The U18 Castaway Wanderers celebrate a golden cap to a dedicated season with a provincial win this weekend.
The diverse team made up of players from Oak Bay, St. Michaels, GNS, Claremont and Mt. Doug secondary schools, travelled to Vancouver to challenge the Bayside Sharks in the final showdown at Thunderbird Stadium.
The 29-5 final score belies the battle fought.
Congratulations to @cwrugby for winning the BC Rugby U18 Boys Final 29-5 and commiserations to @BaysideSharks, a great game full of tension and excitement. More photos and write up to follow. pic.twitter.com/Pj7LmwfGB9
— BC Rugby (@bcrugbyunion) December 11, 2017
“The score doesn’t reflect the game. It took us over a half a game to get to that,” says Spencer Robinson, who coaches the team alongside brother Roger Robinson. “We exploded in the last 20 minutes of the game but we had to work really hard to get those 29 points.”
The team lead 10-5 at half.
“We did get some late tries but we had to work really hard to get some late tries.”
Even then they came from a surprise area of the field. The forwards scored all five tries (Adam Jay, Nick Carson, Conor Hills, Alex Hutchinson, Tom Abercrombie) while Zarija Djurickvic put the result of the game beyond doubt. Gareth Sandner scored a couple conversions.
The win was a team effort cultivated throughout the season,” says Spencer.
Rugby in these parts is too strong to take a provincial showing for granted. And the team this year worked hard to get there.
“We were fortunate to have some feeder schools like Oak bay High School, St. Michaels University School and GNS (Glenlyon Norfolk School),” Spencer says. Players from Claremont, Reynolds and Mt. Doug secondary schools round out the team. “It was nice to have the guys come down to Windsor Park and join – and wash away those school rivalries and play for the club.”
While they broke down those barriers, the athletes worked hard, some coming up through the club programs as youngsters others joining as teens. The diverse team included predominant athletes in many sports alongside others who enjoy the “successful and open and welcoming” program as their only sport of choice.
“It definitely made for a strong team, mainly because of the guys’ attitudes,” Spencer says.
The team faced a challenge in the success of some of its players.
Oak Bay High’s Lachlan Kratz and PISE student Jarvis Dashkewythch were selected for the Canadian youth team that left for New Zealand the day before the provincial showdown.
“It’s great for them that they get to represent Canada in New Zealand, but we’re missing a couple players,” Spencer says. “Though they didn’t play in the final they came to practice and supported their teammates right until they got on the plane to New Zealand.”
The win came down to the “positive culture” of the committed team, players played out of position to accommodate the missing players.
“We were fortunate to have some strong players in likes of Nick Carson No. 8 and his cousin Jack Carson who played scrum half,” Spencer says.
Conor Hill of Oak Bay was just back off an injury, Tom Abercrombie (OBH), and Claremont athletes Gareth Sandner and Adam Jay had outstanding games, he says.
They lived up to the CW legacy; the team has only lost one game in the last three seasons, and two in the past five.
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