Story and Photographs by Glenn Ivens – ISN
August 30,2013 Langford, BC (ISN) – The two-time defending MacTier Cup Champion Ontario Blues had their hands full on Friday night as they took to the field at Langford’s Westhills Stadium to battle the home team British Columbia Bears. The Bears put forth a valiant, and much improved effort, on Friday night but a pair of penalty kicks from Liam Underwood gave the Blues an 11-7 victory.
The BC Bears and Ontario Blues took to the field at Westhills Stadium on Friday night in a Canadian Rugby Championship tilt that saw plenty of hard hitting action. (photo by Glenn Ivens – ISN)
BC’s Clayton Meeres uses a little shake and bake to outmanouver Ontario’s Jake Webster during Friday night’s CRC match at Langford’s Westhill’s Stadium. (photo by Glenn Ivens – ISN)
“It was a hard fought battle, I thought we were a little undisciplined with the ball, we need to give our heads a shake and take the ball to them and not back up” were the feelings of BC Manager Hans de Goede.
The Bears didn’t lack for scoring chances but did lack in the finesse department, as they knocked on the ball numerous times while deep in the Ontario end.
BC’s Joe Dolesau finds a little open space between the Ontario tacklers during 1st half of CRC game at Westhill’s Stadium. (photo by Glenn Ivens – ISN)
Ontario’s Liam Underwood pulls down BC’s Connor Braid during hard hitting CRC match at Westhill’s Stadium. (photo by Glenn Ivens – ISN)
Jamie MacKenzie was a nice additon to the Blues lineup as he handled the scrum half duties. (photo by Glenn Ivens – ISN)
“It was a tough loss for us we played well but were just off at the crucial parts of the game. The guys put forth a massive effort and we showed we can play with these guys,” commented assistant coach Ken Goodland.
Ontario would open the scoring in the first minutes of the game with an unconverted try from Lucas Hammond. BC seemed to settle into their game and started to take control, a strong break by Joe Dolesau ended in a Matt Buckley try which was converted by Connor Braid and the Bears lead 7-5.
Connor Braid had a strong game for the Bears before being sidelined with a possible concussion. (photo by Glenn Ivens – ISN)
Matt Buckley, seen passing the ball, scored BC’s only try of the game in Friday night’s 11-7 loss to the Ontario Blues. (photo by Glenn Ivens – ISN)
Ontario’s Tom Dolezel proves the big men have a few moves as he looks to drive around BC’s Connor Braid during CRC action on Friday night. (photo by Glenn Ivens – ISN)
Ontario’s Underwood would convert on a penalty kick in the 21st minute to close out the first half scoring and put Ontario up 8-7 at the break.
The 2nd half was mostly spent in the middle of the field, as neither team was able to break free. Underwood added his 2nd penalty kick of the game to put the Blues up 11-7 with just over 20 minutes to play.
BC Bear’s Dr. Don Hedges gives an onfield assessment before allowing Connor Braid to continue playing in Friday’s CRC match with the Ontario Blues. (photo by Glenn Ivens – ISN)
While the 2nd half wasn’t as exciting for the fans in the stadium it took it’s toll on the players. Connor Braid went down with a knock to the head on a questionably late hit but returned only to go down moment later on another questionably late hit. He did not return from the 2nd hit and his status for Monday’s game against the Atlantic Rock is uncertain.
BC’s Clayton Meeres looks to dish the ball to teammate after being caught by Ontario’s Liam Underwood during game at Westhill’s Stadium on Friday night. (photo by Glenn Ivens – ISN)
Connor Braid, of the BC Bears, gets off a kick while underpressure from the Ontario Blues defender. (photo by Glenn Ivens – ISN)
BC did mount a late charge but once again handling errors cost them as the final whistle blew with the Blues coming out victorious.
Connor Braid was leading his BC team through the early part of the game before going down with a knock to the head, and definitely put forth an effort that warranted a second look from Rugby Canada as they prepare for the 2015 World Cup.
A clean shaven Adam Kleeberger made his comeback debut with the BC Bears on Friday night after a lengthy absence due to injury. (photo by Glenn Ivens – ISN)
Adam Kleeberger made his comeback debut with the Bears coming in just before the half, after a lengthy rehabilitation from shoulder surgery. “The fitness level was there but I think I will need to a few more games to get back to where I want to be” said Kleeberger, “I wasn’t happy with my game but that is the nature of the beast, your usually not happy with your first game back but it’s a start.
The Bears will have a short turn around to refocus and prepare for the Atlantic Rock on Monday afternoon. Game time 4:45 pm at Westhills Stadium, while the Blues travel to Calgary to take on the Alberta Wolfpack also on Monday.