For a second-straight season, the University of Victoria Vikes men’s rugby team sees their season come to an end at the hands of the Castaway Wanderers. Last year the Vikes fell 45-37 to the Wanderers in the BC Premier League quarter-finals and were unable to get their revenge in the same situation this season.
Thanks to a dominant opening half by CW who put up 42-points on the Vikes, the home side cruised to an eventual 59-29 victory on Apr. 20 at Windsor Park in Victoria.
“Nothing seemed to go right for us from the start today,” commented Vikes head coach Doug Tate. “Right from warm up when we lost Logan (Martin-Feek) and then we lose James O’Neill in the first few minutes. Those are two key guys for us so it seemed to impact our cohesion to start the game. We were over-committing at the break downs, falling off tackles and just struggled overall defensively.”
“It’s a real tough way to see those guys go out,” expressed Tate. “Gradyn especially who has been a fantastic leader for us this season and given so much to our program here at UVic.”
“I have really enjoyed my time here,” said the Vikes Captain Bowd. “I’ve had the pleasure to play with some experienced teams and also with this young core that is coming up and will make a big impact in the next several years. Tough way to finish my career but thankful for everything I have learned and experienced as a Vike.”
The Castaway Wanderers got the first try of the game early. Josiah Morra broke free and scampered down the sideline before offloading to flanker Kelton Dawe who finished off the play to give CW the 7-0 lead.
Bowd then answered back shortly after for the Vikes with a successful penalty goal to bring the score to 7-3. Victoria was outscored 35-7 through the remainder of the first half to trail the Wanderers 42-10 at the half time break. Prop Gavin Kratz scored the lone try for the Vikes after 40 minutes of play.
“They took it to us in the first 20 minutes and that really put us behind the eight ball early,” added Tate. “CW was patient, moved the ball quickly and executed really well. Total credit goes to them, they played an excellent game.”
In the second half Jackson Matthews made back-to-back breaks up centre field, running 20-metres each time but coughed the ball up to CW after being called for holding on to the ball after contact.
Fullback Brennig Prevost scored a pair of tries in the second half and the Vikes added another score from substitute winger Noah Bain. However, the home side remained strong on defense and potted two more insurance tries to close out the match. The final score reading 59-29 in favour of the Castaway Wanderers.
With the win, CW will advance to play Burnaby Lake next week on Apr. 27 in the BC Premier League semifinal in Burnaby.