By Jamie Umbach, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team started their BC Rugby Union premier season off with a bang, Sept. 19, winning comfortably, 32-0, against island rivals James Bay Athletics Association. The win registers a clean sheet for the Vikes to help move to a 1-0 record to begin their 2015 quest towards the Barnard Cup. Island teams will playoff in the Barnard Cup series with the top teams crossing over with the mainland division in the winter with the prestigious Rounsefell Cup on the line.
Vikes scrumhalf James Pitblado, winger Crosby Stewart, flanker Luke Williamson and Bhiamie Williamson got the Vikes off the mark in Saturday’s win while James Bay struggled to generate any significant offensive threat throughout the match. Guiseppe du Toit made two converts and one penalty kick to help the home side.”For the first game of the season I thought we played very well,” said Vikes head coach Doug Tate. “It’s not easy to keep James Bay off the scoreboard.”
The Vikes began the first half with the majority of attacking plays being run through the forwards. In the 10th minute third-year Vike Pitblado opened the scoring on a long run out wide for the first try of the game. Vikes scrumhalf du Toit converted the extra point to give the Vikes the 7-0 lead.
Du Toit was called into action again in the 22nd minute for a Vikes’ penalty kick, and stepped up and put the ball through the uprights to tack on three points for the Vikes and increase their lead to 10-0.
In the 25th minute, the Vikes found themselves in trouble when hooker Sawyer Herron was booked for a bad tackle, reducing the Vikes to 14 men for the final 15 minutes of the half. The Vikes stayed smart defensively, snuffing out the James Bay offensive pressure every time they entered Vikes’ territory.
Just one minute after, the Vikes were forced to make a substitution when outside centre Joe Erlic took a mean blow to the head and requiring bandages for his head before returning to action.
The injury and man shortage didn’t phase the Vikes for the final minutes of the half before entering the break up 10-0 over James Bay.
Offensive chances for James Bay were few and far between at the start of the second half. James Bay fullback Elliot Mitrou, a former Vikes men’s soccer keeper and 2011 CIS national champion, was the closest to score for the visitors. In the 41st minute, Elliot had a go off a long penalty kick near the center line which ended up on target but just short of the three points.
Vikes wing Stewart was next on the scoreboard for the Vikes, again on another wide play. The third year found himself in a one-on-one foot race with a James Bay defender down the wing. Stewart wheeled past his opponent before diving in for the Vikes’ second try of the game, increasing the home team’s lead to 15-0.
After Campbell made it 22-0, the Vikes connected well off a won scrum in their defensive end in the 71st minute. Vikes inside centre Isaac Kaay stole the ball on a James Bay scrum and released up field and was supported behind by Erlic. Kaay dished off to an open Erlic who scrambled to 20 yards out from the James Bay end zone. A final pass off to Stewart finished off the play for the Vikes, increasing the lead to 27-0.
Williamson tacked on the Vikes final try of the game in the 75th minute to seal the win for the Vikes over James Bay 32-0.Keeping James Bay off the scoresheet is one accomplishment, but it wouldn’t have been possible hadn’t the Vikes’ defence shown great resiliency down a man near the end of the first half.
“We took some unnecessary penalties and had to make some adjustments,” addedTate. “But we stuck with it and defended strongly and were patient at the end.”The Vikes send a sevens group to the Western Washington 7s Invitational in Bellingham, Wash. next weekend, Sept. 26-27, while the 15s will play a road game against the Velox Valhallians on Sept. 26 at 2:45 p.m. in Langford. SCORING BY HALF
JBAA: 0 – 0 : 0
UVIC: 10 – 22 : 32SCORING LEADERS
UVIC: James Pitblado (1T), Guiseppe du Toit (2C, 1P,), Crosby Stewart (2T), Luke Campbell (1T), Bhaimie Williamson (1T)