The Bayside Sharks’ top men’s team opened the fall rugby season with a victory Saturday, beating the UBC Old Boys Ravens 19-10 at Jericho Park in Vancouver.
The win came via comeback, as the Sharks fell behind early – they trailed 10-0 at halftime – before storming back to score three unanswered tries in the second half.
“We were a little rusty to start the game, and we still had to familiar with each other out there. We were getting pinned back with kicks, and the field really felt slanted against us that first 40 minutes,” Bayside premier coach Pat Kearney explained.
“But we were able to completely turn it around in the second half, so that was really great.”
The Sharks got second-half tries from Pete Johnson, Gurvinder Kalar and Keaton Styles, the latter player suiting up for Bayside’s premier team for the first time after spending the last few seasons with the University of Victoria Vikings.
“Keaton was really good for us at fullback. He played well,” said Kearney of the Earl Marriott Secondary grad.
Due to the B.C. Rugby Union’s new format – in which the top five teams from last year’s spring premier league qualify for 2012, and the remaining six teams fight for the final two spots – Saturday’s win did not actually count in the standings for Bayside.
All 11 BCRU teams play each other this fall, but only games against the bottom six will count for points in the standings. Games against already-qualified clubs, like the UBC Old Boys, will serve as exhibition tilts.
Next week’s home opener, 2:45 pm at South Surrey Athletic Park, is also an exhibition tilt, against Meralomas.
“It doesn’t count in the standings, but a win is still a win, and I’d rather be talking about that than a loss today,” Kearney said.
“It’s a good start for us, and it gets the guys fired up for the season.”
Though the Old Boys are already qualified for the premier league this spring – and essentially have little to play for during the fall calendar – Kearney said they still fielded a veteran lineup, with only a few key players missing.
“They had most of their full squad out… they were maybe a little thin at a few spot, but that’s it,” Kearney said.
“We just played them really well. Really, we were unlucky in the second half not to score a few more tries. “And I know they weren’t happy with (the loss).”
Bayside’s first division men also beat the UBC Old Boys Saturday, by a 43-15 score.
“It was a nice sweep,” said Kearney.