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

Marchers supporting Indian farmers rallied in Surrey last month, from Bear Creek Park to Holland Park along King George Boulevard. (File photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey MP says mayor’s motion to support Indian farmers is his to make

“He has his own sovereignty, right,” Sukh Dhaliwal says

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions against new model; BCSS and its board in favour

Researchers say residents should leave sleeping bats alone while they exit hibernation. (Cathy Koot photo)
Spring ‘signal’ brings White Rock, Surrey bats out of hibernation

Community Bat Programs of BC says it’s best to leave sleeping bats alone

(Photo: Creative Outlet)
YOUR MONEY: Tax tips for a complicated tax season involving CERB and more

With April 30 tax deadline, ‘it is important to understand the tax implications (benefits) will have’

The Delta Police Department’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Unit: (from left) Const. Joel Thirsk, analyst Jody Johnson and Staff Sgt. Sukh Sidhu. (Delta Police Department photo)
Delta police respond to rising number of hate crimes

Police have received 15 reports so far in 2021, compared to 12 in all of 2020

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Dr. Bonnie Henry – in a B.C. health order that went into effect April 12 – granted WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce workplace closures with COVID-19 spread. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
24 workplace closures being enforced in Fraser Health under new COVID-19 order

WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce closures if COVID-19 has spread to 3 or more employees

Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue were conducting training operations at Gold Creek Falls when a firefighter broke their leg. (Eileen Robinson photo - Special to The News)
Firefighter suffers broken leg during swift water rescue practice in Golden Ears park

A training exercise at Maple Ridge waterfall on Wedesday results in mishap

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Most Read