Victoria, BC: For over a century the Oak Bay Castaway Wanderers and James Bay Athletic Association have battled for Island supremacy, and this weekend the rivalry will take centre stage. This Saturday, the senior men’s teams will clash in Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League play at MacDonald Park. Sunday will then feature the Carson Cup final as the Under-19 Men’s programs go head-to-head for the 2011 Island championship.
Under-19 Vancouver Island Final – Sunday, Nov. 20th
CARSON CUP: James Bay AA at Castaway Wanderers (Windsor Park) 2:30pm
For the third straight year, the U19 Island final will feature CW and James Bay. The Castaway Wanderers are defending champs having defeated the Bays 14-7 in last year’s title match. The 2009 final saw James Bay edge their Oak Bay rivals 13-12.
With a perfect 6-0 record in 2011 and a league leading defence (10.33 points against per game), the Castaway Wanderers are clear favourites ahead of this weekend’s clash. James Bay finished second overall with a 2-3-1 regular season record. The two finalists met twice during the regular season with CW posting a convincing 65-0 win on October 2nd as well as a narrower 29-7 victory on October 30th.
“We have been telling the players, we haven’t won anything yet,” said CW co-coach Roger Robinson. “James Bay are always going to be tough and this is a great rivalry. It’s a big deal when these teams meet, both because of the club rivalry and the history between Saint Michael’s and Oak Bay High. We won’t be taking them lightly and we know we still have work to do.”
The coaching duo of Robinson and Ken Goodland have tasted success before, having recently led the Vancouver Island Under-20 men’s side to the 2011 Dunbar Keg provincial championship in July.
“Defence wins championships,” Robinson responded when asked about his game plan for the final. “That’s what [co-coach] Kenny Goodland and I always harp on. If we can score points, it’s all about making sure the other team can’t get behind the try line.”
The CW side have plenty of depth in their roster including standout scrum half Mike Dalsin, who played a key role in securing the 2011 Under-18 national title with British Columbia’s provincial team. Along with Dalsin are several players with provincial level and age grade national experience including Aden Jack, Evan Seale and Jeff Nishima-Miller.
“Kenny and i have been blessed with good talent this year,” added Robinson. “Skill wise our players were already pretty strong coming into the season so it’s just been a matter of tweaking their style of play. We have given them direction but this is a very talented group.”
The victors this weekend will advance to the provincial final against the U19 Lower Mainland champions. The U19 provincial final is scheduled for the weekend of December 3-4, location and kickoff to be decided in the coming weeks.