After winning the league early last week, the Senior badminton team entered the City tournament April 30 as top seed and slight favourites. Jake You and Theo Wu played especially well in round 1, helping SMUS easily dispatch Oak Bay 8-3. In the final, the Blue Jags faced Mount Douglas. Throughout the many intense matches, it was seniors Blair Zheng, Renee Guan, Ryan Cui and Kyle Tang who rose to the occasion and helped secure a 7-4 victory. The title was the school’s tenth in the past 14 years.
The squad now travels to Nanaimo on May 7 for the Island Championship. Good luck!
A memorable Alumni Weekend was capped May 2 by the traditional rugby matches versus Oak Bay.
First, on a gorgeous spring afternoon, the Juniors gave an inspired display in upsetting the Barbs 29-7. A determined forward effort, spearheaded by locks Avery Thorp and Gabriel Kingsley-Nyinah, allied to gritty defence and opportunistic attack, allowed SMUS to break open a tight contest with three second half tries.
A revamped back row, featuring Bryn Haydock, Jon Sudul and Sam Kahn combined well together, with hooker Bryce Forbes throwing accurately and winning several key turnovers at the breakdown.
In the backs, scrum half Donovan Sturdy cleared the ball very efficiently, giving Jasper Bosley and Felix Butterfield in particular room to operate. Fullback Matt Hagkull chimed in on attack effectively and produced two try-saving tackles.
Two hours later, the 1st XV, piped on to the field by an Alumni honour guard and desperate to atone for April’s Boot Game defeat by Oak Bay, turned in an equally brave effort.
After both teams showed some early jitters, SMUS finally capped a period of pressure when prop Aidan Cole plunged over from short range. Matty McColl added the extras for a 7-0 lead, which stood up until the 26th minute when Oak Bay equalized. However, a Blue Jags PK then staked the hosts to a 10-7 halftime lead.
Playing into a freshening wind after the break, SMUS found it difficult to gain territorial control, not helped when two very promising opportunities were squandered by handling errors. However, after the Barbs had drawn level with a penalty goal, SMUS flanker Myles Duncan crossed in the left corner with seven minutes to play. McColl notched a superb conversion to make the score 17-10.
Not surprisingly, given the history of exciting and close games between the teams, further drama remained. Oak Bay swung on to attack, forcing a series of penalties and scrums near the SMUS line. In a hugely physical exchange, with the players standing toe-to-toe, desperate ball carriers were thwarted only by equally committed tacklers. Finally, after a goal line stand lasting some four minutes, the home defence cracked just enough for the Barbs to notch a tally and draw level.
There was just enough time for one last SMUS response. Taking play into the Oak Bay quarter, the Blue Jags won a penalty kick. With the large crowd now completely hushed, it was left to the nerveless McColl, from 30 metres wide out on the right, to claim victory. 20-17 SMUS, as the excellent referee John de Goede blew for full time.
On a day of many notable performances, scrum half Carson Smith showed great courage in defence, hounding his opposite number in concert with openside Josh Graffi. Prop Angus Catto enjoyed his best-ever outing in SMUS colours, while Liam Catto and lock Warren Marriott were also impressive. In a revamped backline, made necessary by the early loss of centre Josh Kahn to an ankle sprain, Owen Sudul, Jonas Robinson and Max Pollen all adapted neatly to new positions in high pressure circumstances.