Madi Jumeau - not to be denied!
CW Opens with Banner Day
On what was a club ‘first’ in history, five senior men’s and women’s teams crossed ‘The Pond’ to do battle with two leading Vancouver clubs, UBC Women and Meralomas Men, on Saturday last. Both Premier teams from these clubs sported undefeated records. Club President, Karl Klashinsky took a taxicab from Connaught Park to UBC to view the Women’s games and returned to catch the final segment of the Men’s Premier contest – ‘onya, Klash.
Tricolor Women opened last weekend with two defeats however, spirits were not daunted as Coach Catie led a video review with the teams midweek. This was a strategy that paid BIG dividends on Saturday when the Prems toppled The Thunderbird in a Battle of the Knaggs. Our Divvies are young and inexperienced but BIG on enthusiasm and ‘no quit’.
From the Midst of the Pitch (Kudos, Frankie Fraser)
The Women’s Divvies agreed to play three twenty-minute periods of rugby to decide their league game winner on Saturday at UBC. The Home team raced to a 17 – 0 lead to open the action in the first period. CW opened their account when #9, Mackenzie Eckart broke and fed prop, Jess Hardy for some good ground. Hardy, in turn passed to centre Ormond on a strong line for first points for the Visitors. The remainder of the second stanza saw another home try added and a scoreline of 22 – 5 to UBC.
The final period produced some real fireworks. CW pulled a rabbit out of the hat when Ormond showed classy footwork for her brace. CW came again with good support and handling, and it was #10, Kassidy Cej who successfully converted her own try and the gap reduced to 22 – 17. Jesse Knaggs continued the parade with an eight-man pick-up and unstoppable surge to the line and a 24 – 22 lead. With time still on the clock, UBC seemed to rise from the ashes and although the defense was stout, the Thunderbird managed to pull a victory from the jaws of defeat and 29 – 24 was the final score in favour of the Hosts.
The second match of the day turned out to be a nail-biting, back-and-forth battle that ultimately saw CW clinch their fourth win of the season with a narrow 27-24 victory. The game was marked by intense action and strategic play from both sides. UBC Thunderbirds took the initiative early in the match, applying pressure with a “wide” try from their winger. CW Women remained undeterred in the face of this early setback and the momentum shifted as outside center, Emily Samek showcased her speed and agility, running an impressive fifty meters with the ball. Samek's effort set up a promising opportunity for the forwards who capitalized, securing their first try of the game. Next it was an opportunity on the outside that saw Temi Ogunjimi, normally found in the forward pack, playing on the wing, showing her speed as she knocked over multiple UBC players to get to the red zone. This run set the stage for flanker Lucy Beauchemin to capitalize on the attacking opportunity. With a great supporting pass, Beauchemin scored under the posts, giving CW the lead when she added the conversion. UBC responded, to make matters tight at 12 – 10. In the dying stages, inside center Jamie Beck, ran a hard line to end the half, keeping CW ahead at 17 – 10.
The second stanza’s action opened when UBC stole a ball in contact and scored a converted try to tie the score and ramp up the pressure. CW’s defense was tested but stood firm with #8, Madison Jumeau putting in some rock-hard tackles. Action ebbed and flowed but it was the experience of UBC that nudged them ahead with a try out wide and the 24 – 17 lead. CW kept their cool and increased the work rate. With pressure applied, inside center Jamie Beck almost scored, however, UBC held. CW seemed to sense UBC was under the cosh and soon worked play back into UBC's 22. Quick ball went across the backs, finding winger Ogunjimi for her second try, making the score 24-22. As the final fifteen minutes ticked on, CW showed character to hold off many attempts from UBC as they sought to break the defensive line. It was not to be. When a blindside opportunity presented itself for Temi, she ran down the sideline into the UBC 22, where quick hands saw inside center Jamie Beck, on a sharp line, score her second try of the match and secure the lead for CW. Play was hectic as UBC fought till the end. Brave defense kept the lead and time ran out - ending UBC's winning streak.
Temi - catch me if you can!
Meanwhile, back at Connaught, the sun shone on The Islanders. Again, a young and relatively inexperienced group, opened with great enthusiasm. Sharp passing and handling led to tries by Ordeman and Schieman within fifteen minutes. The parade continued when Goss broke for forty metres and Economou was the recipient, and it was17 – 0. Goss, Nemeth at #15, centers Schieman and McDougall, along with good decision-making from #9, Ordeman, provided standout stuff. Finally, mishandling resulted in hacked ball producing good heels and an overlap for Lomas opening points and a 22 – 7 halftime lead to the Visitors.
This scribe “changed fields” to view the ‘already commenced’ Divvies match. The second half ‘uphill’ challenge proved just that for the Isles, and constant substituting and some impact subs needing to leave the fray took its toll, Never-the-less, the 29 – 29 tie was befitting and extremely commendable, in a match where points of law were made almost pedantically clear to the players! Still, thanks to the ref. This augers well for Islander rugby going forward – team cohesion, rookie songs and good rugby. It does not get any better. Go, you good things!
Back to the ‘main field’, where an early CW lead from an Antonio Corbett try had the boys enjoying the ‘downhill’ advantage. Led by the marauding of Aussie flanker, Pepper, the sharp link at #9 – 10 from Hayhurst and Robinson and cohesive play generally in the backs, one had the sense that there should have been more CW points on the board. In fact, it was a late breakout by a Loma that left some would be tacklers stranded and gave the home team a 7 – 5 halftime lead.
The teams were evenly matched, and players severely tested each other. It was at the end of some good CW continuity that Rio Apt crossed and hopes of breaking the Divvie bagel soared. It was a critical Loma tight head scrum that was the TSN Turning Point. A second scrum was won, and tight, recycled ball saw the scoreboard change lead. Some “travel legs” became visible and when what appeared to be ungrounded ball was awarded a try, 19 – 10 appeared to be just too much to catch. What had been a very promising outing appeared to be going unrewarded, partly due to the players’ own demise. Alas, the task did not end, and Rio was rewarded with his brace, a lone bonus point and a very close, 17 – 19 decision to the second-place team in the league.
There was plenty to like. M-o-M for my money, Ben Pepper. Others mentioned were all worthy and add to that list, Captain Kyle, ‘Sudsy’ Sutherland, and Schelly (on return). Not to be overly critical but a few set scrums in the late going did not produce the momentum needed. One senses the boys will be much improved at McDonald Park next Saturday.
The premier billing was mouth-watering. Lomas, undefeated, and the cream of the League to this point vs an ever-improving, middle-of-the-pack, CW challenger. Lomas capitalized on the ‘downhill’ advantage with a penalty, after a cheeky, yet alert, interception. Lomas are a very good team and know how and when to turn the switch ON. This they proceeded to do from some CW chaos under pressure and good pace to the loose ball from the home team. Organization was corrected from this chaos and Ogunlabe from Pyke (replacing Captain Nott, early), showed promise, however, only a hint! Pace, hard running, clever inside reversals, crash ball on good lines saw the scampering CW defense sorely tested. The attack proved too much and #8, Galvin, crashed over for the first try and 10 – 0 lead.
When Carson visited the bin, the switch went to “ON”. Tricolor defense was gutsy and held for many thrusts but a winning lineout to the hosts, saw willing runners “lick their chops” and the dam eventually broke. 15 – 0 at 32 minutes did not bode well. One should have faith to never count this group of players out. Some blind side initiative from Pilgrim, saw Zac and Easson (on debut), interchange passes and the ball into Griffith’s hands and on to Pyke(?) – a length-of-the-field eyesight test, and CW had snuck back to 7 – 15. Again, that darn switch was flicked, and it was prop, O’Flaherty, who was driven over for a 20 – 7 interval lead for the hosts.
The second stanza opened with Lomas on the front foot. Their pressure was absorbed, and the Tricolor worked the ball ‘downhill’. There were ¾ recycles and big Nick Carson proved unstoppable. At ten minutes and 20 – 14, matters became intriguing. Lomas showed CW who was boss, with an almost immediate response, which doubled the difference at 27 – 14. The came the ‘Tally-of-the-Day’, compliments of CW, showing some of their own magic. It started sixty metres out, the ball went through six pairs of hands, switches, delays and a Carson hand off to Pyke under the sticks, 21 – 27. Partisan fans held bated breath when it appeared Sandner had dived over for the potential win. Referee Turner, who had a very good game in this tight and challenging contest, paused, consulted, and correctly ruled interference. CW persisted but a final penalty saw Loma relief and the ball banged to touch.
The hosts were good value and apart from a close blip on their radar at Westshore, pre-Christmas, are a good bet to continue undefeated. Lomas centers, Thomas and Leonard ran hard and were always dangerous. The loosie trio was powerful. I give the big, Irish lock, O’Sullivan, my M-o-M.
Like the Divvies, there was much to bring away for CW. As newcomer, UVic grad, Easson, fitted into the tempo, he looked to be a potentially good replacement for Bowd. Not to detract in any way from solid performances from Wallace and Peters, Bossi and Fatt off the pines, did create an impact and Kratz filled out a solid FRF. Boy, I liked big Tom Davidson in this one and he is a tight five’s, Tight Five, playing a saw-off with O’Sullivan. Nick looked short of a trot but is it ever good to see him back. The halves pairing provided a bold punch and Pilgrim’s late break almost bore fruit. Newcomer, Rikkley-Krindle will provide electricity. The M-o-M belonged to a tireless offensively and defensively, best-yet performance from Sion Griffiths. Whatever the Premier combination next week, it will provide good rugby and fits for their opposition. It will be a game that the club Faithful should NOT miss.
Today's blog comes with a huge THANKS to Lomas club photographer @Scor-pics (Instagram). A massive thanks to Scorpin. It is almost embarrasing to have to ask such a favour and this is an area where we need to find an enthusiastic volunteer or players on the sidelines use iphones for the cause. The women's pic, comes credit of just that, thanks to Occitane Aument.