It’s sink or swim time for the Bayside Sharks this weekend, as the team aims for the last spot in the spring’s B.C. Rugby Union men’s premier league.
In order to qualify, the Sharks’ top men’s side will need a win Saturday afternoon when they host their rivals from Burnaby Lake.
Winner gets the premier spot, while the losing team will be regulated to the BCRU’s first division.
“Yeah, there’s a little bit of pressure I guess,” laughed Bayside head coach Pat Kearney. “But this is what it’s all about – one game. One of us is in, the other’s going home. There’s no excuses now, we just have to get it done.”
The do-or-die matchup was set up after both teams won last weekend; the Sharks edged the Victoria-based Velox Valhallians 19-9, while Burnaby beat Vancouver Rowing Club.
Though happy with Saturday’s win, Kearney said his team was hampered by the inclement weather; the game was played in torrential rains and strong wind.
“In good conditions, our team can really run up some tries on people, but rain is such an equalizer,” Kearney said.
“There was a ton of sloppy ball-handling, which probably negated some scoring opportunities.”
Pat Bickerton led the charge for the Sharks with two tries, while Uate Kaci Soko had one. Brodie Henderson had two converts.
Henderson handled the kicking duties in the absence of Peter Clifford, the BCRU’s leading scorer, who missed the game due to an injury suffered during the week.
Kearney said he expects Clifford to play Saturday against Burnaby Lake, however.
“He’s a really important part of our team – he’s really the general out there on the field for us,” Kearney said of Clifford. “I’m pencilling him into the starting 15 this week.”
Kearney was hoping for good weather this weekend, but said if it turns ugly, the Sharks would be prepared to “muck it out in the rain.”
“They’re all grown men and they know what they have to go do out there. Now it’s just a matter of showing up at 2:30 on Saturday afternoon and getting it done,” he said.
“I’m confident we can do that.”