This past weekend the Vicars travelled to Vancouver and the historic Brockton Oval at Stanley Park to take on the Evergreens. It was a beautiful day with a soft pitch, lots of sunshine, a little bit of cloud, and one full moon.
The Vicars did a great job filling the bus with players and a few fans as well. There were near 30 Vicars on the bus and everyone that wanted on the field got there. They were joined by their regular valley player Aaron Zimmer as well as a familiar face to many, Mike Roberts. The younger guys on the club will remember Mike from his days in Kelowna organizing many different rugby events for the high schools. Many commented that it was an honour to take the pitch at the same time as this fine gentleman.
The Evergreens had a good showing with a few add-ons from other clubs. Graeme Watt from Abbotsford was on the field at number 10 against Zimmer once more! What the Evergreens didn't have however, was a full front row. The decision was made to keep the Vicars together and go with uncontested scrums. This did not sit too well with Vicar James Canavan; he is a fierce competitor and wanted to push around the opposing scrum. One strike against James before the game had even started!
The Vicars started quickly and the pace of their back line was a little too much for the Evergreens to match. Captain Blair Williams started the Vicar's scoring but it was pointed out he might have run around behind one of his own guys as bit of a block. One strike against the Captain. New Vicar Jamie Turner made his debut for the club and did so with a bang. Besides scoring on his first touch of the ball, Jamie was all over his opposite number stealing the ball on a few occasions. Jamie ended then match with four tries and while this is impressive no one really likes a showoff so... one strike against Jamie!
As the first half continued the game was well-contested but it was the Vicars that continued to make the most of their opportunities. Good forward work followed by quick passing through the backs led to a few more tries including a nice one by Roger - the entire back line touched the ball before Roger touched it down over the line. The Evergreens worked hard to slow the Vicars and scrum half Brett was all over the field in defence and moved the ball quickly when it came to him.
The half ended with the Vicars legs still feeling fresh thanks to all of the guys on the sideline ready to jump in. A few Vicars stood out for dubious reasons, Cash attempting a fake kick in a game with no kicking, Mike Ross throwing a pass two yards when it had enough pace to go 20 and Kasper with a knock on with no one in front of him. One strike against each.
The third quarter brought more of the same, the Evergreens defended hard but the extra legs and pace of the Vicars back line was a little too much to hold back. As the scrums were uncontested and there were very few lineouts, the game moved quickly and was decided in the open field. The Vicars continued to push the pace and were able to defend when the Evergreens broke though the line.
Vicar James Canavan made another impact substitution. While crashing through the Evergreens line, one of the defenders did the best he could and grabbed whatever he could!! This happened to be James's shorts and down they came!! The full moon appeared in broad daylight at the Brockton Oval. After redressing himself, James again took a pass and crashed hard into the Evergreens line trying to erase the crack in everyone's memory.
The last quarter started with the Evergreens ready to make their push. They marched the ball forward and with the help of a poor clearing kick, they got a lineout on the Vicars 5 metre line. A quick substitution brought on their Purple short back. Purple!! We should all be so lucky to be able to run around at 80. The Evergreens won the lineout cleanly and, with a cheer from all in attendance, the Purple shorted Evergreen player received the pass and ran it across the line for a try!!
The rest of the quarter featured tough defence and hard running and no one was done for the day quite yet. A few more Vicars tried their best to wrestle the DOTD award from James, with Travis and Jason combining for some poor defence as Graeme Watt bulled the ball over the line for an Evergreen try.
The game ended soon after and, after a handshake, both teams gathered under the posts for a picture to be hung on the wall of the clubhouse. The Vicars have enjoyed a solid set of games this fall and it was good to end with another win. Into the clubhouse they went to get cleaned up and have a bite and a beer. A proper clubhouse indeed! The history of the building and the pitch are really quite amazing. The Evergreens were fantastic hosts, friendly faces, cold beer and good food! Sadly, the Vicars couldn't stay long as they had a long (much longer for some) ride home.
The Vicars awarded the Man of the Match to the Evergreens scrum half Brett and it was well deserved. The Evergreens gave theirs to Aaron Zimmer for his hard work on both sides of the ball from fly half. While their were many candidates for Dick of the Day, James Canavan clearly was the winner. He took it in good stride and was fortunate enough to be leaving the bus early.
The bus ride home was a lively and ultimately raucous affair. Maybe a little too disorderly near the end! It was tough for the travellers not to celebrate a little too hard as this was their last game of the half and the bus trips are just too much fun. A special shout out goes to Vicar Daryl Cadman as this was his last appearance for quite some time. Daryl is leaving for Australia in the near year and won't be back until spring 2020.