All due respect to the mainland teams, but at 36 years old, nothing gets the rugby going in Kenny Goodland like the thought of Castaway Wanderers and James Bay in the Rounsefell Cup premier league final.
The heart-and-soul forward came off the bench on Saturday (April 21) to help his second-place Castaway Wanderers edge third-place Capilano 28-24 at Windsor Park in Oak Bay.
The win earns CW a spot in the May 5 semifinals of the Canadian Direct Insurance premier rugby league playoffs. James Bay also won on Saturday, 24-21 over Meraloma. It clinches first place for James Bay despite one game still outstanding. The win also secures home advantage for Bays’ semifinal.
James Bay will most likely face fourth-place Burnaby Lake (there’s an outside chance Burnaby will leapfrog Capilano for third). CW can lock up a home date against Capilano by winning on the road against Burnaby Lake this Saturday (April 28).
With the two storied rivals sitting tops in the league, and in separate semifinals, there is a strong chance they could reignite the “100 years war” with the Rounsefell Cup on the line.
“I’d like nothing more,” Goodland said.
It would also mean having the Island final here for the first time in two years, when the UVic Vikes won it at Wallace Field in 2010.
Wallace would likely be the location of the 2012 Rounsefell Cup match if both James Bay and CW qualify. If just one Island team qualifies, the final stays on the mainland, part of the cup's rotation.
“Facing James Bay in the final would be pretty ideal,” Goodland said. “If we could win that, I would seriously think about scaling back my rugby career.”
Though the Bays defeated CW at Windsor Park last month, Goodland insists the loss wasn’t damaging.
“If you lose in the playoffs, that’s crushing. But one of our strengths is analyzing and moving forward. The season’s all about the process, and there was no reason to come flying out of the gates.
“You get in the playoffs and anything can happen.”
After captaining CW to several middle-of-the-pack finishes in recent years, the wily No. 8 became part of a shared leadership group with the 2010-11 rebuild, one that led to a B.C. championship. Scrum-half Matthew Weingart returned to captain that squad and, this season, national front-rower Andrew Tiedemann has taken up the role, with Goodland and Weingart chipping in.
“Really, it’s always been (Tiedemann) this year,” Goodland said, “based on his level of commitment to the club going forward.”
On the field, the “process” led by coach Ian Hyde-Lay is coming to fruition in time for the playoff run, Goodland said. National team second-rower Nanyak Dala and fly-half Ander Monro returned against the Caps. Monro’s kicking is a massive advantage for CW, evidenced when Monro relieved CW from heavy pressure by the Caps on Saturday.
The emergence of Dylan Jones has added depth in the back row, easing the load for the injured Goodland, who has come off the bench in the past two games.
“I’ll do whatever it takes to win another championship.”
James Bay (12-1) did itself and the remaining playoff teams a favour by defeating Kitsilano’s Meraloma rugby club (6-6-1) 24-21 on Saturday.
The win clinched first place atop the CDI Premier League standings and a semifinal home berth on May 5, while eliminating Meraloma from the playoffs.
“The ’Lomas are scary,” Goodland said. “They were getting better as the season went on.”
James Bay fly-half Connor Braid (Oak Bay High) converted the game-deciding penalty kick to break the 21-21 tie, his fourth penalty conversion of the day.