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Story and Images by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)

November 2, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The James Bay Bays held off the Meraloma RFC for a 27-25 win at MacDonald Park Saturday afternoon in a hotly contested battle.

The James Bay Bays, dressing only 15 players, but riding a two game win streak, took a while to warm up to the visiting Meralomas on a blustery day on the pitch. The Bays, sitting tied for fourth place in the Premier Rugby League at the beginning of the game, shot up to a three-way tie for first place with the win over an eight place Meralomas rugby club.

Bays Nate Waldmann is lifted away from protecting the ball as Lucien Nel looks to take the ball – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

The Meralomas would play a strong first half, catching a sluggish Bays squad in their own end of the field scoring a penalty kick and try to go up 8-0 before the Bays’s Elliot Peacock would find the try line in a last minute tally to pull close to finish the half down 8-5 to the upstart visitors.

Meraloma RFC would play strong against the James Bay Bays finding success running the ball at the Bays – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

James Bay, early in the second half, would give the ball away on an errant pass to Meraloma’s Justin Fanselow, who would make the most of the mistake, and run it half the field for a try to put his team up 13-12. James Bay’s Peacock would take the rock on a pass from Taylor Dalziel, and record his second try of the afternoon on a sideline run would require all his effort to get the ball across the line making it a 17-13 lead for his side.

Jamal Allen of James Bay holds the ball tight as Meraloma player tries to strop the ball – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

On an afternoon where the wind gusts would send converts and penalty kicks astray, both teams would trade points at the try line in a seesaw battle that saw little defensive play.

Ross Langill of the Meraloma RFC kicks the ball away for field position – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

Meraloma’s Joel Nystrom would break three Bay’s tackles to score the try, putting his team up 20-17. The resilient Bays would rely on a powerful scrum to drive the Meralomas back into their own end for two old school trys on successive drives to go up 27-20.

Bays Mike Nieuwenhuysen collides with Chris Mercer– Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

The Meraloma’s, not give into defeat, would battle a grueling three minute fight the Bays front line for field position until reserve Tim Derksen would chip and chase the ball over a Bay player and fall on it behind the try line. Home field advantage and a strong offshore wind would deny the Meraloma’s the tying extra points and give the Premier James Bay Bays the narrow 27-25 win.

Vince Herlaar fights off two Meraloma players to advance the ball for his Bays side – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

James Bay’s next game is RFC Saturday November 16th in an away match at Jericho Park where they will take on the Capilano.