raiders take Third Division, Castaway Wanderers Ceili's Cup winners
 
Published Saturday, May 12, 2012
by Andrew Smith, BC Rugby Communications

VANCOUVER - The 2011-2012 British Columbia club rugby season wrapped up in West Vancouver on Saturday afternoon with four provincial championships handed out.

North Shore club Capilano RFC took top billing in the Rounsefell Cup final of the men's Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League, downing Island powerhouse James Bay 22-21. In the Women's Adidas Premiership, the Velox Valkyries of Saanich took home the Gordon Harris Memorial Cup with a thrilling 14-20 win over Burnaby Lake Rugby Club.

In the Men's Ceili's Cup League - the Tier One First Division - the Castaway Wanderers edged Meraloma Rugby Club 24-16. In the Men's Province Wide Third Division, the Kamloops Raiders rallied for a 38-29 win over the Velox Valhallians.

Women's Adidas Premiership
Harris Memorial Cup Final - Provincial Championship
Burnaby Lake Rugby Club 14 - 20 Velox Valkyries

Men's Province Wide Third Division
Provincial Championship
 Velox Valhallians 29 - 38 Kamloops Rugby Club

Ceili's Cup League (Tier 1 First Division)
Ceili's Cup Final - Provincial Championship
Meraloma Rugby Club 16 - 24 Castaway Wanderers RFC

Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League
Rounsefell Cup Final - Provincial Championship
Capilano RFC 22 - 21 James Bay AA

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Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League
Rounsefell Cup Final - Provincial Championship
Capilano RFC 22 - 21 James Bay AA

After spending two years on Vancouver Island, the coveted Rounsefell Cup - awarded to the top men's club rugby side in British Columbia - has returned to the Lower Mainland. Third-seeded Capilano RFC pipped the top ranked James Bay Athletic Association at Klahanie Park on Saturday, winning their first Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League championship since securing back-to-back titles during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons.

It's a remarkable achievement considering this time last year Capilano were competing in Tier Two competition after being relegated from the Premier League, defeating Richmond in the 2011 Okanagan Spring Brewery League Final.

Now the club are back on top after a three-try championship performance that had their home fans on the edge of their seats for a full 80 minutes of rugby.

The 2011-2012 Rounsefell Cup Final opened with James Bay kicker and Canadian International Connor Braid kicking a penalty for the early 3-0 lead. Capilano responded with a try from Ron Johnstone and scrum half Chris Robinson provided the extras for a 7-3 lead.

Braid added another penalty for the Bays and Robinson responded in turn for the 10-6 score line, favouring Capilano.

The second half opened with Canadian Sevens International Jeff Hassler showing his speed to dot down for James Bay, putting the score at 10-11.

Capilano had the advantage in the set pieces, dictating the forwards play and breaking the Bays down. Their next score came courtesy of a try from inside centre Nate Rees. Robinson added the conversion and Capilano were up 17-11.

Several turnovers were committed by both sides and Capilano cost themselves a number of penalties. Braid made them pay, adding another score to see James Bay trailing by three when it was 17-14.

The final 20 minutes were an electrifying display of open rugby as both sides recorded tries.

Sending the home stands into a frenzy was 18-year-old Capilano winger Nathan Yanagiya, a Carson Graham Secondary standout who chased down his own kick to crash over in the far corner. The try provided the Caps with a 22-14 buffer and nearly put the game out of reach.

Battling until the final minutes, it was Hassler who again scored for James Bay as he blitzed through his defenders and touched down between the uprights. Braid provided the extras and the Bays were trailing 22-21 with full time eventually running out.

"I'm obviously disappointed that we didn't get the win but that was an exciting game of rugby," James Bay head coach Peter Rushton said when the final whistle blew. "[Capilano] were more organized up front and even though we were prepared for it, we didn't have the consistent ability to defend against their attack."

For Capilano captain Charlie Jones who led the Caps to a Lower Mainland divisional title in the Fall, the win capped off an incredibly draining season of rugby.

"Exhilarated is the word I would use to describe how it feels right now," Jones said after the win. "We played a great team game today and it was all about total determination as a group."

Capilano head coach Tom Larisch was ecstatic to see his players complete the turnaround from last season and has plenty to look forward to with a mass of players currently filling the ranks in the Capilano program. Larisch also serves as head coach for Carson Graham and to see his high school standout Nathan Yanagiya excel at the senior men's level and contribute a try was not lost on him.

"I struggled to decide if I was going to bring him as I didn't want to jeopardize his high school season," Larisch said. "I never could have imagined he would have had this much of an impact at the senior level. Hopefully he keeps level-headed and realizes there is still a lot to learn."

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Women's Adidas Premiership
Harris Memorial Cup Final - Provincial Championship
Burnaby Lake Rugby Club 14 - 20 Velox Valkyries

The Velox Valkyries capped off a perfect season with a thrilling 20-14 win over reigning Gordon Harris Memorial Cup champions Burnaby Lake Rugby Club. Saturday's encounter was a rematch of the 2011 cup final, but this time Velox held strong on defence, fending off wave after wave of Burnaby's late surges.

Burnaby had taken an early 7-0 lead through a Maria Gallo try and Julia Sugawara conversion but slowed their pace and allowed for Velox to record three straight scores.

"Velox were the more consistent team," said Burnaby's head coach Walt Brandl after the game. "We had a lull in the middle and had to claw our way back in."

Velox's first try was recorded by scrum half Natalie Tam with the extra two points kicked by Amanda Campbell. Courntey Blum crossed over for Velox's second try to see the Valkyries leading 12-7 at the break.

The second half saw Velox record another two quick scores through a Cambpell penalty and a try from Lindsay Anderson.

Gallo responded with an intercept try and the Sugawara extras had Burnaby within one converted try at 20-14. In the final minutes Burnaby's break away run down the far corner resulted in a turnover, and possession was then lost in a late scrum that saw Velox power through the Burnaby pack.

The win saw Velox cap off a perfect season having posted a 9-0 record and then two straight wins in the playoffs. The championship was especially sweet for Velox captain Sarah Levson, a member of the 2011 Velox side that lost to Burnaby in the dying minutes of the cup final.

"That was definitely round two for us after the devastating loss last year," Levson said after the win. "Our forward play was really strong and just as they have all season, they set the pace in the game. That scrum in the last few minutes was really a phenomenal steal."

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Ceili's Cup League (Tier 1 First Division)
Ceili's Cup Final - Provincial Championship
Meraloma Rugby Club 16 - 24 Castaway Wanderers RFC

The Men's Ceili's Cup final saw the second-seeded Oak Bay Castaway Wanderers defeat the Meraloma Rugby Club 24-16. The Meralomas were unable to repeat their semifinal heroics where they knocked the number one ranked Capilano RFC out of the postseason last weekend. On Saturday the Castaway Wanderers led from start to finish, recording 17 straight points before Meraloma found their footing.

CW's tries were scored by Sam Lawless, Jonny Morris and Jason Burt. Jed Alexander contributed nine points through three conversions and a penalty. For the Meralomas it was a frustrating day as they only managed to cross the try line once. Meraloma Bryn Tucker kicked three penalties and a conversion with the lone try recorded by Mark Farrally.

Men's Province Wide Third Division
Provincial Championship
 Velox Valhallians 29 - 38 Kamloops Rugby Club

The Kamloops Raiders capped off an undefeated season going 8-0 before winning three straight playoff matches. On Saturday they notched five tries in a 38-29 cup final win over Island Third Division champions Velox Valhallians.

Kamloops kicker Cole Levitt put on a dominating performance scoring two tries, five conversions and a penalty. Kamloops tries were also recorded by Mark Farmer, Brandon Kicia and Shawn Roberts. Velox were down 17-0 before Ray Young was able to cross over and provide the Valhallians with a try. Velox scores were also recorded by John Lyall, Chad Vath and Kevin Summerfeldt.


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