CW WOMEN CLOSE THE CURTAIN
Last Saturday Castaway Wanderer’s Div. 2 Women played their first 15’s game of the season against the reigning Div 2 champions, Nanaimo Hornets. The game unfolded with Nanaimo setting the tone just before the ten-minute mark, showcasing their strength from the outset. CW responded to the early Nanaimo surge with a well-executed try under the goal posts by #13 Cam Ormond. Nanaimo, undeterred, intensified their efforts and worked tirelessly to widen the score gap. By the end of the first half, the Hornets managed to touch down three more tries for a convincing lead.
As the second half commenced, Castaway Wanderers dug deep and focused on their defensive strategy to withstand Nanaimo's continued, relentless attack. The Hornets maintained their pressure, keeping Castaway Wanderers on the back foot. In the late stages of the game, CW managed to secure another try, courtesy of #14 Elise Verdin.
The final score favored Nanaimo by a 37-12 margin. It was a good effort by the ‘Divvies’ to end the first half of the season and a worthy precursor to the Premier match.
In the Premier Women’s match, CW emerged triumphant against Abbotsford in an entertaining game. The opening moments saw #14 Talia Hoffman making the first mark as she skillfully received a well-placed offload from the dynamic #8, Louise Eriksson. This play set the stage for a dominant offensive display by CW, with Eriksson adding to the excitement with another impressive try soon after. The offensive prowess of CW was further highlighted by the always speedy performance of #10, Emily Samek, who scored two consecutive tries with long runs down the field. The precision in execution was underscored by the accurate conversions made by Remee Brown, showcasing a seamless combination of skill within the team. Abbotsford, however, proved to be resilient, putting up a strong defense and managing to touch down a try of their own in the corner before the close of the first half. The hard-fought battle by both sides made for an intense and gripping first forty minutes of play.
The second half saw the CW women with fire under their boots, as #15 Sara Enirson took a hard running line, early in the half to maintain the momentum. Shortly after, #9 Danica Pedrick added to the tally, solidifying CW's dominant lead. As the final whistle blew, the scoreline stood at an impressive 50 - 5 in favor of Castaway Wanderers. This was a great end to the season for the team, who will now be resting until Spring of 2024. (report - Frankie Fraser.)
Ollie called back on a close call.
The men’s adversaries on Saturday sorely tested each other in the opening minutes and throughout the ensuing eighty. CW came out on top early when a slick pass from Sandner found Finnie who was held up, only for Kratz to pinch the ball and make out on an unstoppable burst, culminating with a ‘don’t-argue’ fend and a motor of fifteen meters to the try line and a 7 – 0 home team lead. The Pride are a polished outfit, as they should be, given time on task and they responded quickly, with alert counterattack and accurate inter-passing. Five minutes later, center, Noah Flesch, notched a try. Despite some good structure, the luck of the bounce seemed to elude the locals, and it was an alert burst through a gap that put CW under the cosh. A subsequent lineout win by the Pride, and at twenty-five minutes, Flesch was unstoppable for his brace. Noah’s energy was in synch with brother, Mason’s lineout prowess which elsewhere aided the NSMT in their 40 - 15 victory over Brazil.
The teams battled intensely, and it was clear that the first-round match capitulation would not be repeated. With CW’s makeshift combination performing creditably, some eight minutes later, CW’s Sandner reduced the deficit to 10 – 12. CW then showed a noticeable difference between the teams, lacking the pace to shut matters down in this second quarter. It was CW ‘grad’, Liam Poulton who sprung winger, Kosemple, with a clever ‘around-the-defender’ pass, to score out wide. A late-going lapse in intensity, something which has occurred before, saw the Pride’s Davis make a good break. He passed to Thiel on the fly and fullback, James ran a tight line, cracking the defense and thence the pass to winger, Jones, seeking work, for a 24 – 10 lead at the break. These final, late twelve points were the TSN Turning Point, which was a pity, for CW was to win the second half, 12 – 7.
The second stanza opened electrically when Griffiths intercepted a pass from Poulson from the kickoff and it was game on, 17 – 24. And so, it stayed. The third quarter was highlighted by Tricolor defense. Eventually they worked the ball to Pride territory, earning a penalty but the points did not come. The Pride came back with guns a-blazing and seven pick and goes were thwarted. As the Pride, a combination of big units, continued to test, they were rewarded with a yellow card, and around thirty-three minutes the dam eventually broke, 17 – 31. CW on this day, did not let down. A lovely wide ball, “miss three”, from Sandner to Rio Apt, saw him back his jets against his more “esteemed” peers, show clean heels and slip a pass to Griffiths upon being tackled and it was 22 – 31, and about five minutes on the clock. CW tried, however a fourth try and deficit less than seven points for a deserved two bonus points, was not to be.
Thanks to ALL officials in three games on this day. Referee Klaver was not always in accordance with the refs on the sideline, proclaiming loudly but not disrespectfully! He handled a match that was far from lacking in emotion and contest, with very few disputable decisions. The previous meeting saw the Pride take home a 47 – 5 victory. Saturday’s match was a very different result, and this outcome certainly forced them to work hard for their continued undefeated status.
For the Pride, a legitimate feeder for the NSMT, a team that thrives on counterattack, with excellent speed, precision handling and game vision, there were many good performances. I give #6, Reid Davis and #12 Noah Flesch my M-o-M. In the forwards, I add hooker Mace, and lock Jaiden John as being very visible. Similarly, in the backs, #9 Kilgour and fullback, James offered very competent performances.
For CW, with an apparent “patchwork” combination, I go for Mace’s counterpart at #2, Jack Wallace, as M-o-M. Normally a loosie off the bench, Wallace was called to FRF service and never stopped all day. It is difficult not to single out players on this day. Finnie’s leadership was highly motivating, and Davidson and Nott thrived on it. The FRF often found themselves back-pedaling but stood firm in the ones that mattered and quick, channel #2 ball to an alert and quality, Pilgrim, seemed to find a way. In the backs, most stood tall throughout. Sandner was cool, Mitchell was feisty, Shaw was sure. And so, the first half of the season draws nigh. The table which will see the top six finishers move to Premier League in the New Year will not be settled until next Saturday when Capilanos visit the House. It is to be hoped with a sponsors and 20 Club luncheon, the crowd will be swelled and vocal to cheer the chaps against an always, very difficult opponent.
Pride and Tricolors Slake Their Post-Match Thirst!