Top-seeded Sharks and Rowers set to battle for provincial glory

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Preview: Okanagan Spring Brewery League provincial finals

VANCOUVER (ISN) – The Bayside Sharks of White Rock will head north to Klahanie Park this Saturday to scrum down against the Vancouver Rowing Club in the Tier Two Okanagan Spring Brewery League provincial finals.

In the League One competition the two sides have jockeyed for top spot in the standings all season, each finishing with 44 points and splitting the regular season home and away series. The Sharks eventually came out on top, claiming top seed through a tie-breaker and earned promotion to the Tier One Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League for the 2012-2013 competition.

“I think it’s the way our season progressed as we were pretty much identified as the two top teams in this league and I think the overall point total reflects that,” Bayside head coach Pat Kearney said. “Now both teams are in the final and this will be the epitome of a good grudge match. Both clubs have a lot of respect for each other. [Rowers] play a lot of really good rugby, they are well drilled and they execute. The last time we played them [Bayside won 50-26] at Brockton that was our most cohesive 80 minutes of rugby and we are looking to repeat that performance.”

The League Two final is slated for 1:30pm with the Bayside Sharks and Rowers seconds teams going head-to-head. The club’s top sides will then take to the pitch for the 3:30 League One final. This weekend could mark a special occasion for Bayside’s men’s teams who have not lifted a provincial championship in recent history.

“I’m pretty sure this would be our first provincial championship which would be great for the club,” Kearney added. “As soon as things finished up in the first half, we made it a goal to make sure we were contenders [in Tier 2] and to win the league to get promoted. It would be great to win the [Cup] finals as well.”

Head-to-head: Bayside Sharks (8-2) vs Vancouver Rowing Club (9-1)

In League One, Bayside led the league offensively this season averaging 43.1 points per game while the Rowers ranked second overall with 30.4 ppg. The Rowers were stronger defensively averaging 16.7 ppg against, Bayside conceded 18.9 ppg. The two sides went head-to-head twice this season with the Rowers winning the first encounter 37-35 on March 10. Two weeks later, the Sharks produced a 50-26 win at Brockton Oval, the Rowers’ home pitch.

Each side has a ruthless kicker in their lineup and Saturday’s match could easily come down to a conversion or penalty. Bayside’s Peter Clifford was the league’s top scorer with 85 points this season, while Rowing Club’s kicker Matt James finished second overall with 65 pts.

“Pete has plenty of confidence and is coming off a win against Velox where he went 4-for-4 in conversion attempts, 1-for-1 in penalties and 1-for-1 in drop goal attempts. He has been averaging 85-90 per cent of the kicks he has taken this season,” Kearney added. “Matt James also stood out as a world class kicker. This Saturday could easily come down to kick and when we lost to them back on March 10th at South Surrey [Athletic Park] that’s exactly what happened. We have seen titles come down to kicks on several occasions.”

General admission tickets at Klahanie Park are $10.00 for adults, $5.00 for Youth (Under-15).

PROVINCIAL FINALS (FULL SCHEDULE) – Saturday, May 5, 2012

Finals at Klahanie Park (305 Klahanie Park, West Vancouver)

10:00am Langara Fishing Adventures Division II Women’s Final – Ged Griffith’s Cup

Burnaby Lake Rugby Club vs Meraloma

11:30am Ceili’s Cup (Tier One First Division) Men’s Provincial Semifinal

Meraloma vs Capilano RFC

1:30pm Tier 2 Men’s Okanagan Spring Brewery League Two Final

Vancouver Rowing Club vs Bayside Sharks

3:30pm Tier 1 Men’s Okanagan Spring Brewery League One Final

Bayside Sharks vs Vancouver Rowing Club

*General Admission tickets at Klahanie Park are $10.00, $5.00 for Youth (Under-15)

Finals at Crush Crescent (21280 Crush Crescent, Langley)

1:00pm Tier 3 Men’s The Province League Two Final

Langley RFC vs Surrey Beavers AA

2:30pm Tier 3 Men’s The Province League One Final

Langley RFC vs Surrey Beavers AA

Finals at Cowichan Rugby Club (1860 Herd Rd, Duncan)

1:00pm Women’s Big Kahuna Division One – Karen Moore Cup

Nanaimo RFC vs Cowichan Rugby Club

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