Second half comeback by James Bay stuns Vikes in Barnard Cup final

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By: James Nielsen, Vikes Communications, Photos by Erich Eichhorn 

November 29, 2013, Victoria (ISN) – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby squad played host to the 2013 Barnard Cup, facing rival James Bay Athletic Association Nov.29, under the lights at Centennial Stadium.

James Bay rallied from a large second-half deficit to capture the Barnard Cup 26-23. Jamie MacKenzie and Luke McCloskey posted tries for the Vikes, while Fergus Hall posted a conversion and two penalty kicks.

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Uvic’s Luke Campbell pushes the ball out to the scrum to teammate Chase Kelliher – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

The Vikes continued to put the pressure on James Bay, keeping possession of the ball and pushing up the middle of the field before McCloskey finished the drive with a try. Vike Fergus Hall extended the lead minutes later off a penalty kick opportunity at the 22-yard mark, making no mistake as he drove the ball through the posts to add to his league-leading point total.

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Casey Reed of James Bay breaks away with the ball as UVic tries to slow him down – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

The Vikes opened up the first half of play with the majority of possession, allowing MacKenzie to begin and finish a rush up the left side of the field. Teammate Pat Kay assisted on the play after receiving the ball and running it into the corner before passing it off to MacKenzie for the try.

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Uvic’s Luke McKloskey would score two trys in a loosing effort as he protects the ball from being stripped away – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

James Bay shored up their defensive game following the penalty kick, retaining the ball for the next ten minutes of the game and keeping the Vikes within their own 22-yard zone for a majority of that time. At the 31-minute mark of the first half, the pressure paid off as UVic’s Jeff Nishma-Miller received a yellow card in his own zone. James Bay would come within feet of scoring several times before Spencer Delziel was finally able to score for James Bay just before the second half whistle blew.

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Uvic had to be careful of opening up the field too much to the Bay’s Jordan Wilson-Ross. Wilson-Ross would make them pay with some great open-field running – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

The teams would go into the half with the Vikes holding a 13-5 lead.

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James Bay and Uvic would battle hard against each other in every aspect of the game with James Bay coming away with the Barnard Cup – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

James Bay carried the momentum heading early into the second half, but it would be the Vikes who struck first, with Nathan Yanagiya breaking up to the left side of the field into the 22-yard zone of James Bay before passing it off to McCloskey for his second try of the game. After his first two conversion attempts sailed just wide, Fergus Hall made no mistake as he put the ball through the uprights for his first conversion of the game.

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Uvic’s scrum tries to move the ball away from the try line. James Bay would push hard in the last half to steal the win – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

Cope Racine answered back for James Bay in the 55th minute, as a scrum in the left corner ended with Racine breaking through the Vikes defence to pull James Bay within eight points. Play continued to swing in James Bay’s favour in the second half, although they would be unable to post additional points until the latter point of the second half.

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Jams Bay fullback celebrates the win after he scored the winning try with less than three minutes left in the game – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

Fergus Hall would convert a second penalty kick for the Vikes but the Bay’s refused to collapse, answering back quickly with a try by Nolan Miles. Sensing they had momentum on their side, they pushed back into the Vikes end once again, spending several minutes within 10 yards of the try line before scoring again late to push them up 26-23, a lead that would hold until the final whistle.

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The Uvic Vikes put a scare into the James Bay Bays, but the Bays would prevail late in the game to take the coveted Barnard Cup Friday at Centennial Stadium – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

All proceeds from Friday’s match were donated towards the Judah Campbell fund to aid in the rehabilitation of the 24-year-old Kelowna Crows rugby player. The Vikes resume BCRU action on Feb. 15 against Burnaby Lake.

Scoring summary:

  • Jamie MacKenzie
  • Luke McCloskey (2)
  • Fergus Hall (2 PK, 1 C)

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