Time ticked slow when the James Bay Athletic Association’s and UVic Vikes’ CDI Premier League rugby match reached the mid-point of the second half at Wallace Field on Saturday.
It was the final half of the first ever Bays-Vikes Challenge Cup, which James Bay took as they won the game 20-16.
Because the Bays’ won the first of the two-game, cumulative points affair with the Barnard Cup on Dec. 4, UVic needed to win by eight points to claim the Challenge Cup.
Late in the game Bays’ forward Callum Morrison made a misguided error, chasing the Vikes’ scrum-half Ben Thomson out of the ruck. Unfortunately for Morrison, who did well all game to outplay the towering opposing No. 8 Cam Pierce, the ball in this moment remained within the ruck and, Morrison’s side was penalized directly in front of the goal posts.
Vikes fly half Nathan Hirayama made no mistake and the Vikes seemed to have a 16-13 win in the bag when the Bays pulled off a magical finish. With the referee raising the final whistle to her lips, James Bay initiated a full field run from their own end that saw every back handle the ball: Spencer Dalziel, Jeff and Morgan Williams, Hugo Belanger, Neil Meechan and Dan Harlow. It ended with Dave Moonlight scoring the winning try.
“The ending was part of a perfect day for rugby, sunny with a healthy pitch to play on,” Bays coach Peter Rushton said.
Bays captain Dave Ramsay said little in his trophy acceptance, possibly more to do with the chilling cold which no doubt took over the players’ minds once the game ended.
Proud to win it, Rushton said the Challenge Cup is still a work in progress.
“We’re still tinkering with the concept, we want to make sure it heightens the signficance of the match,” meaning in the future the Challenge Cup’s overlap with playoff games, like it did with the 2010 Barnard Cup, may only happen if necessary.
“We want to see this go 100 years.”
CDI league happenings
In the other Island derby Oak Bay’s Castaway-Wanderers smashed the Cowichan Piggies in Cowichan, 77-5.
CW remain undefeated in three games with 14 points, three more than second-place Meralomas. The ’Lomas visit CW at Windsor Park this weekend. The UBC Old Boy Ravens clipped the Velox Valhallians 69-5. Velox visit the Rowers, James Bay host Abbotsford RFC and Vikes visit the Ravens.
Game times are 2:45 p.m.