The Bayside Sharks are still undefeated, and they have Peter Clifford to thank, after the veteran standoff – and league-leading scorer – scored all of Bayside’s points in an 18-14 win over Capilano RFC Saturday.
Clifford converted four penalty kicks and added two drop-goals from close range at North Vancouver’s Klahanie Park, helping boost the Sharks’ record to 3-0.
“(Clifford) had a great game. You don’t always see a lot of drop-goals, but he’s just a bright guy and he reads the play so well, so he knows when the time is right,” Bayside coach Pat Kearney said.
“And he’s kicking over 90 per cent so far this season, so when you’ve got a guy doing that, you just let him go – he’s the general out there for us.”
Bayside is vying for one of two available spots in the BCRU’s spring premier league, along with teams such as Capilano and next week’s opponent, Abbotsford, whom the Sharks host Saturday at South Surrey Athletic Park.
The win against Capilano was the first one that counted in the standings, as Bayside’s other two victories came against pre-qualified premier teams.
“It was huge for us to go into Capilano and get a win – we were on Cloud 9 afterward,” Kearney said.
“That was a very tough team we played. We really needed to get a win, and we went in and got it.”
Bayside controlled the pace of the action early, and took a 15-6 lead into halftime, because Capilano fought back in the second half to make it close. And though they were outscored after the halftime break, Kearney was still impressed with his team’s resolve.
“I thought we really set the tone early in the game, but in the second, we let them back a bit,” he said.
“But our defence has been good for us all season, and the guys really showed a lot of guts to hold on there in the second half.
“We couldn’t wait for that final whistle, though.”
The win came at a cost, however, as Sharks’ inside centre Chase Sereda was sidelined with a broken ankle. He had surgery Sunday, and is lost for the season.
“It’s one of those unfortunate things,” Kearney said. “He was having a really great season for us – really working his butt off, so for him to get hurt, it’s tough. We feel really awful for him, but we know he’s going to be our No. 1 cheerleader for us now.”
Bayside’s first division squad tied Capilano Saturday, 13-13.