Thirds sink Lakers; firsts and seconds down United--By Braden Maccke
|Ronan Piggot tallies for the Rowers in their 23-10 second division victory over |
the United club April 27 at Brockton Oval.
3RDSThe Oval was wet and mucky as the Thirsty Thirds kicked off their playoff quarterfinal match against Burnaby “B.” The thirds were flat out of the gate and gave away an early try. Burnaby then went ahead 10-0 after a penalty goal.
But the Rowers pounded away at the Burnaby squad with strong runs, keeping the ball tight in the forwards, until they found themselves with a scrum on Burnaby’s 5-metre line. Malin Jordan then picked the ball from the set piece and drove towards the Burnaby goal. Shaking one tackler, Jordan popped to flanker Jamie Overgaard who crossed the line for five. Conor Walshe slotted the convert, narrowing the gap to 10-7. The Rowers quickly added another unconverted try to take a 12-10 lead.
|The Ubermensch, Paddy O'Gorman, breaks from a scrum in third div action.|
With about 12 minutes left in the half, the thirds had a scrum on Burnaby’s 22-metre line near the touchline. After the put-in, Burnaby drove the Rowers back and the ball was bouncing at Jordan’s back foot. Jordan picked the ball and popped it to scrumhalf Chris Gaydon. Gaydon then spiraled a laser pass to Brett Russell, who snagged the delivery with his fingernails. Russell then lateraled to a streaking Diarmuid Walsh who also made a shoestring catch before touching the ball down in the corner of the in-goal area on a play that ran touchline to touchline. After the conversion was missed the Rowers held a 17-10 lead.
For the last 10 minutes of the first half and the first 10 minutes of the second half, the game devolved into trench warfare as Burnaby threw every piece of grit and artillery they had at the Rowers’ lines. It was a war of attrition and the Rowers’ D won the game in that 20 minute stretch. Le Rouge et Blanc repelled Burnaby on every run at the line, every pick off the scrum, and every charge forward at the VRC lines. It was the finest display of defence by the Thirsty Thirds all season.
When the Rowers reinforced their lines with fresh recruits 15 minutes into the second half, Burnaby’s battle wounds tore open. Almost immediately, Alec Morrison rambled in for a try from 25 metres out. His run was so full of drama, it can only be described as Shakespearean. After suctioning a pop pass with his palm, Morrison immediately jousted off two would-be tacklers with two successive straight arms, then he galloped over another inside the 22, and carried two more into the end zone with him as he smudged the green for the Rowers’ first points of the second half.
Burnaby never quit on the match, but the Rowing Club was able to add some more points all the same. After scoring 29 unanswered points, the match ended 29-10 for the home side. The win booked a spot in the ill-fated semifinal versus Abbotsford.
2NDSThe Rowing Club’s Super Twos started out well in their home tilt against United RFC. The squad built a strong lead early when speedy Suid-Afrikaanse David Anderson touched the ball down to open the game’s scoring. The Rowers quickly added another try and established positive momentum for the rest of the half.
|Liam Hunter breaks in second division action.|
But the Twos ran into trouble in the second frame. Frustrated by handling errors, the Rowers lost their discipline. For some uncanny reason, the squad was losing ball after ball in contact. As Rowers backs and forwards entered breakdowns with the ball, they continually exited sans pill. As the frustration built, the home side began to accumulate yellow cards.
A total of five yellows were shown to the Rowers, including two to centre-back Liam Hunter, which added up to a red card and an ejection for the fiery runner. Justin Parlato, Dillon Debono, and substitute flanker Ronan Pigott also earned blonde-coloured dates with the sin bin. Later, Piggot added a fast-paced try, falling an assist short of the “Paddy O’Gorman Hat Trick.”
Another Anderson try and three successful penalties from Liam Carter added up to a 23-10 difference at full time. It was a messy win for the Super Twos.
1STSThe Rowers’ first division side was flawless in a home-field domination of the United club at the tail end of the day. The Rowers ran well, keeping the ball in hand and attacking in pattern very well, much to the delight of a sizeable home crowd and head coach Jeremy Sabell.
|Ryan Chapman gets ready to pop to Jon Mergui. Chapman picked up|
his first Rowing Club try in the match.
On a day that was all Rowers, it looked for a moment as though the United club might break their goose egg in the second half. But as one of their speedy backs zipped into the Rowers in-goal area for a try, frighteningly-fast Kevin “The Knack” Gurniak rocketed out of nowhere on a cross-cover play to punch the ball out of the would-be try scorer’s mitts before he could touch it down for points.
The Rowers delighted the home crowd with a 60-nil victory.
|Duncan James unleashes a lateral versus United while Joshua Schreiber |
(left) looks on. Schreiber notched three tries in the game.