Golds falter in B.C. tournament

The Salmon Arm Secondary (SAS) senior boys came into the BC High School Rugby Provincials ranked eighth in tier two AAA

The Salmon Arm Secondary (SAS) senior boys came into the BC High School Rugby Provincials ranked eighth in tier two AAA.

It was an unexpected wild card birth given to the Golds at the last minute.

In their first match of the tournament, SAS was up against first-ranked Terry Fox Secondary (TFS) – known for producing big, hard-hitting rugby players. SAS managed to keep the game scoreless until half way through the first half when TFS spun the ball wide and caught Golds’ winger Liam Westbrook unprepared.

The Golds spent a lot of time in TFS’ half of the field but were missing the polish to get the ball into the end zone. Nathan Hampton eventually managed to spin the ball wide to standoff Brandon Sanford and passed to Cody Jordan, who pierced through the Ravens’ back line for a try.

The Golds managed to get another try from Steven Rahn, a Grade 10 student called up to play for the senior Golds. The final score was 34-12 for the Ravens.

Game two of the tournament for SAS was against the Belmont Bulldogs from Victoria, who were ranked 5th. The Golds conceded two easy tries to Belmont before they started to pick up the pace.

Brandon Sanford was unstoppable coming off a pass from Jase Robert, barreling through the defence to pick up a try.

The Bulldogs came back into the Golds’ end with a fast-paced winger who evaded Aaron Pederson to score in the corner.

At a full sprint, Noah Dies came crashing beside the base of the ruck, breaking through three tackles and scoring in the corner for Salmon Arm, making it 19 to 10 for the Bulldogs.

Sanford picked up a Bulldog fumble from a crushing tackle by second row Kevin Alexander to make it over the try line. Jordan sprinted the ball around the Bulldogs’ defence to give the Golds their first lead of the game, 24-19.

The Golds scored once more making it 31-19 Golds. With 10 minutes left, a sin-bin penalty to Devon Roper for a throw tackle, allowed the Bulldogs to come back and score two unanswered tries to win 34-31.

The Golds’ third and final game of the provincials was against the Kitsilano Blue Demons.

Grade 10 student Alex Muir put the Golds on the scoreboard first with a try run around the outside of Kitsliano’s unsuspecting team. The Blue Demons stepped up their game, narrowly escaping from their own end zone and then  scoring two tries in quick succession.

The Golds’ front row of Dylan Taylor, Josh Cline and Jay Schroeder provided excellent ball possession from the scrums and rucks allowing the Golds to attack.

In the back line, Robert and Sanford made a perfect switch play that caught the Demons flat-footed and allowed Robert to score under the posts. Nic Ough then kicked the conversion . Off the base of the scrum ran Ryder Fortes, who trotted through the Kitsilano back line for a try.

The Golds mauled the ball to within five metres  of Kitsilano’s goal and Sanford crossed into the end zone but the referee disallowed the try. The last-minute call was a huge letdown for the Golds as it left the final score Kitsilano 21, Salmon Arm 19.

This year’s provincial championship tournament saw the senior Golds’ first appearance since 1996.