Coffee Mate Cup 2016: THE SHOW GOES ON!
It didn’t look good on Thursday night. Cap teams had unscheduled makeup games on Saturday with important ramifications. The 3B side has been suffering from player turnout. The excellent 3A development side shouldn’t play as they needed to win on Saturday. A discussion was held and it looked like it would become a touch game. The Snowcaps were horrified. They always look forward to matching their ageless skills against the younger Caps. They wouldn’t be able to recruit Glen McKinnon, Chris Robinson et. al. to shore up the forces, but the show must go on! If necessary they would rather have an intersquad game if all else failed. Then it started to happen, Chris Robinson was getting calls from players that wanted to play in this classic. Nick Belmar, Matt Yanagiya and many more wanted to play. When I arrived shortly before the 2pm scheduled kickoff time I couldn’t believe the number of players warming up. Apparently over 60 players dressed for the two squads. The response was heart rendering after what I anticipated from the discussions the night before. Snowcaps got an email from Ben Cooper, a Vancouver Canucks coach related to Dave McDonald a Snowcap wanting to play. He is a Toronto Balmy Beach guy, Gord Currie’s old club and he really wanted to get on the rugby pitch after the difficult Canucks road trip. He was welcomed with open arms by the Snowcaps.
The pre game cerimonies took place with Snowcap Allan Brown piping the players on the field and a minutes silence. He then played his stirring rendition of “Amazing Grace”. The players lined up along the side of the field and were served a dram of whiskey. The stands weren’t as full as usual but it was quite a good audience. I did the introduction and told the story of Gerrard Hanlon but brain farted and called him Glen. I was quickly corrected. Gerrard was quite a character. He helped his widowed mother financially by working cleaning offices after midnight while going through high school. He loved rugby and played with great gusto! I will never forget when he wrestled former hockey great Tiger Williams who was our guest down to the ground at an Alumni Day game. The fight was on! Gerrards’ Coffee Mate act, powdering his hair to look older to play Snowcaps was the way Gerrard lived life. The Coffee mate cup is a fitting way to remember Gerrard, the Capilano greats that are no longer with us, the latest being Bill Gerwing and those lost in the World Wars. It was great to see the game go on. The turnout brought back memories of Kevin Costners Field of Dreams. The line “If you build it they will come” was very appropriate today at the Bob Spray Field at Klahanie.
The score doesn’t matter. The Gold Allstars as I named them were victorious. They were led by Nick Belmar a Capilano great who in my view should have been selected for Canada as were some of his Carson Graham teammates. I remember Nick shutting down Ciaran Hearn, a current Canada starter and professional rugby player, in a game against CW a few years ago. Nick displayed some of his talent today and fitted in nicely with young Caps scrum-half Malcolm Klaver. Malcolm was one of the many development players that played in this game. I held my breath hoping that they wouldn’t get injured. Fortunately the turnout was great so they didn’t have to play extensively. For the Snowcaps Argentinian winger Joachin….. was a standout. I mistakenly called him Chile when he scored. Sorry about that Joachin my eyes aren’t as good as they once were. John Casano played well at scrum half for the Snowcaps and their pack was solid. The ageless warrior Carl Eifler who is on the other side of 75 scored for the Snowcaps. I frankly don’t know how he does it but congratulations Carl! Carl refuses to wear yellow shorts and still plays in black ones as the rules while wearing yellow restricts his play! Jim Leith played about 20 minutes but then had to get into the kitchen to prepare the delicious after game meal.
Thanks to all that participated on and off the field. Jan for the Bar service, Tom Kirk for arranging the Whiskey toast and collecting the game fee from the Snowcaps to help pay for the food, Allan Brown for the pipes, Tim and Denny Page for the field work. The club trainers that work tirelessly, John Rutherford for refereeing. It takes a lot of effort to put the games on but the Coffee Mate has become a Capilano Classic. Mark Heieis took some great action pictures that can been seen at the link at the top. Following the game the players and fans went inside the clubrooms for food and drinks. I hear that many stayed until 9pm and then some of the Snowcaps still very thirsty went to the two Lions. Hopefully Nick the Sodmaster will write up one of his hilarious reports. A great time was had by all. Cheers John Langley
Capilano RFC Match Reports – November 12, 2016
The Capilano 3A vs SFU
Caps took an early lead in this one with a fly kick off a dropped SFU ball. The ball was picked up and Caps scored the first try. The 5-0 score was narrowed to 5-3 with a penalty kick by SFU. Caps number 12 Flynn Heyes scored to make it 10 to 3 and the conversion made it 12-3. A lineout deep in Cap territory was turned into a try by SFU to narrow the score to 12-8, SFU turned it on in the second half to win this one by a score of 35-12.
Premier Women Caps won over CW by a score of 31-17
Caps were without two of their normal front row today as Hilary Leith is injured and Nevene Hammoud was away but Caps still managed to put together a good pack with Melissa Robinson moving to prop. CW had struck for an early lead but a try by Lindsay Nicholson tied the score then Lindsay put Caps ahead with the convert. CW scored again to bring the score to 10-12. Caps struck again with a nice try by number 12. Her try was converted to stretch the lead to 19-10 and Melissa Robinson added another to make it 24-10. Ashley Robinson always an excellent tackler stopped several CW runs in this game to help keep Caps in the lead. Both sides were missing their Canada players and it was a battle between mostly young players although Caps do have a couple of veterans. We had to leave to go over to Jericho so I missed the last few minutes of play.
The First Division Men: Ravens won this one 20-15
Caps made a decision today to keep all of the possible Premier reserves off the field in case fresh players were needed in the Premier match. To make things worse several Caps players were not available as they did not expect to play on the long weekend. Enough of the excuses give credit to Ravens. They were stuck in and won this game with a late try that was well taken. The game was quite even throughout. Ravens took an early 5 point lead with a try. Caps answered to make it 5 each. Caps took the lead with a try in the corner by Chris “Lumpy” Lumsden after several loose maul attacks before the ball was swung to the eagerly awaiting Lumpy. The score was 10-5 and it was half time. Caps made a couple of changes,
big Aussie Alex McDonnell came on as an impact sub. Ravens made it close with a penalty kick that made it 10-8 in favour of Capilano. Caps McDonnell made it 15-8 with a try. Ravens came back and answered with a try in the corner. It was unconverted but the score was now 15-13. Ravens kept the pressure on and scored under the posts to win the game with a converted try 20-15. It was a tough loss for Caps but a welcomed win for the Raven First Division side. Congratulations to Ravens and thanks to the referee.
The Premier Game: Caps win a nail bitter 25-24
This was a now or never game for Capilano and everyone knew it. Caps needed a win or they would s be relegated from Premier play in the second half of the season. Chris Robinson was named Captain for today’s game. Young Jordan Harvey has been Captain in the absence of Glen McKinnon but it was felt that he didn’t need the added pressure. This is a young Capilano squad. Really only three are veteran players, Chris Robinson, Jesse Ryan and Glen McKinnon. Glen hasn’t been playing regularly due to an injury but did come off the bench for the last 2 games. Today Glen started at number 8 and he made a huge difference. Chris Robinson as Captain asked the club supporters to come out in numbers and also ask them for supportive emails in an effort to lift the spirits of the young Caps. Chris provided copies of the emails and no doubt had some words to say to the players. When Caps came on the field you could tell that they had on their game faces and were tuned in.
The game started though and within the first few minutes Ravens scored a rather easy try as Huw Grundy picked up a loose ball and was away down the left wing. He outran the Cap defenders and it was a 5 point lead for the Ravens. The Cap sideline was in shock. Would the young Caps hang their heads and go into a funk. No they didn’t. Ravens were swinging the ball with confidence when young Liam Smith stepped in front of a pass, intercepted it and took it all the way to even the score. Cap kicker Sam Franklin missed the conversion but Caps were now back in the game! Caps game plan seems to be to run the ball using Alex Boyd, Glen McKinnon and Joel Hulett as their power runners, and anyone else that had hold of the ball. The plan was to try to keep the ball away from the dangerous Raven backs. It was hard hitting rugby and both teams tackled well. Caps did make some ground and appeared to be hoping that the Ravens would be worn down later in the game. Caps also did a lot of maul play and this seemed to work to their advantage. The Cap back row was working very hard. Caps Jason de Freitas scored for Capilano and Sam Franklin converted to give Caps a 12-5 lead a Sam Franklin penalty kick extended the Cap lead to 15-5 but then Ravens scored following a chip kick. The conversion was missed and it was now 15-10. Caps were awarded a penalty kick in front of the posts so Sam Franklin added the 3 pointer. It was now 18-10 and the Caps continued to play their pick and go game. The scrums have been quite solid and Caps have 4 good sized props that are interchangeable. Caps even managed to get a couple of important scrums against the head today. The lineout’s were fairly even perhaps Ravens had a slight advantage but Caps have improved considerably compared to previous games. Ravens are coming on though and they score a try under the posts to cut the Cap lead to one point 18-17and the pressure is mounting on the young Capilano side. The teams are now trading penalties and kicking for the side. Caps are under pressure but do not clear. There is a bit of niggle in what has been quite a hard but clean game and the referee talks to both captains. Ravens number 10 Aaron Mclelland is dangerous with the ball in hand; some of his passes though went astray. He found space and turned it on to give his team a 24-18 lead following the convert. Caps fans sagged as there wasn’t much time left. The Cap players though dug deep and kept to their game plan. Pick and go, rolling mauls and slowly marched the ball deep into Raven territory. Caps were awarded a penalty and went for the lineout. A scrum followed and Glen McKinnon who had been a force all game powered in for the try. This put Caps within a point and the conversion was a must. Sam Franklin hit the ball well and stroked it through much to the delight of the large contingent of Capilano supporters on the west sideline. The assistant referee said that there was two minutes remaining. Caps got hold of the ball and began to play keep away rugby. A Caps player got separated from the rest of the pack and Ravens to the delight of their fans managed to turn the ball over. Ravens swung the ball left and appeared to have an overlap but a pass was high and knocked on by the receiver. Caps had the scrum put in and the ball was won and kicked to touch to end the game.
It had been a titanic battle. I do not agree with the BC Rugby News comment that Ravens lack the killer instinct. Caps today were desperate and refused to lose. Ravens have a powerful team and will win their share in the second half of the season if they continue to play open rugby. They were tied by Abbotsford in a game that they apparently didn’t play well and Abby did but that happens to all teams on occasion. I thought the referee and his assistants had a good game today and the penalty count was relatively even, thanks to them. Thanks to Ravens for their post game hosting in their clubroom. Congratulations to The Capilano players, coaches, and trainers for an exciting finish to the first half. There is work to be done but at least they are continuing in the Premiership.