Rugby lights up the night at Surrey’s Sullivan Heights Park for the first time

Matt Bose picks-and-goes from the back of a Surrey scrum. (Photo: Malin Jordan)Matt Bose picks-and-goes from the back of a Surrey scrum. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
TWU regroups after Surrey scored an early try. (Photo: Malin Jordan)TWU regroups after Surrey scored an early try. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Half-time. (Photo: Malin Jordan)Half-time. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Trinity Western attacks with the ball. (Photo: Malin Jordan)Trinity Western attacks with the ball. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Scrum down. (Photo: Malin Jordan)Scrum down. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
A TWU player steals the ball from Surrey in a ruck. (Photo: Malin Jordan)A TWU player steals the ball from Surrey in a ruck. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Khyree Poole readies for a pass. (Photo: Malin Jordan)Khyree Poole readies for a pass. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Ethan Kelt kicks the ball into touch after being awarded a penalty. (Photo: Malin Jordan)Ethan Kelt kicks the ball into touch after being awarded a penalty. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Khyree Poole plays scrum-half for TWU. (Photo: Malin Jordan)Khyree Poole plays scrum-half for TWU. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Daniel Clement rises into the air to reel in a Spartan line-out throw. (Photo: Malin Jordan)Daniel Clement rises into the air to reel in a Spartan line-out throw. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Both teams scrum down on a Surrey put in. (Photo: Malin Jordan)Both teams scrum down on a Surrey put in. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
A Spartan player holds the ball on the ground as the whistle blows (Photo: Malin Jordan)A Spartan player holds the ball on the ground as the whistle blows (Photo: Malin Jordan)
The referee has a word with some of the Beavers. (Photo: Malin Jordan)The referee has a word with some of the Beavers. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
The Beavers drive the ball in a scrum against TWU Nov. 22 under the lights as Sullivan Heights Park. (Photo: Malin Jordan)The Beavers drive the ball in a scrum against TWU Nov. 22 under the lights as Sullivan Heights Park. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
The Beavers and the Spartans ready for a scrum Nov. 22. (Photo: Malin Jordan)The Beavers and the Spartans ready for a scrum Nov. 22. (Photo: Malin Jordan)

It was a night of firsts at Sullivan Heights Park Nov. 22.

The Surrey Beavers squared off against the Trinity Western University (TWU) Spartans in the first ever night game at Sullivan Heights. It was also the Beavers’ first game against TWU. And it is also TWU’s inaugural season for mens’ 15-aside rugby.

In only their second game since re-establishing a program that died in 2004, TWU played very well considering their limited match experience, said Surrey Captain Paul Kelly.

“We were more than happy to get a game in and give those guys some game experience against a mens’ side.”

At times, TWU displayed flashes of speed and playmaking ability, but ultimately it was Surrey’s night as they won the game 31-13.

TWU played well in the first half, but lost the ball at key times because of technical errors. They also lost possessions in contact a few times, both in rucks and mauls.

In one series of plays near the end of the first half, TWU drove the ball down the field very well—spreading the ball wide, recycling the subsequents rucks in tight with the forwards, and then spreading the ball wide again.

As Trinity powered the ball down the pitch, the Beavers were playing on the back foot and kept arriving late to rucks, committing three penalties in the process. TWU used them to their advantage, kicking each out of bounds and winning their own subsequent line-out throws.

But a key knock-on in the middle of the field gifted the ball to the Beavers who then pounded the ball back the other way.

With only a minute to go in the half, Surrey broke the TWU line when Riley Johnson burst through for a 20-metre run. Surrey was able to punch in an unconverted try a few phases later and the first half ended 17-6 for the Beavers (3 tries to 2 penalty kicks).

The second half began much like the first half ended when fullback James Bailey raced 40 metres to score another try for Surrey. Brandon Gatto drilled the convert attempt down the middle of the posts to raise the score to 24-6.

The rest of the half was a back-and-forth battle with the wet conditions taking over the match. Each side committed some handling errors, but the Beavers seemed to be in full control of the game’s ebb and flow.

Surrey added another try with about 10 minutes to go and moved ahead 31-6.

The Spartans responded immediately, notching their only try of the match, when Fly-Half Ethan Kelt darted through the Beavers’ defense at the 22-metre line. Kelt zigged his way to the goal, powering through two Beavers at the five-metre line and dragging them along with him as he willed his way over the try line for five points. Kelt added his own convert to cap an amazing individual effort.

Ultimately, technical errors handcuffed the Spartans’ game. TWU arrived at breakdowns in low numbers, but they rucked well, and they were able to get quick ball out to their backs. However, the university squad suffered from too many bad passes, knock-ons, and lost balls in both contact play (rucks and mauls) and set-piece play (scrums and line-outs) to put together an effective game.

Despite the errors and lack of game experience, Kelly was impressed with the new team.

“They are young and both teams made mistakes out there,” he said. “But kudos to them because we have some boys on our team that could be some of (the TWU players’) dads.”

Kelly said he’s overjoyed there is a university rugby team now in the area.

“This is what we need. For a lot of the Surrey and Fraser Valley kids, the nearest place they can play university rugby is at UBC. So this new program changes the rugby landscape for students out here.”

Langley’s Caleb Gerth, captain for TWU, though disappointed with the scoreline, was happy his team could add some vital game experience to their short résumé.

“This is only our second 15-a-side game,” Gerth noted. “We’ve got a really young squad, but everyone is really committed to the program.”

He thought his team benefitted from the experience they garnered in the loss.

“It was really physical tonight,” he said “They have some really big boys and they like to put their shoulder in. A lot of our guys are fresh out of high school. So, they’re not used to that. It was a good game for us.”

Gerth acknowledged his team committed too many handling errors.

“We need to improve our play around set-pieces and improve our rucking.”

Kelly added his rugby club was thankful for their new field lights.

“I can’t say enough about the City and what they’ve done for us with these lights,” he said. “We are very grateful to the City for putting them in.”



editor@cloverdalereporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

.
LETTER: Langley student crunches some numbers on food production’s eco-impact

Grade 7 students at Gordon Greenwood Elementary were tasked with writing about climate change.

The Langley School District has issued COVID-19 notifications for five schools. (Langley Schools)
Another 5 Langley schools record COVID-19 exposures

As of Wednesday, 15 schools were on Fraser Health’s list

Elmer Patzer, who turned 90 this week, celebrated a distanced birthday with a parade at his home. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Langley senior celebrates distanced birthday with car parade, mascot

At 90, Elmer Patzer just had his second pandemic birthday

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including South Surrey’s Pacific Highway should ‘not be left behind’

Ribfest 2019. (Aldergrove Star files)
Plans for Langley RibFest shelved for second year in row due to COVID-concerns

50/50 Rotary Lottery to continue for second year, potentially worth $250,000, set for Aug. 19

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

Surrey RCMP are seeking the public's help to locate three puppies stolen from a South Surrey home on April 10. (Surrey RCMP photos)
UPDATE: 1 of 3 puppies stolen from South Surrey returned to owner

American Bulldog puppy recovered after being sold at Mission car show

Two women walk past ‘The Meeting’ sculptures in White Rock’s Miramar Plaza Wednesday afternoon. (Aaron Hinks photo)
New public art in White Rock faces criticism as the ‘two Michaels’ remain in China’s custody

‘I would encourage people to go out and enjoy it’ said Vancouver Biennale founder

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Everett Cummings in a tribute video posted to dignitymemorial.com.
Mechanic’s death at Fraser Surrey Docks leads to $200K fine for company, union says

Photos of rally outside Surrey court posted on ILWU’s ‘Kill A Worker Go To Jail’ Facebook page

Most Read