Though upset that his Bayside Sharks team won’t be playing on the premier men’s circuit this spring, head coach Pat Kearney refused to make excuses for his team’s qualification-round loss Saturday to Burnaby Lake.
“It was a disappointing Saturday, no question about it,” Kearney, in his first year coaching Bayside’s top men’s side, said of his team’s 20-11 loss.
“We take full responsibility – we had a chance to win it, and it didn’t happen. That’s just the way it goes sometimes. But we aren’t making excuses… I’m responsible, the players are responsible.”
The loss gave Burnaby Lake the final spot in the B.C. Rugby Union’s premier men’s league this spring; Bayside, for the first time in years, will be relegated to first division under the BCRU’s current structure.
However, Kearney is certain his team won’t be absent from the province’s top league for long.
For starters, he said, they’re a “premier-level” team; also, Kearney said, the BCRU, which changes formats on what seems like an annual basis, is not likely to repeat the current qualification-round format next fall.
“We’re just taking a little bit of a break from premier, that’s all,” Kearney said.
“But this isn’t a death penalty for us – we’ll be OK.
“We’ll be back.”
In fact, the Sharks very nearly ended up on the right side of the scoreboard Saturday. Though they lost by nine, they trailed by just one point, 12-11, late in the second half until a Bayside penalty led to Burnaby Lake putting the game out of reach with some late scores.
“We were down one, and trying to set up Pete (Clifford) for a drop-goal, but we took a penalty, and that was that,” Kearney explained.
Kearney said the Sharks will now enjoy a two-month break before resuming play in late January, where they’ll aim for a first division title.
“We’ll still have a very strong side. So hopefully we can regroup and go out and try to win a title,” he said. “We still have a lot of games left in us.”
Meanwhile, the Sharks’ first division team still has a chance to earn the club some redemption over their Burnaby Lake rivals.
The two first-division sides face off Saturday at North Vancouver’s Klahanie Park for the Div. 1 Mainland championship.
Bayside’s third-division team was bounced from title contention last weekend, after a loss in semifinals.