Once again the alumni team had a good sprinkling of players with Canadian international caps to their credit and once again the cricket team played very well against them. The student team scored 87 runs in their twenty overs and the alumni replied with 102 to give them the win. Michael Smith was given the man of the match award for scoring 21 runs and dismissing one of the alumni international players and Nathan Hausmann also batted very well.
The week began with the Grade 10 boys winning 42-7 at Claremont. Despite conceding a score after 30 seconds, the team regrouped nicely and managed seven tries in reply, with Dave Pollen’s, to end the first half, coming after multiple phases and sustained pressure. Derek Hyde-Lay added two important early conversions and a long-range penalty kick to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
The Grade 9 players then took part in a sevens tournament at Spencer, winning all their games and playing some nice rugby in the process.
And so it was onto Alumni Weekend. The Friday evening featured the Grade 9 and 2nd XV matches, while the Grade 10s and 1st XV followed the next day.
At the Grade 9 level, despite facing a clear gap in pace and athleticism, the SMUS XV stayed tough up until 10 minutes into the second half, scoring three nice tries in the process. Then size and speed took over, with Oak Bay running in four more scores to win 41-17. The backbone of the team, Sam Reid, Fynn Kehl, Marcus Lelewski and Keenan Manhas all performed well, while newcomer Jorge Canedo, on the right wing, finished off the best score of the game when outlegging the cover from some 60 meters.
If the Grade 10 squad entered their game with any trepidation whatsoever, a bright start capped by a Hyde-Lay penalty goal settled their nerves and the team should have gone further in front at the 15-minute mark when hooker Peter Harrison crossed the line but did not get ball down to the referee’s satisfaction. Oak Bay, with pacy fullback Keegan Reed in deadly form, then scored a superb try, sweeping down the right to claim a 5-3 halftime lead.
With No. 8 Jeff Nishima and centre Joe Furness, with the full backing of all their mates, marshalling the home defenses to good effect, SMUS continued to contain the dangerous Oak Bay backline. Excellent tackling by flankers Marcel Sanati and Quinn Kliman stifled several promising attacks, but eventually the pressure produced two more scores, as Oak Bay led 17-3 with twelve minutes to play.
Then, having repelled yet another goalline sitution, SMUS engineered a thrilling comeback. Waves of pressure finally saw Truan Forsyth crash over, and while Hyde-Lay could not add the extras and then shaved the post with a further penalty goal, he did manage a superb touchline conversion of a subsequent Dawit Workie try.
Now back to 17-15 with two minutes remaining, SMUS attacked again deep into the Oak Bay 22. An unlikely victory beckoned, but the visitor’s defense held and the ball was cleared safely to touch to end an absorbing and extremely well played contest.
The 2nd XV, fresh off a 22-15 win over Esquimalt, played some solid, multi-phase rugby, but, shorn of several key players, lacked punch at the critical moments. While Stefan Hall and Johann von Schack both enjoyed fine afternoons in the lineout, and Fraser Magee was rock solid at prop, the team could not get the ball over the Oak Bay line, in what, in the end, was a 29-0 defeat.
The 1st XV match, played as always before a sizable crowd of over 600, saw SMUS off to an absolute dream start. Flanker Joe Furness charged down an Oak Bay clearance after just 30 seconds, regathered and touched down in the corner for a 5-0 lead.
However, Oak Bay, playing with the benefit of a strong diagonal wind, hit back straight away with first a penalty goal and then a fine team try after a series of forward drives exhausted the home defense. Still, while SMUS scrumhalf Marc van der Wal missed an equalizing penalty of his own, centre Mike Fuailefau scythed through the Barbarians defence for a converted score just before the half.
Up 12-8 at the break, with the elements in its favour, SMUS looked to be in the box seats in terms of securing an 11th consecutive win over Oak Bay. But the script did not play out as planned. The Barbarians, behind #8 Luke Campbell and fly half Aden Jack, dictated possession and territory, while the hosts played far too much ineffective rugby in its own third of the field. Inevitably, two penalty goals and a pick and go try put the visitors in front 21-12.
Finally waking up, SMUS scored a fine set piece try, with flyhalf Connor Mackenzie knifing through under the posts from 30m after a dummy scissors move. There was still time for one final flourish, but a scrum that had come under increasing pressure throughout the game conceded a critical tight head only 20 metres from the visitors try line seconds before full time.
Full credit to Oak Bay on a deserved win, and for doing the basics better when it counted. Almost certainly, the two teams will play again on May 20 in the Howard Russell playoff final, with this year’s series knotted now at 1-1.
Middle School Rugby
Middle School rugby continued this past week with the two Grade 6/7 teams in action. The blue team traveled to Royal Oak, where they came away with a sound win, playing solid open-running rugby. The white team hosted Lansdowne and GNS, and after a slow start in their first game against Lansdowne, the boys produced two solid victories. All the 26 players involved on both teams continue to improve; some need special mention for their efforts on the day, notably winger Alex Lupin, centre Trevor Smith, Grade 6 centre Ryan Totz, flyhalf Graeme Hyde-Lay, scrumhalf Owen Sudal, prop Byron Huang, and Matty McColl in a new position at hooker. Some attention on tackling, support of the ball carrier, as well as getting players to the breakdown area quickly are areas that would benefit from further work.
This week on Wednesday May 5th, the white team travels to Cedar Hill, while the blue team hosts Lansdowne and Royal Oak.
The Grade 6 team’s sechduled opponent, Glanford, was unable to make the trip and so the boys used their time to practice and play an inter-squad game. This week on Tuesday May 4th, the Grade 6 players travel to Monterey where they will also face Cedar Hill.
These games are the last in the regular season before SMUS hosts the local Victoria area jamborees. The Grade 6 jamboree is on Tuesday May 11th, while the Grade 6/7 jamboree is on Wednesday May 12th. Both groups then round out their seasons, with a trip to St. George’s School in Vancouver on Thursday May 20th for the ISA tournament.
Senior Girls Soccer
The SMUS Senior girls soccer team was back in action on Monday, continuing league play at Vic High. A slow start left SMUS down 1-0 at the half. The girls picked up their play in the second half and came out with a 4-1 win. Teryl Noble led the scoring with two goals and Kelly Adam and Tanya Rossa both added one each. The following day, the team was at Tyndall turf taking on Lambrick Park. A solid team effort earned the girls a 3-0 win. Laura Simandl, Marta Bakowska and Sydney Green all found the net in the winning effort. On Thursday, the team travelled to Parkland to play their final league game of the season. The two sides battled hard and shared the play but an early goal by Parkland would be the eventual winner. The 1-0 loss puts SMUS as the south berth #2 going into the Island Championships on May 17-18.
Track and Field
Last week, the track and field team was again busy competing in the 5th league meet of the Lower Island Series. Top results included Allie White in the Grade 9 girls shot-put and 200 metre race and Austin Smith placing 3rd in the senior boys 800 metre race. With one meet left in the qualifying meets, Alex Economou is ranked 4th and 6th in the 200 and 400 metre races respectively; Raquel Solmer is 5th in the 1500 metre race; and in the senior boys 3000 metre race, Leo Marchand is ranked 6th while Chris Madsen is 8th.
Best of luck to all athletes as they compete on Wednesday in the sixth and final league meet and as they prepare for the Lower Island Finals on May 12th.
Junior Girls Soccer
The Junior girls soccer team competed in the city championships this week. Their first game was against powerhouse Stelly’s. SMUS put forth amazing effort, but unfortunately Stelly’s was dominating the play for the majority of the game. Leah Hall was incredible in goal and managed to stop all but two shots against her. In the last five minutes of the game, SMUS finally broke through and Abbey Piazza scored a brilliant goal. Thriving on momentum the Jags came back again and Meriah Drabkin just missed the net with a fantastic shot. All players played well but unfortunately lost the game 2-1. This match was a single-knockout game which sadly brought the season for the Jags to a close. Thank you to all our fans for your continued support on the sidelines throughout our season.