One of B.C.’s great high school rugby rivalries recorded another hard-hitting chapter on Thursday afternoon, as the Earl Marriott Mariners edged the Robert Bateman Timberwolves 7-0 in the Fraser Valley AAA boys championship game.
The South Surrey-based Mariners broke through for the lone points of the game late in the first half, as Ian McMaster got in for a try and Quentin Wilms booted the convert.
The T-Wolves had their chances, particularly in the first half when they ventured deep into Marriott territory on several occasions, but they couldn’t push the ball across.
“Both teams played exceptionally well,” Bateman coach Dave Chambers said in the aftermath of the game, held at Yale Secondary. “They took advantage of their one opportunity that they got and scored, and we weren’t able to take advantage. You can’t get any closer than this. It was a tremendous game.”
This group of Bateman and Marriott seniors have been battling for Fraser Valley supremacy for quite some time. Two years ago, the Mariners edged the T-Wolves in overtime of the Grade 10 regional final, and the teams split their regular-season games this year.
The intensity of Thursday’s game reached a boiling point in the second half with a minor melee in front of the Bateman bench, but it amounted to nothing more than a little pushing and shoving.
“It’s a good, positive sports rivalry, and it’s great to be a part of it,” Chambers said. “We’ve got two quality programs, and their coaching staff has the same philosophy as ours. We just get stuck into each other on the field, and it’s really good.”
In earlier action, the Yale Lions clinched the Valley bronze medal in dominating fashion, blasting Semiahmoo 59-22. Spencer Miller led the scoring parade with a pair of tries, while Akash Deo kicked seven converts.
The Lions are on a five-game winning streak, and coach Doug Primrose feels his youthful Grade 11-laden roster is carrying a lot of momentum heading into the provincial championships.
“Our support’s getting a lot better, and we’re really improving,” he said. “We’re hoping to peak at the right time.”
The provincials open on Saturday, May 26 with first-round games at locations around the province. The balance of the tournament runs May 30 to June 2 at Abbotsford’s Exhibition Park.
Spencer Miller of Yale straight-arms a Semiahmoo player during the Fraser Valley AAA third-place rugby game at Yale Secondary on Thursday. (Dan Pearce photo)