Wily Bays eke out narrow win over Kickers

For over a century James Bay Athletic Association rugby teams have been the toast of B.C. and Canadian rugby. Formed in 1886, three years before the Comox Valley Kickers, the Bays have won 54 Vancouver Island Barnard Cup championships and a record 23 British Columbia Rounsfell Cup championships

  • Feb. 24, 2011 12:00 p.m.
DOUG WYND enjoyed another outstanding game for the Kickers.

DOUG WYND enjoyed another outstanding game for the Kickers.

 

Ian Kennedy

Special to the Record

For over a century James Bay Athletic Association rugby teams have been the toast of B.C. and Canadian rugby. Formed in 1886, three years before the Comox Valley Kickers, the Bays have won 54 Vancouver Island Barnard Cup championships and a record 23 British Columbia Rounsfell Cup championships.

Over the years JBAA has placed more players on the Canadian rugby team than any other club, so when a team travels to MacDonald Park to play the Bays the visitors had better be ready to play their best.

The Kickers men’s team set off Sunday morning to play the JBAA with high hopes, coming off two early season wins (against Saanich 30-12 and Powell River 52-0), and got off to a good start when star centre Steve Hextall touched down after a typical “Hextallian” romp through the heart of the James Bay backfield.

Wing Ross McLean scored his seventh of the year soon after and with a conversion by Brandon Huddleston and a penalty by Doug Wynd, the Kickers took a 15-7 halftime lead.

In the second stanza James Bay’s experienced older players, many of whom played for James Bay’s Premier sides in their day and some who had even donned a Canadian jersey, took more control of the proceedings.

They double teamed the Kickers most potent player, Steve Hextall, limiting him to only one try in the second half (which Huddleston converted) and used their bench to add fresh legs as the game progressed, while the Kickers had limited reserves. 

In the end the wily Bays eked out a narrow 29-22 win.

Hextall once again proved a player of the highest quality, scoring two tries, while McLean added a much needed third try. Fly-half Doug Wynd played a sterling game, making telling tackles and orchestrating play with authority.

“It was a great back-and-forth game,” said Kickers’ coach Aaron L’Arrivee. “They were tactically smarter than we were and were able to run on substitutes, so fitness told in the end. All in all it was a good learning experience for us and we’ll take lessons from this and move forward.”

The Kickers women’s team enjoyed a weekend off and have a bye this weekend while the men hit the road again to play the Piggies in Cowichan.

SIDELINES The Kickers invite all men and women interested in playing rugby to attend training sessions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6.30 p.m. at the club’s Fallen Alders facility on the Royston/Cumberland Road … for more information, visit the club’s website at www.kickersrugby.ca …