Story by Phil Meyer – JBAA
March 22, 2013, Victoria, BC – Saturday signaled the end to winter at MacDonald Park, with bitter morning rain squalls giving way to afternoon sunshine, as ruggers from James Bay Athletic Association and Meraloma RFC set boots to field. The rampaging Juan de Fuca winds did not abate – and if anything, were even stronger than two weeks prior during the Bays’ struggle against Capilano. So again this Saturday, they were to have a major impact on conduct of the teams.
In the feature game, JBAA won the toss, electing to first play up-field and upwind. Lomas, led by cleverly placed kicks from Eric Wilson, went on immediate attack, with speedster Evan Loyd vacuuming an errant ball to score seven minutes in. Wilson converts. Bays, peeled back by the wind, spent most of this stanza in their own half of the field – but at 16 minutes, managed a counter-attack that saw their Blue Crush power toward the Loma goal, with Thyssen de Goede finishing off the score. Sean White, facing a long into-the-wind convert from the right sideline, made his kick. Lomas 7 – Bays 7.
Lomas returned to attack and at 23 minutes, a clever kick-through by Wilson saw Loyd first to the ball, and to a second score. Wilson converts his second. For the rest of this half, JBAA played D to stay in contact, struggling successfully against the pressing Lomas and the wind. Score at half time: Meraloma 14 – JBAA 7.
Second half, with the Bays’ backs now turned to the Juan de Fuca gusts, there was expectation that JBAA would storm back. But sideline expectations are not always converted to action on the field, the Lomas are never an easy opponent for anyone and particularly for the Bays.
Five minutes into half two, Morgan Williams opened the Bays’ scoring spigot a notch. A quick tap penalty on the Loma 25 metre line – a break toward the goal –offload to Spenny Dalziel – score for JBAA! It was now the Lomas who were peeled back by the wind and at 57 minutes, Canada’s Sean White slashes down field, passes through several hands, and finally to Jim de Goede, following the play, to score.The convert a bit of a brain fart, with the ball blowing off the tee. With the Bays huddled head-in-jerseys paying little attention, White finally drop kicks his attempt. No joy. Bays now lead 17 – 14 … the wind is still blowing.
At 64 minutes, Conor McCann blocks a Loma attacking kick, out races all to the ball, sprints 30 metres to score the Bays’ final try. White converts. Bays 24 – Lomas 14. Then, 4 minutes from time, White kicks a penalty. Final score: Bays 27 – Lomas 14. Congrats and drinks all around between these two top-four teams!
Next Saturday, the Bays face their third “Big Four” battle in a row – across the pond in
Burnaby Lake. Lomas will regroup at home vs. Bayside.
JBAA Ones 14 – Meralomas 5.
James Bay Ones, who have been improving their play week-to-week-to-week, finally got over the hump Saturday – playing Big D to best Meralomas 14 to 5 in the 1:00 PM game. The Bays’ scoring was all first half – Mitch Bancroft intercepting an errant Loma pass 14 minutes in, and out-legging defenders some 60 metres to the Loma goal. Then, just before half time, Rain Salica strikes gold, off of an attacking run by Bancroft. Dan Kilpatrick kicks both converts. Lomas replies with their only score of the game midway through half two.
Final score: JBAA 14 – Meraloma 5.