A great day of rugby today at Klahanie Park! First of all thanks to Chris Robinson for pinch hitting last week at James Bay. I couldn’t make the trip and Chris did an excellent job on the report, which isn’t easy when you are playing in the top division. Chris has been with the Cap Premiers since the last Rounsfell Cup win in 2012, a classic game against James Bay. He has been with Capilano through thick and thin and really leads on and off the field along with Glen McKinnon. These two veteran players embody the Capilano Spirit!
The Coffeemate Cup:
Caps play an inter club match every Remembrance Day. The Snowcaps, over 40’s team, play against the Capilano 3rd Division. This match has been going on since the mid 1980’s in honour of Gerard Hanlon who came to watch the Snowcaps play on a Sunday and found them to be a man short. Gerard raced to his car and grabbed his kit. He stripped and in order to look older he powdered his hair with Coffeemate powder and took the field. Sadly, Gerard was killed in a motor vehicle accident during that summer on his way to Alberta to work. The game has been played every November 11th since and has been expanded to include all former Capilano players that are no longer with us and to honour the fallen soldiers who bravely defended our country in the World Wars. This match is always very competitive and the Snowcaps can recruit a few friends to make it more so. Today the recruits were limited as the two top division players were playing the University of Victoria. Several father and son combo’s Mark Heieis and son and the Ruffalls were lined up against each other.
The Snowcaps did manage to find a few ringers and the 3rd Division side included several U-23 Academy players. The game is preceded by the players being piped onto the pitch. Today the pipers were unavailable due to other commitments so Steve (Dirty) Rainboth played them onto the pitch with his trumpet. Great job Steve! The match was well played under heavy rain and tries were hard to come by. Snowcaps finally got on the board with a nice run by Mike Johnson. No kicks for goal are allowed so it was 5-0. The Cap 3’s answered with a try and it was 5-5. The 3’s took the lead with another try and it was 10-5. Snowcaps answered and the game was even. It looked like it might be a draw but the Snowcaps rallied and Pete Ruffalls finished off a several phase movement as he crashed over for the winning score. It was 15-10 and the Snowcaps were awarded the coveted Coffeemate trophy, avenging a loss from the year previous. Both teams then had their pictures taken under the west goal posts. Thanks to everyone that participated and to referee John Rutherford.
The Reserve Game: U-Vic 38 Capilano 10
The University of Victoria won this game up on the top pitch. They have a large side and won this game handily by a score of 38-10. Two Cap developed players were selected as the men of the match for U-Vic. The Capilano reserve side is improving and continues to rebuild but today they were no match for U-Vic. Congratulations to the Norsemen and thanks to the young woman, Shanda Mosher-Gallant, who refereed this game and was an assistant in the Premier match.
The Premier match Capilano hosting the U-Vic Vikes:
Caps won this 22-21 in a thriller. The game was supposed to be played next week in Victoria but in order to better suit the Vikes schedule it was moved to Klahanie and played today. It suited the Capilano club also as it would have been their 3rd trip to Vancouver Island in a row. The spring game between these two clubs will now be in Victoria. The University of Victoria Vikes always seem to play well at Klahanie and today was no exception. Caps came out roaring but U-Vic got on the board first with a penalty kick. Their kicker Brennig Prevost had a very strong game with some excellent kicking and strong running. He was impressive! Caps answered with a try by Glen McKinnon that was converted by Caps number 10 Steve Cassells. It was now 7-3 and Caps were looking strong. I thought they might run away with it but U-Vic hit another penalty to make it 6-7. Caps backs were looking good and running hard. The addition of Johnny Franklin at outside center has made a huge difference to the Capilano back line. John has added some much needed pace, strong running and good off loading. Austin Karius, who is filling in at fullback for suspended Sam Franklin, was also running well.
Adam Zaruba was back from his flu bug and is always a threat out wide. Hooker Jason de Freitas scored the next try for Caps. Jason really gets around the pitch and he is a threat with ball in hand. Caps back row of Weyell, Webster and McKinnon were having strong outings also. The Capilano pack looked good today with Neil Courtney back. The second row was solid and the props played hard. Mackenzie Mills was slightly injured in the second half and was replaced by Jesse Ryan who had played up top but fitted in nicely. The conversion was missed but Caps were now up 12-6. U-Vic though continued to press and their large prop Spencer Cooper crashed over for a well taken try, the conversion missed and the lead was now 12-11 for Caps. The Vikes looked good returning Capilano deep kicks and number 13 Aiden McMullan made a strong run. Adam Zaruba made a big hit to stop what looked like a possible score for the Vikes. Johnny Franklin made a big run then off loaded to Austin Karius for the try in the right corner. The convert missed and Caps were up 17-11. The Vikes kept pressing and they managed to get a try in the left corner. The conversion by Brennig Prevost put his team in the lead 18-17. This kick was from the far left corner and was well struck to keep his side in the game. The Vikes kicker wasn’t finished and he nailed a 45 meter penalty kick that could have been good from another 5-10 meters. With the Vikes now up 21-`17 Caps desperately needed to answer. Cap flanker Connor Weyell made a big run to get his team deep into Viking territory. Neil Courtney finished off some hard working mauling by the Capilano pack to give his side the lead. The convert from wide out missed and it was a tenuous one point lead. With a few minutes remaining Caps played their tight game and controlled the ball. They pushed deep into U-Vic end but a holding on penalty took the ball out of their hands. The Vikes did get it over the half and with their kicker a penalty kick could have made the difference. With the Vikes pressing this time it was their player who was called for holding on and Caps cleared. It was now last play and Chris Robinson punted to touch to end this exciting contest. For Caps it was a hard fought win. I thought that they were better than the score would have indicated but credit U-Vic for hanging around and making it very close. It was a clean, hard rugby match. U-Vic is better than their record and they should win their share of games. Thanks to David Smortchevsky and his assistants Shanda and Alan for a well handled game. Thanks to Jim Leith who did double duty feeding the Snowcaps at their party Friday night and the players on Saturday. Jim you are becoming a legend! Caps now get a break before hosting Westshore in two weeks. Get out and support your teams!