A few defensive lapses and a battle-hardened Rowers rugby team bested the Whistler Hoary Marmots in their first game of the season last Saturday a tug of war that could have easily gone Whistlers way if the Rowers hadnt made two incredible goal-line stands in the closing minutes.
"For our first match together, it was a promising sign for the future," said player/coach/captain John Gideon. "By the end of the season I see us being quite a well peaked team, and ready to take on the city teams for their pre-seasons."
The Vancouver Rowing Club forwards punched a try through early in the game, but failed to convert. Marmot centre John Jetson answered back a few minutes later to tie the game. Gideon split the posts on the conversion to put the Marmots up 7 to 5.
The Rowers capitalized on an overlap to put another try in the corner, which they also failed to convert.
Marmot lock Zac Jacobsen took advantage of a dropped pass to run the ball deep into the Rowers territory before he was hauled down. The Marmots retained possession, and Jacobsen ran it in the last five yards to put the Marmots in the lead once again. At the half, the Marmots led the Rowers 12-10. Aside from a few penalties, they spent most of that time in the Rowers end of the field.
The Rowers wouldnt go away, however. Borrowing from the Whistler bench to make up for injuries, they scored two rolling tries in the third quarter.
Gideon caught the Rowers backs out of position with a chip kick, got it back on the bounce, and ran it in to make it a 20 to 17 game with just 10 minutes left.
The Marmot forwards punched it up the field twice, only to lose momentum and possession within yards of scoring the winning try. Gideon scored the last points of the match.
"We havent been training as a team for that long, weve only been together for a month or so, but we played pretty well," said Gideon. "There were a few loose errors, but hopefully over time we can gel."
The Marmots are still confirming their second exhibition game against a tough Abbotsford Rugby Football Club on June 30.