The last thing the Bayside Sharks wanted to do Saturday was to come up lame in front of their home fans.
Yet little was said between members squad at halftime, despite the premier men’s rugby side trailing the visiting University of Victoria Vikings 22-0.
And while inspiration speeches have been known to spark the odd comeback, this time, the silence worked, as the Sharks returned to the pitch in the second half and scored 24 unanswered points en route to a 24-22 win at South Surrey Athletic Park.
“It was concerning, definitely. You never want to go down by 20 to a team like that. But not a lot needed to be said. We all knew what we had to go out and do,” said Bayside head coach Pat Kearney.
In the first half, Kearney said, the Vikings came out with a lot of energy, and took advantage of a few Shark miscues to “score a few quick tries.”
“It was the tale of two halves, for sure,” the coach continued. “We’ve had games like this before, where we’ve had to try and come back, but it was nice this time to come all the way back.
“It was an unbelievable 40 minutes… the best 40 minutes Bayside has played, maybe ever.”
Early in the second half, Pete Johnson got the home team on the board with a try, which was followed up by four more consecutive tries – from Kai Briscoe, Eric Sugawara and Spencer Thorpe. Dan Dixon chipped in with two converts.
Though they didn’t score each time down the field in the second half, Bayside dominated the run of play, and Kearney suggested “90 per cent of the second half was played in the Victoria end.”
“They probably only had the ball three or four times in the second half, and when they did, they were getting knocked on their ass,” Kearney said.
Kearney praised the team’s forward pack for controlling the play, and keeping UVic from handling the ball much after halftime.
With the win, the Sharks are 2-2 and heading into a crucial stretch of their season.
They play on the road Saturday, in Victoria against James Bay, before returning home to South Surrey for the next two games, first against Meralomas and then against Burnaby.
“Both our wins have come at home and both our losses have been on the road,” Kearney said. “So it’s important for us to have this kind of performance on the road now.
“We’re playing (James Bay), a team that’s been struggling, and we’re eager and excited. We have to travel well. It should be a good test.”