A powerful Castaway-Wanderers team took down the defending B.C. champion UVic Vikes 38-18 in the semifinal of the CDI Premier League playoffs at Windsor Park on Saturday.
CW will face the Meraloma Athletic Club, which bettered its Kitsilano rivals, the UBC Old Boy Ravens, 18-12 in the other semifinal match.
The Rounsefell Cup premier men’s provincial championship final is May 7 at Klahanie Park in West Vancouver at 4 p.m. James Bay and Burnaby Lake will meet in the 2 p.m. Ceili’s Cup final (men’s first division) while Saanich’s Velox Valkyries will face Burnaby Lake in the Harris Memorial Cup final of the Adidas women’s premiership.
Sevens players were the difference on the score sheet between CW and UVic. But, the defensive work of the CW back row, Chauncey O’Toole, Kyle Gilmour and Mark MacSween was a major factor, said Vikes coach Doug Tate.
“I thought the back row guys were terrific for CW. The defence out of the ruck was very good. (No. 7) O’Toole played a very good game.”
Fans and players alike were blessed with great weather as the sidelines were three deep with spectators on both sides plus full bleachers and the usually crowded peanut gallery atop the Windsor Pavilion.
Centre Mike Scholz figured in the scoring with two of CW’s five tries. A national team prospect from Oakville, Ont., Scholz is part of the new blood mixing well with the old guard of the CW lineup.
“(The team has) done a great job at taking us outside guys in and making us part of the group,” Scholz said. Scholz joined the team in January after a Rugby Canada sevens camp.
The 22-year-old has three tries in the playoffs, having scored the final tally against James Bay in the final game of the season on April 9. His first try against UVic on Saturday came off a quickly recycled ball by scrum-half Matt Weingart. Scholz saw a space off the side of the ruck and broke through the line all the way for a try.
Despite major CW pressure an interception by Beau Parker off a Weingart pass kept UVic in the game. Parker, a former CW youth player, broke away with the blistering pace that has rugby sevens fans excited about his potential on the international circuit.
Later, Scholz scored his second try when he took an offload from flanker Kyle Gilmour and dashed down field with just enough space to make it over the line.
“You have to step on the throat with UVic, they can get points in a hurry especially with those sevens players.” And Scholz would know, having earned his first sevens cap with Canada in Hong Kong last month.
Fellow national sevens player O’Toole also scored for CW as did Scott Franklin and Ken Goodland. Ciaran Hearn (sevens) kicked five conversions and a penalty for 13 points.
Nathan Hirayama, a veteran on the sevens scene at just 23 years old, kicked a conversion and two penalties to lead the Vikes with eight points. Andrew Tiedemann added a try.
Saturday’s win over UVic was indicative of CW’s season, said winger Harold Williams, who was with the team in its time as provincial champs nine years ago. Williams returned as a fitness coach in the fall (eventually suiting up in January) and helped push the team through extra paces on training nights.
Despite fitness being one of the Vikes’ calling cards, the students were undone by the size and equal fitness of CW.
“We’re bigger than UVic, working just as hard but later in the game we had more to give,” he said. “That’s where you saw us break through and take over.”
St. Michaels University School graduate and ex-national team member Ed Fairhurst kicked four penalties for 12 points but his UBC Old Boys were unable to score a try in their 18-12 loss to the Meralomas.
Ceili’s Cup League semifinal results
James Bay took down the UVic Norsemen 49-28 in the Ceili’s Cup League (men’s first division) semifinals. Burnaby Lake edged the Castaway-Wanderers in the other semifinal, 22-20.
Velox women in Harris final
It took three attempts this season but the Velox Valkyries finally got past Capilano 26-20 in the women’s Adidas premiership semifinal.
Third-seeded Velox upset the reigning champions to advance to the Harris Memorial Cup final. Velox last won it in 2008.
Velox kicker Jane Cruttenden led all scorers on Saturday with 16 points from a try, three penalties and a conversion. Selina McGinnis and Kelsey Oding also scored for Velox.