Vancouver, BC – May 13 2018: Vancouver Island Crimson Tide clinched the Ruth Hellerud-Brown Cup despite losing the second leg of the competition to Vancouver Wave 38-31 at Juan de Fuca Park. The Crimson Tide team carried a 12-point advantage into this fixture following their 32-20 victory earlier in the season, giving Wave a significant hurdle to overcome.
Vancouver wave gave themselves the best possible start, charging out of the blocks and racking up a 19-0 lead within the first 30mins. Crimson Tide responded and a fierce battle ensued for the remainder of the first half, both sides trading scores and big hits. At halftime, Wave still had the lead but the gap was narrowing, 26-10 on the scoreboard. The second half carried on in the same vein, Wave trying to edge out a greater lead but Crimson Tide always managing to peg them back. In the last 20 minutes, Tide managed to close the gap to just 9 points (33-24) and set hearts racing on both sides.
As the match clock ticked down, both sides secured a final try each, Crimson Tide with a successful conversion to narrow the gap by another two points. As full time was blown by the referee, it was Vancouver Island Crimson Tide whose cheers rang the loudest, securing the 2018 Ruth Hellerud-Brown Cup by a cumulative score of 63-58. Credit to all the players for their hard work on the field, such a narrow margin after two matches is a testament to the quality of rugby on both teams.
This was not the only Regional Cup fixture taking place at the weekend. Over at Sullivan Heights on the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley U23 Men (FVRU) hosted Vancouver U23 Men (VRU) in the first match of the Dunbar Keg. Previously a U20 competition, the Dunbar Keg has now evolved into a U23 tournament featuring the best young talent from Fraser Valley, Vancouver and Vancouver Island. A number of players involved in previous Dunbar Keg competitions have gone on to represent Canada’s National Team including Jared Douglas (Abbotsford RFC, Fraser Valley).
Saturday’s clash featured a number of talented athletes on both sides, many of whom have already represented BC in the U18 and U19 Rep XVs Teams. Despite some great flair and hard rucking from FVRU, it was VRU that controlled the match, dictating play in a number of areas on the pitch. The Finals Score was 48-10 to VRU, who will now go on to face Vancouver Island U23 on May 26th. Meanwhile, FVRU will take on Canada’s U20 Development squad in an exhibition match on the same day.
Finally, back on Vancouver Island, a selection match between North Island Tsunami and South Island Tide took place at Port Alberni. With the McKechnie Cup showdown against Vancouver looming on the horizon, this was an opportunity for players on both sides to showcase their skills and identify themselves as potential starts in that fixture. Not to mention compete for regional island pride.
Under glorious sunny skies, both teams put on a show of strength and flair. North Island edged a slim lead heading into halftime, 21-19, but the action was far from over. The second half saw the South Island Tide explode out of the blocks, clocking up 21 unanswered points to lead 40-21 and looked to have settled the fixture. North Island refused to go quietly and set about their own comeback closing to within 2 points of their rivals. Despite a last-minute offensive, time ran out before they could cross the line for a final time, leaving South Island Tide the winners of a highly entertaining 40-38 match.
All eyes now turn to May 26th , when VIRU host VRU on the Island for the McKechnie Cup (details TBC), alongside the Dunbar Keg game featuring both regions U23 teams and the FVRU vs. Canada U20 clash. A tremendous trilogy of rugby if ever there was one.
Dunbar Keg – FVRU vs. VRU Gallery – Click Here (Credit – Norma Jensen)
North Island Tsunami vs. South Island Tide Gallery – Click Here (Credit – Lorne Collicutt)