BURNABY, BC - The top ranked team in the Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League - Burnaby Lake Rugby Club - held off a talent-laden no.5 Castaway Wanderers on Saturday afternoon, outmuscling a lineup dotted with Canada-capped representatives by a score 18-8.
Burnaby's high scoring offence was held to just two tries as two of the most dominant forward packs in the league slogged it out under a constant downpour and slippery conditions.
"It was a pretty slow game obviously due to the wet weather but I just felt they played well in the conditions and came away with the win," said Castaway Wanderers and national team prop Andrew Tiedemann.
Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League - Sat. March 8th:
Castaway Wanderers RFC 8 - 18 Burnaby Lake Rugby Club
Capilano RFC 23(+1) - 3 Vancouver Rowing Club
UBCOB Ravens 30(+1) - 18 Meraloma
UVic Vikes 0 - 20(+1) James Bay AA
Both packs had multiple representative level players with Burnaby featuring several BC Bears in Scott MacKay, Andrew Lackner, Anthony Luca and Micha Govorchin. CW's roster had Canada national team forwards in Hubert Buydens, John Phelan and Tiedemann. CW's back line also featured Bears' standout Matt Buckley as well as a centre pairing of national team reps Adam Kleeberger and Mike Scholz.
The opening 15 minutes saw Burnaby with the majority of possession as their pressure saw CW concede two penalties inside their own half. Burnaby standoff Geoff Ryan stepped up to convert both and put his side up 6-0.
CW found their footing and after several scrums inside Burnaby's 22, swung the ball wide where Buckley's long pass skipped along the slick grass and bounced into the waiting hands of winger Jonny Morris who sprinted in for a try in the corner.
CW were building momentum and pinning Burnaby inside their 22 with consistent territorial kicking. The momentum came to an abrupt halt, however, when a deep kick was returned 50 metres by 2013 Premier League Player of the Year Joe Dolesau who then offloaded to his inside centre Jeke Gotegote to run in a try for the 11-5 lead. Ryan added the extras and it was 13-5 at the half.
The second half was a close affair and it wasn't until roughly 15 minutes in when CW full back Chad Northcott slotted a penalty to close the gap to 13-8.
Burnaby continued to build their attack, however, and after several phases of grinding down CW's defence, the ball went wide to prop Scott Mackay who crashed over in the corner for a try. The tally was his third in as many games for Burnaby.
"Knowing how many Canada tight five players they had on their roster definitely got us jacked up for today's game," said Mackay. "It was a hard fought battle up front with their big pack and they didn't give us anything all day. We had to work for every inch."
The two sides will now head into the bye weekend with the Premier League schedule set to resume on March 22nd. Across the Lower Mainland in Vancouver, a West Side derby saw UBCOB Ravens (5-5) edge Meraloma (0-10) 30-18 at Jericho Park. Capilano RFC (6-4) held on to third spot in the standings with a 23-3 bonus point win over Vancouver Rowing Club (4-6). Due to scheduling conflicts and player availability, the UVic Vikes (4-5) defaulted to James Bay (7-3).
The schedule will resume March 22nd with a clash between no.1 Burnaby Lake and no.2 James Bay at MacDonald Park. Across town, the Castaway Wanderers will play host to Capilano RFC at Klahanie Park. Vancouver will host a pair of matches with Vancouver Rowing Club away to UBCOB Ravens and UVic on the road to Meraloma at Connaught Park.