By Jamie Umbach, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes grinded to a 53-44 win over Westshore RFC in a spirited contest on Nov. 21 at Wallace Field in Victoria to finish Barnard Cup regular season action undefeated. The Vikes head into the Barnard Cup Final, set for Dec. 5, with the confidence and momentum from there 9-0 record. Despite challenging the Vikes throughout today’s match, Westshore remain winless at 0-8 with one game left in their season.
Points were scored in bunches in the game, as each team went on a different run of 20-plus unanswered points in the first half. Westshore overturned a three-try deficit in the first half while down one player but couldn’t spark a second-half comeback after the Vikes retook the lead.
“We defended poorly in the open field,” said Vikes men’s rugby head coach Doug Tate. “(Westshore) attacked strongly and we couldn’t cover. Our backs played well when attacking but defensively we were exposed in the midfield, especially on kick receptions. To have 40 points scored against us after averaging around 20 per game all season is a bit disappointing but we found a way to win.”
The Vikes jumped ahead to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to a pair of tries from fourth-year VikeLuke Campbell and a single from fourth-year lock Liam Chisholm. After Westshore had a player penalized and sent to the sin bin, the Vikes looked primed to stretch their lead further. Westshore didn’t back down as they put three tries and a penalty kick past the Vikes to take a 22-21 lead at half time despite the numbers disadvantage.
“It changed the game,” said Tate of Westshore’s resolve in the first half. “Their 22 points scored with a man in the bin allowed them to take control going into the break, which was crucial for them. It was a big transition.”
Westshore added to their lead only a minute into the second half with a full field run from outside centre Matt Sanderson-Foster. However, the Vikes stormed back, eventually taking a 48-32 lead through the hands of third-year flanker Oliver Nott.
With just over ten minutes to go, Westshore found themselves with work to do thanks to another three-score lead for the Vikes. Vikes winger Logan Martin-Feek ran one down the sidelines to touch down a try to make it 48-44 late in the game, the Vikes put the game out of reach when third year wingerCrosby Stewart stretched their lead to 53-44. Westshore couldn’t re-kindle their spark from their first half to reverse their fortunes before the full-time whistle. The Vikes capped off their season with the 53-44 final score victory.
The Vikes will wait to see who their opponent will be for the Dec. 5 Barnard Cup Final at Wallace Field. Game time will be at 2:45 p.m against either the James Bay Athletic Association of the Castaway Wanderers.
“We are healthy and we still don’t know who will be playing against us,” added Tate on the chance to re-claim the Barnard Cup. “All we can do is prepare. We have a bye next week while all the other teams are in action, which I think is a good thing for us.”
1 2 F
UVIC 21 32: 53
WRFC 22 22: 44
UVIC: Liam Chisholm (1T), Luke Campbell (2T), James Pitblado (1T), D. Ormesher (1T), Isaac Kaay(1T), Joe Erlic (1T), Crosby Stewart (1T), Oliver Nott (1T), Guiseppe duToit (4C)