V.I.R.U. Kicks off Another Season
"T-A-G" Thornber goes to work!
The Juan De Fuca field, home of the newly founded, Westshore RFC was a made to order setting for the season’s opener on Friday night. A perfectly manicured, lined and bleacher accompanied pitch, compliments of the local council and a pavilion which is slowly acquiring the character of its hosts, for the post-game libations, greeted the visiting CW players and supporters on Friday, under an almost perfect set of lights for the season’s opener. The evening was the first of Victoria’s early fall “chills” with a drop or two of overdue rain – rugby perfect! So, with the precursor of speculative insinuations regarding the composition of the visitors, the season got underway!
Westshore opened with solid rejection of any CW forays and had the first scoring chance from long range, around the ten minute mark. CW’s newcomer, Moor was almost away from a deft diagonal from Kay, only to be desperately thwarted by the defence. Westshore missed a second chance at goal, midway through the half and their defence remained solid and it was to the visitor’s credit that they patiently, retained shape. At the thirty minute mark, Kay stroked a smooth trey and five minutes later, Fraser crossed. This occurred after quick ball went to Ngongo for a thirty meter scamper, only to be bundled into touch. From the lineout and subsequent ruck, Kay to Fraser – bingo! Kudos to Westshore’s young centers who had tested their counterparts in the opening stanza. The half ended, 10 – 0.
Westshore had another chance at goal, early in the second half but it was not to be and twelve minutes in, Kay made a lovely, swerving break and fed Fraser on the inside delay pass, 15 – 0. Straight from the kick-off, Styles filled and broke short side, with the overlap he forced the tackler and fed to Moor to finish, 20 – 0. At this point, pressure was noted from Cam Polson, a different style of player to Kelliher who has moved on but an extremely worthy alternate. Following CW pressure by the backs on their lesser experienced opponents, Fraser grubbered a dropped pass, to be gifted with the bounce and cross for his brace, 27 – 0.
With ten minutes left, a little bit of niggle occurred but was well handled by the officials. Schellenberger at #9 made his debut and almost surprised right off the bat, when he scurried and spun, only to be stopped meters short. Three rucks later, Dala played his ace, winning ball with an experienced grovel and Try-A-Game Thornber opened his season’s account. Final score, CW 34 – Westshore 0. The skill and strategy of Kay, unleashing a testing combination of Mike Fuli and Fraser outside was probably the key to the win however, the hard yards and retention of the engine room cannot be omitted.
It as an enjoyable contest. For the visitors, the efforts of the pack cannot be differentiated but captain, Woolridge is deserving of mention for his control, patience and solid play in a match where the forwards all needed these attributes to keep their poise. The two sets of backs were very different, in terms of talent and experience being concerned and the visitors showed this in spades. This fan enjoyed the seamless play of Fraser and Fuialefau and the rest, “rode the coat-tails”. It was good to see Jason Allen and we wish him the best for the season. Kotlewski was solid and Panga got through a lot of work. Westshore’s three young backs, Martin-Feek, Dewitt and Ngawati were all testy enough and will be the better for this outing. A shout out to the game's officials. For CW next up is James Bay in the Home opener. If both of these clubs can retain their same selections next week, it should be one of the more memorable games between the two in recent years.