By Jamie Umbach, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team fought themselves out of an early 17-point hole against the UBCOB Ravens to put them through to the CDI Premier League semifinals with a 38-27 win on Apr. 16 at Wallace Field.
The Vikes were down 17-0 within the first 15 minutes of the game, but stormed back with a 17-point run of their own and a strong second half to earn themselves the victory. Third-year winger Crosby Stewart provided the spark to his team’s comeback with a terrific 80-yard run in the first half while second year Morgan Tate had two tries in the win for the home side.
“You get down 17-0 and that’s a big gap to erase,” said Vikes head coach Doug Tate. “Crosby Stewartwas a big game changer today and had some great individual efforts to get us back into the game. He took it to a whole different level. Jonathan Lorimer was dangerous and had some great breaks to put them under pressure.
“We were the better team in the second half and our defence got better as the game went on. We’re getting healthier the further we get into the season as well with guys like Joe Erlic coming back into the lineup, which is a welcomed sight.”
The start to this afternoon’s game didn’t go as planned for the Vikes as they found themselves in a hole early with three tries in the first 15 minutes from the Ravens. The visitors seemed to easily find their way through the Vikes defence before opening up into space and putting together long runs to the try zone.
But the Vikes responded with a try streak of their own that was motivated by the strong running of Stewart. The winger weaved his way through the Ravens defence from just outside his team’s own try zone before offloading ten metres from the score. Stewart would finish off the play on the second attempt to get the Vikes back into the game at 17-5.
It would be Tate with the try to put the Vikes within striking distance of the Ravens at 17-12 with first year Grady Bowd nailing his first conversion of the afternoon before the Vikes evened the score at 17-17 through third year Ollie Nott. This time, Bowd’s conversion would go directly off the upright to keep the game tied.
The Ravens added a last-second penalty to take a 20-17 lead into half-time.
The Vikes conceded quickly again off the restart when a passing miscue handed the Ravens an uncontested run into the try zone to touch down between the uprights and eventually hitting their conversion for a 27-17 lead. The Vikes responded quickly when Tate pushed through his second of the match between the pipes to reduce the deficit to three at 27-24.
The first Vikes lead of the game came from a captain’s run by James Pitblado, who ran wide right past the Ravens to just inside the line for the score. A key run from the Vikes captain was followed by a crucial conversion from Bowd, who kicked from a tight angle for the extra points and a 31-27 Vikes lead.
A strong offensive push from the Vikes was followed by strong defence as the Ravens were in need of a try to retake the lead. The Vikes pushed away the visitors near their own try zone and were then rewarded when Lorimer touched down a deserved try for to stretch the Vikes’ lead to 11.
Lorimer’s score would put the CDI Premier League Quarter-Final to rest as the Vikes moved on with a 38-27 win.
If a comeback victory in the playoffs isn’t enough to motivate Tate’s side going into the league semifinals, the Vikes now travel to Vancouver to face their pacific and undefeated rivals the UBC Thunderbirds next weekend for a spot in the championship.
1 2 F
UVIC: 17 21 38
UBCOB: 20 7 27
UVIC Scoring Summary: Oliver Nott (1T), James Pitblado (1T), M. Tate (2T), Jonathan Lorimer (1T),Crosby Stewart (1T), Gradyn Bowd (4C)