Bayside Sharks gearing up for three weeks of ‘desperation rugby’

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Andrew Smith

April 4, 2013 White Rock, BC (ISN) – With three rounds to go in the 2013 Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League, the no. 8 Bayside Sharks (2-9) will be looking to close the four-point gap on the no.7 UBCOB Ravens (2-7-2) and avoid relegation to BC’s tier two competition for the 2013-14 season.

Bayside are currently gearing up for back-to-back home games at South Surrey Athletic Park and will be approaching this weekend’s tilt against the no.5 Castaway Wanderers (4-6-1) of Oak Bay as an opportunity to secure vital points in the standings.

Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League – Sat. April 6th:

UBCOB Ravens at James Bay AA (MacDonald Park) 2:45pm

Meraloma Rugby Club at UVic Vikes (Wallace Field) 2:45pm

Castaway Wanderers at Bayside AA (South Surrey Athl Park) 2:45pm

Capilano RFC at Burnaby Lake (Burnaby Lake Sports Complex) 2:45pm

Castaway Wanderers vs Bayside

“Right now it’s a race for seventh place and there won’t be easy games for us or the Ravens,” said Bayside head coach Pat Kearney. “It won’t be an easy task but we need four points from three games and we will be playing two of those at home. We have made South Surrey [Athletic Park] a difficult place to travel to and teams coming here in the next few weeks can expect a full 80 minutes of desperation rugby.”

Bayside’s two wins were produced at home and in their most recent match at the Shark Tank, the home squad came within five points of tying the defending Rounsefell Cup champions Capilano RFC in a 37-32 loss. While the final result was still disappointing, Bayside claimed two crucial bonus points through recording at least four tries and losing within seven.

“We are giving teams competitive games but it’s a little disappointing to not have a win in the second half,” added Kearney. “But we are still managing to accumulate points which is important for us in our first year back in the Premier League.”

Much of the season has been geared towards developing the club’s younger players, adds Kearney with the program looking at the next 30-45 games for a team whose average age is approximately 22-23.

“We take a lot of pride in developing guys from our junior programs and from the local regional and high school teams,” added Kearney. “We have some players who are only 18 or 19 and they are developing and maturing against senior men’s competition. It’s important that they continue to compete at the highest level possible.”

One key player is 19-year-old tighthead prop Liam Beaulieu who continues to make an impact in the front row. The young players have also benefited from the veteran leadership of players Cody Rockson, Gurvinder Kalar and Captain Pat Bickerton. Rockson captained Fraser Valley to a McKechnie Cup this past February and has carried his form into the club spring season. Bickerton has been out, injured since February but will be returning just in time for this weekend’s pivotal matchup.

“The Castaway Wanderers did a good job of beating us up in September (Bayside lost 43-3) but we are hoping that home field advantage will have a major impact as not all teams travel very well with the boat ride and distance,” added Kearney. “They have been pretty good in the second half so by no means will this be an easy game. But as I said before we will be playing 80 minutes of desperation rugby and will be looking forward to the challenge.”

Around the league…

In a possible preview of the semifinals, no.3 Capilano RFC (8-3) will be away to the surging no.2 Burnaby Lake Rugby Club (8-3). Burnaby are currently riding a seven-game win streak and have recently posted back-to-back wins over top-four ranked teams. On Vancouver Island the no.4 Meralomas are away to no.6 UVic Vikes (4-6-1). Meraloma will be looking to secure the fourth and final playoff berth and add to their seven point lead over the Castaway Wanderers in the standings. Top-ranked James Bay (8-3) will be home to the UBC Old Boy Ravens (2-7-2), a result Bayside will be keenly awaiting as the relegation battle heats up.

Premier League Leading Scorers

113 pts – James Reekie (Burnaby Lake)

75 pts – Eric Wilson (Meraloma)

60 pts – Beau Parker (UVic Vikes)

54 pts – Admir Cejvanovic (Burnaby Lake)

54 pts – Dan Kilpatrick (James Bay)

43 pts – Pat Kay (UVic Vikes)

42 pts – Sean White (James Bay)

39 pts – Chris Robinson (Capilano)

35 pts – Gordie McRorie (UBCOB Ravens)

35 pts – Matt Yanagiya (Capilano)

35 pts – Fraser Lyle (Castaway Wanderers)

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