by John Langley
Another big day of rugby at Klahanie Park as four games of rugby were played.
Originally it was going to be three games on the Bob Spray Stadium field and one up top. The weather however changed that and it was two up top and two on the Bob Spray pitch.
The Capilano 3B side opened first and won handily 51-0 over the Surrey Beavers.
The Caps are mostly veteran players who played top division rugby in years gone by. A few younger players round out the squad. The Cap 3B’s are the defending Provincial Champions. Today they fielded a very strong squad led by Charlie Jones and Nick Belmar in the backs and a host of former Premier players in the scrum. Surrey tried hard but their forwards were getting pushed back consistently by the larger Capilano side and it is very difficult to mount an attack going backwards. When they did get the ball, Surrey’s backs showed some promise.
The scoring was opened by Nick Belmar who today played outside center and showed that he can still get the job done. The conversion was made by Danny Hatch and Caps didn’t look back. Matt and Andy Plant were strong in the front row and so were their replacements. The entire scrum looked awesome and the backs ran the ball well all game. Craig McLaren ran well from number 8 and Whitey Whiteman was all over the field. Shane, The Train, Sanford did a good job at half back. The number of replacements greatly adds what some of the players lack in fitness. These guys are fun to watch and are no doubt having a great time on the pitch. Congratulations to the 3B side and thanks to the referee.
The Capilano Reserves against Seattle Reserves: Capilano won by a score of 37-20
It has been a difficult season for the Capilano reserves they are a young squad and most of the players from the Championship side two years ago are gone. There was no U-23 game this week so that probably helped Caps fill out the squad. Caps I am told started slowly today but picked it up as the game went on. I couldn’t see a lot of this game as I was announcing the Premier Women’s game that was on at the same time. A Caps coach told me he had stern words for his squad but they responded and got the win. Congratulations to the Cap reserves on this much needed victory. Thanks to Seattle for the game and thanks to the referee.
The Premier Women: Seattle won this game by a score of 22-15
Seattle got off to a great start with a try by number 13 Jennine Duncan. She took off and broke a couple of attempted tackles and scored early. The conversion was made and the Saracens were up 7-0. Seattle scored again shortly afterwards on a good run by number 14 Nathalie Fuller. Things did not look good for the home side and it looked like it might be a romp by Seattle.
Caps did fight back though and put pressure on the Seattle side. Nevene Hammound downed the ball to get her team on the scoreboard. The conversion was missed but the home side had responded. A Seattle penalty kick by Carly MacKinnon added three to make it 15-5.
Caps stole a loose ball and Melissa Robinson scored for Caps. The wide conversion missed but it was now 15-10 for Seattle and things were looking better for Capilano. Lindsay Nicholson was having a strong game for Capilano, as was scrum half Jacklyn Simington. Natalie Beliveau was doing some strong running. Jen Duncan got away and scored again for Seattle. The conversion made it 22-15. Caps had come back from a slow start but were not able to reel in the Saracens today. Caps again took a lot of penalties and this didn’t help their cause. Congratulations to Seattle on the win and thanks to the referee.
The Premier Men vs Seattle
Caps won this game 37-14 but the game was closer than the score would indicate.
Seattle has a lot of good athletes and looked like they might score more than they did. Their hands let them down though and several scoring chances were lost with handling errors. Another almost try was called back on a forward pass. Seattle also lost their number 8 Hannibal Vaivao, early in the contest with a neck injury. Hopefully he is not seriously injured.
Seattle scored first on a nice backline move as number 10 Reid Jonny touched down. Caps were awarded a penalty kick and Sam Franklin nailed it to put his side on the board and make it 3-7. Both teams were penalized and warned for high tackles, that referees are calling very closely now to make rugby safer. Caps next score was by Johnny Franklin who had another strong game and showed his balance, speed and strength. Johnny cut through the Seattle backline and made it a two on one; he could have drawn the fullback and passed but instead cut inside and scored. The conversion sailed wide but Caps now had the lead 8-7 and they did not look back.
The next Capilano score was a try by Austin Karius. Caps were awarded a scrum after a Seattle two bit drop out didn’t go over the line. The ball went out to the right wing and Austin beat his man and scored in the corner. Sam Franklin kicked the conversion to give his side a 15-7 lead.
Caps were penalized for not releasing and Seattle kicked to the sideline. They moved the ball to their backs and looked to have scored but the referee called the last pass forward and Caps escaped as Sam Franklin cleared the zone with a long kick to the sidelines. This was a turning point as a Seattle converted try would have made it a one point game. The next score was a try by Chris Robinson. Caps had mauled the ball in close after some good forward play by Jordan Reid Harvey, Reid Tucker and the rest of the Caps pack. Chris Robinson saw a gap and dived in for the score. The score was now 20-7.
Seattle fought back and nearly scored but for a knock on by their winger. A score here could have put them back in the game but it was not to be. Seattle had a man binned as the assistant referee had spotted an infringement and after a discussion Seattle number 22 not listed in the program was binned for 10 minutes. Seattle managed a try by hooker, Daniel Trierweiler, who joined the backs and scored a nice try for his team. Austin Karius answered for Capilano. Caps had been awarded a Penalty kick and went for the lineout. Seattle turned over the ball and kicked out of their end. Austin Karius returned the kick and found space on the wing; he beat a couple of would be tacklers and scored an exciting try in the corner. Austin was selected as the Capilano back of the match. Sam Franklin converted from the corner and Caps extended their lead to 27-14.
Seattle fought back but another handling error put them off the attack. Caps were awarded a penalty kick and Sam Franklin made it giving Caps a more than two score lead 30-14. Caps next score came from hard working second row forward Reid Tucker. Reid joined in with the backs and made a strong run to score for his side. Reid was picked as Caps forward of the match.
Caps made several substitutions, Joe Britt had come on in the second row, for Rich Merinsky, Rowan Baker was on at hooker for Mackenzie Mills. Kes Kasha, who apparently played very well for the reserves, came on at flanker. The Capilano front row today started all three props, with Mills moving to hooker, so that regular hooker Jason de Freitas could move to the back row in the absence of Glen McKinnon. Glen is banged up which is not surprising as he gives it all on the field. Sometimes I feel the team relies too much on Glen and others have to step up. It was good that he could get a rest today and the team could win without him. The others had to step up and they did!
Neil Courtney had another strong game. Eric Hunter James, who I suspect is still getting his game fitness, adds to the Capilano backline. A mention should also be made about the contribution of Giles Klaver who was solid on the wing and made some good tackles. This Capilano team is coming together and it is enjoyable to watch! The officials had a good game and in my humble opinion, the refereeing has very much improved in the last few seasons and this makes the games even more enjoyable.
Thanks to Seattle for the game. They will have better days especially at home. Thanks to Jim Leith for again feeding the hungry players. Thanks also to the grounds volunteers, and gate keepers and of course the bar staff. It was another great day of Capilano rugby. Do yourself a favour and get out in support.