The Bayside Sharks staged a remarkable comeback to post a 24-22 win over the visiting University of Victoria Vikings in Canadian Direct Insurance premier rugby action Saturday.
The Sharks sputtered throughout the first half at South Surrey Athletic Park and found themselves trailing 22-0 at the break. The second half marked a complete turn of form and fortune as Bayside bottled up the Vikings while scoring 24 unanswered points to steal the win.
"It was a comeback for the ages; it was unreal," said Bayside coach Pat Kearney. "I didn't know we had that in us but we found a way to get it done. I didn't say much at halftime because everybody knew we had to do something to turn things around. We lacked a lot of possession and offence in the first half but we made up for it with complete and utter domination of the play, possession and territory in the second half. We were in their end for the entire 40 minutes, which was good.
"We just kept the ball out of their hands and when you make a team play defence for a long period of time, they're going to cave at some point."
The Sharks' front row keyed the comeback with a pair of tries by props Pete Johnston and Kia Briscoe. The Bayside back then got into the act as fullback Eric Sugawara and inside centre Spencer Thorpe each added a try. Peter Clifford wrapped things up with two converts to lift Bayside to the win.
The four Bayside tries carried extra weight as it gave the Sharks a bonus point, which, when coupled with the win, produced five points in the standings. UVic earned a single bonus point for losing by less than seven points.
"This win was huge for us," Kearney said. "We maxed out on points on the day and that's important because we want to get five points every Saturday. It always good to win our home games and now our focus had to be transferring our success at home into success on the road."
The Sharks head to the Island Saturday to take on James Bay in Victoria.
z Meanwhile Abbotsford, the Surrey Beavers were enduring a day that was the polar opposite to their Bayside brethren.
The Beavers built a 10-0 lead at the half only to have Abby storm back and earn a 27-13 win in Okanagan Brewery first division rugby action.
"If we played the last 40 minutes the way we played the first we might have come away with a win," lamented Surrey coach Kevin Taylor. "It was kind of the same as what happened to us in Kamloops where we were knocking on the door all game but just couldn't score. We gave away a couple of long tries and then turned the ball over at really bad times. It was clear that their game plan was to play quick and move the ball from side to side to take advantage of their speed outside. They stuck with it and in the end, they broke some holes in our defence.
Standoff Ryno Jaccobs put his toes to use for Surrey with one drop goal, a convert and a penalty to account for seven points. Inside centre Clay Ross scored the lone Surrey try round out the Beavers' scoring.
"We still have some work to do to get good enough to finish a game off against a team of that calibre," Taylor said. "We're close though. We're still in the mix and we've shown that we can compete with the top teams in our section and we should be one of the teams battling (for a playoff spot) right down to the wire."
The Beavers are on the road again this week with at game Saturday at UBC.