Story and images by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)

March 23, 2014 Victoria, BC (ISN) – Second place James Bay Bays fell to the Premier Division League leading Burnaby Lakers Saturday 26-21 at MacDonald Park in what was a test of will and perhaps some superstition as well.

The Bays hit the Lakers hard in the first half, catching the visiting Lakers on their heels with pace and momentum that made the Bays hard to slow down.

Connor Braid puts the boot to the ball for favourable field position. Braid would be called on often in the test. – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

It wouldn’t take long for the Bays to put a mark on the board as Connor Braid would put the boot to the ball, sending it through the uprights to send a note early to a strong Laker side. James Bay’s Pat Parfrey would add to the lead with a try not long after with a short 3 metre trot on a pass from Nick Blevins to take a 10 – 0 lead.

Nick Blevins unloads the ball to Braid to keep the play moving after being tripped up – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

The Lakers, slow to start, would find Evan Thomas open on the left wing with a nifty tap of the boot to pass the ball to Thomas who would then run it in uncontested for the Lakers first points of the game to make it a respectable 10-7 game.

Jordan Ross-Wilson fights off two would-be tacklers as he sprints the side line. – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

The Bay’s Parfrey would score once more before the half running the wing in support of Jordan Ross-Wilson who would hand off to Parfrey to give him his second try of the game. The Bays would take an 18-7 lead into the locker room at the half.

Pat Parfrey carries the ball with game MVP Evan Thomas in tow. Parfrey would score two trys on the day, while Thomas would score three. – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

As superstition might have it, it was overheard that some fans might think that the field might be slanted downhill. That thought would give a disadvantage to the team that changes sides in the second half, having to run an indiscernible uphill battle against the opposing team. That thought may have more validity to it, at least in JBBA lore, than actual fact, however, that superstition may have been quantified, as the Lakers would push back in the second half.

Connor Braid surveys his best option running at two Laker defenders. – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

The Lakers would score seemingly at will in the second half, putting nineteen points on the board against noticeably less aggressive Bays side. Evan Thomas of the Lakers, voted most valuable player of the game, would receive that honor on the back of two more trys in the second, and three in the game, to help give the Lakers the lead late with 3 minutes remaining and a 26- 18 score.

Nick Blevins, although in offensive mode, puts a punishing hit on his Laker tackler. – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

The Bays would try to climb back with a 3-point kick between the uprights to make it 26-21. A last minute surge by the Bays would fall short as the Lakers would hold tough with a try-line stand, denying the Bays the try to give Burnaby the win as time expired.

Division One Action

The James Bay Ones would meet a similar fate to their Premier League Bays, dropping a test to the division one league leading Lakers by a final score of 33-5. The Ones hold onto fourth place in the division and the final playoff spot.

Lakers Dustin Luther runs over a Bays defender ( note hand at bottom of image) – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

Bays Connor MacRae holds off Lakers defender with a straight arm to the throat.- Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

Paul Murphy couldn’t pull down Connor MacRae of James Bay – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

Mike Liewenhyusen of James Bay runs upfield with Dustin Luther in tow – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

Bradon Simmons couldn’t escape the tackle of the Burnaby Laker defender during Saturday action at MacDonald Park – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )