This week’s game reports commence by featuring our Women’s Divvies who broke their bagel, on the road at Cowichan. The women proved that last week’s improvement was no fluke, coming away from the Pig Pen with a 19 – 14 scalp.
The Cowichan club borrowed players from Westshore to ensure a 15’s game could be played. With Ed Knaggs' at the coaching helm for the Divies, and support from Rob Nichol, the past couple weeks of practices seem to have clicked. Set piece execution, and tactical plays occurred with precision. Cowichan put up solid resistance, ensuring CW had to work hard to get their tries, often forcing the forward pods to hammer their defensive line multiple times before scoring.
CW’s forwards dominated the match, offensively and defensively. The backs kept the ball alive with many line breaks, and switched in players who were new to rugby. These substitutes fitted in seamlessly, tackling well and retaining possession. Overall, the energy of the team was high, and half time was a buzz of excitement. The momentum was kept up during the second half. Tries were scored by forwards Sadie Schneider and Jamie Knaggs in the first half, successfully converted by Kassidy Cej, and Maddie Smith added the lone second half tally. (Thanks to Frankie Fraser.)
The Premier team have managed to finish crossover play, top six and now will battle for the Premier League title. There was a lot of resilience and perseverance shown by the players on Saturday, coming back from a half-time fifteen-point deficit! Burnaby is never an easy team to play against.
The first try of the game came from CW's Temi Ogunjimi via an errant pass from Burnaby. That was all she wrote for the first forty. The rest of the half was all Burnaby, ending 22 - 7 in their favour.
CW’s second half subs infused some real grit and enthusiasm into the performance on the field. Anna Gregan provided some solid ‘no nonsense’ tackles and physicality to the game and the forwards continued their hard work in the scrums. The team settled into a well organized and creative second half effort from the backs as well. The game ended with Temi scoring two more tries, following her change to the wing and Emily Samek showed her speed and tenacity with several threatening runs and a try for her efforts. Chloe Hill-Huse and Imogren Maxwell both contributed well earned tries and the forwards drove another try across the line. Remee Brown was 100% on her conversions.
This 44 – 22 score was certainly a team effort and the 37 second half points for, verses zero against, was a definite testament to the commitment on defense. An effort to feel very proud of. Go, you Road Warriors. (Thanks to manager, Chris Shepherd)
The Men’s Divvie counterparts still wallow in the basement without a win, dropping a 17 – 8 decision at James Bay. Injury and unavailability absences to key faces were no excuse for that disaster after such a good showing last week. The lads, never in front, often threatened, but self-inflicted errors, ineffective work, and lack of numbers at the breakdown failed to produce sufficient quality possession to do the job for the visitors. To the victors, the spoils. James Bay availed themselves of the chances offered and were worthy winners.
Men’s Premier action was a different story in the long run, although that was not the case early. The Bays shot out of the gate with their first possession. CW took the kickoff cleanly enough but when the ball was turned over, three smart recycles saw Nieuwenhuysen run a hard line, evading a couple of tackles. First touch, first blood! Coach Tony was in vocal ecstasy! CW immediately repaid the favor, the ball cleverly inter-passed between four sets of hands and Griffiths finishing after a guileful dummy to Mitchell and a 7 – 7 tie. From the restart, the tsunami came again. From fifty metres, quick hands saw another Griffiths break and a good gain by Rikley-Krindle, for Pilgrim to finish, 12 – 7. This was followed when the CW pack offered its power with a series of forward drives, culminating in a Bossi try, 19 – 7. James Bay saw some much-needed possession and cleverly capitalized with a textbook diagonal kick from Nieuwenhuysen. This viewer missed the recipient, but it was winger, James, who took the inside pass, and it was 19 – 14. In a contest that was shaping as being mouth-watering, unbeknownst, this was to be the last earned try for the hosts. At the quarter mark it was Fatt, then Carson driving hard from thirty metres and finally, Captain Finnie crossed to open the differential to 26 – 14. JB’s, Josh Thiel, offered a convincing dummy and a thirty-meter breakout only for the defense to close the threat and the half draw nigh.
The second stanza started promisingly for Ceedub, only for Finnemore to be ‘held up’. CW followed this with a yellow card after an undisciplined scuffle. Insult to injury was added when an opportunistically, hacked ball saw all hands on deck, and an ascertained, unstoppable sully rewarded with a penalty try and 26 – 21 contest. This spurred the Bays’ defense which bravely held however, drawing penalties in doing so and Nick Carson was over for 33 – 21. This was the straw that broke James Bay’s back and it was at this point that the scoreboard, curiously, stopped turning over. Tries followed after a perfect diagonal from Easson to Ng and inside to Wallace for the finish. The bench began to clear and when ‘short ball’ went to Fuli, who broke, fed Shane “R-K”, thence on to Zech for his deserved brace, the Faithful were suffonsified. The Bay’s scrum was in splinters as penalties enabled the visitors take a lineout and a series of ball-carriers from 25m moved it closer, for Bossi to finish with his brace, and a 54 – 21 outcome.
Eight tries in total, four in the last quarter, and Sandner’s 7/8 conversions was a good day. The fray was well officiated by Zussman. The hosting was enjoyed. For a young James Bay side, struggling this season, experienced by all clubs at some stage, the effort was as good as was allowed. Ball in hand, led by Thiel, the Bays certainly had their moments but a deficit of possession, a big difference in size and experience, all took their toll. CW were denied continuity on occasion and decision making showed some flaws. That being said, there were some tasty tallies posted. For mine, Bossi was M-o-M, although there were others who contested this – Pilgrim, “R-K”, Finnemore on return and Pyke, all had sweet outings. There will be a two-week break before CW visits Westshore on March 9th.