Story and images by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)
February 27, 2016 Victoria, BC – A resilient James Bay Bays went 1-2 in BC Rugby action Saturday, as the visiting Division One UBC Braves and Premier Division T-Birds almost made it a clean sweep on an afternoon visit to MacDonald Park.
James Bay’s Camille Blanc tries to take down UBC’s Murphy-Burke before the ball is delivered – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The James Bay ones, undefeated with a 5-0 record defeated a gritty second place Braves side in the warm up game to the Premier division test, beating the scholarly ones 27-20 with a second half, explosive comeback push that saw the home team outscore UBC 24-5 after the intermission.
UBC, taking opportunistic advantage of some poor James Bay ball handling, would have the their way on the wings in the opening half, able to spread the ball wide to expose a slower homefield defence. After spotting the Braves fifteen first half points, James Bays’ Ed Adams would put his team’s first mark on the board with a successful penalty kick, trailing 15-3 at the half.
Bay’s Ed Adam’s would start the comeback bid with this penalty kick to put his team on the board – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Kieran McAuley tries to stop the UBC ball from advancing in an unsucessful tackling attempt – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
With an undefeated record on the line, the Tony Healy-coached Bays found a way to push back, finding the try line three times on scores by Quentin Martinez, Sterling Vidalin, and Elliot Mitrou to take a 24-15 lead with twenty minutes remaining. Another PK by James Bay’s Ed Adams would provide all the distance his team need for the win. UBC would score too little – too late with a try in their own comeback bid attempt. With the 27-20 win James Bay would continue their undefeated streak at 5-0. The Bays travel next weekend to Vancouver to take on third place Capilano Caps (4-0) in what is setting up to be an exciting finishing run to the Library Square Cup.
Elliot Mitrou goes for the dive, scoring the final try to put his team on top for good with the 27-20 win – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
In the Premier Division match, undefeated UBC T-Birds would run away with a commanding 34-5 win over James Bay. For the T-Birds rugby program, known to be strong in past years, this year appears to be no different. This season, UBC has outscored its opponents by a wide 148-42 margin.
Jordon Ross-Wilson was close to scoring this try attempt for James Bay but gets the ball stripped away at the five meter mark – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
James Bay, despite holding down second place in the Premier Division behind UBC, would have their hands full against a team poised to make another Canadian Direct Championship bid. James Bay, after a decisive win over crosstown rival Castaway Wanderers in last weekend’s “mud bowl” match, looked to continue with the same inspired play against the T-Birds.
Connor Braid was a spark for James Bay in the second half, giving UBC defense trouble tackling the Rugby Canada member – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Both sides would play out the first 15 minutes of the match unable to solve some solid tackling to hold the match scoreless. The T-Birds Chris Taylor would touch down first after a powerful maul to go up 5-0.
Matt McKenzie, a bright spot in the James Bay running game, powers through the outstretched arms of a UBC tackler – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Aaron Evison would answer for James Bay to pull even. The Birds would go up 12-5 before the half on the speed of Theo Sauder who would cross the line between the sticks.
The T-birds would call the pitch their own on the second half on scores by Mike O’Toole, Kulkhan, and two trys by James Thompson. Murphy-Burke would add a convert for the T-Birds to round out the scoring and the 34-5 win.
UBC players celebrate a try and an undefeated record in Premier Division play with the win over James Bay- Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
With the loss, James Bay suffers their only second defeat of the season. James bay will next play fourth place Capilano Caps March 5th at Klahanie Park, in West Vancouver, while UBC will visit the eighth place Rowers at the Brockton Oval.