Cal Bears Fall To University of British Columbia

February 7, 2016

Cal Bears Fall To University of British Columbia 

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Photo: ABFlyerPhoto

Cal Bears Press Release: Feb. 6, 2016

BERKELEY – California had a halftime lead over the undefeated Thunderbirds from the University of British Columbia and battled through four lead changes as fullback Harry Adolphus connected on five penalties and the Golden Bears rallied behind a raucous crowd on Pac-12 Networks but could not drive the ball over the try line as time expired, losing the opening leg of the “World Cup” series, 20-15, Saturday on Witter Rugby Field.

“Taking nothing away from the ‘Birds, because I thought they were very good on the day, but the story was too many unforced errors from us,” said head coach Jack Clark. “We played a lot of the rugby. Our boys competed mostly well. Our effort level was high, but the pressure seemed to affect us more than them. They arrived very accomplished, undefeated, with as much talent as they’ve had in a long while. So as disappointed as we are to lose, maybe it’s an indication that we’re building a strong team as well.”

Adolphus slotted three first-half penalties against one for Staller to account for the scoring as Cal went into the break leading, 9-3, after the first 40 minutes. The Bears stayed on the right side of the referee while the Thunderbirds were yellow carded for two cynical penalties, both of which thwarted scoring opportunities, while untimely errors by the Blue and Gold added to the challenge as their attack became stymied on multiple occasions.

Three second-half lead changes kept the crowd on the edge its seats as Adolphus added another penalty, UBC fullback Andrew Coe scored two tries and Adolphus kicked his fifth three-pointer to make it a two-point match before his sixth attempt from 50 meters had the distance but was wide right.

The Bears rallied to make a push to take the lead as the standing-room crowd in Strawberry Canyon urged on the home team. Cal withstood many attacking sequences and played some outstanding try-line defense. The last two minutes of the match saw the Bears buried inside the UBC 10 meter line, where they were unable to find an opening to successfully score a go-ahead try.

“All of us went out there and gave it our all, we can be proud of that,” said prop George Vrame. “But we made a lot of mistakes and came up short. We need to limit the errors going into the rematch in Vancouver.”

The defeat leaves Cal (5-1) with a five-point deficit for the March 20 rematch at Vancouver, where the Thunderbirds (11-0) lost to the Bears last year, splitting the series.

The next home match in Strawberry Canyon features Cal vs. Air Force on Feb. 20 at noon (preceded by a curtain raiser vs. Cal Maritime at 10 a.m.), followed by the conference-play visit from UCLA to Strawberry Canyon on Feb. 27 at 3 p.m.

The match with the Bruins on Feb. 27 figures to be a pivotal point in the Bears’ pursuit for a fourth straight PAC Rugby Conference title, coming as the third conference contest on Cal’s slate following previous road tests Feb. 13 and Feb. 15 at Arizona and Arizona State, respectively.

After a challenging regular season that will offer the Bears an opportunity to earn their fourth straight PAC crown, Cal will advance to the national postseason in the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Rugby Championship to finish its 15s slate before turning back to the Olympic style of the game at the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

The Scoring Timeline vs. British Columbia

01:00 Harry Adolphus 3

12:00 UBC (Brock Staller) 3

22:00 Harry Adolphus 3

35:00 Harry Adolphus 3

Halftime Score: California 9, British Columbia 3

43:00 UBC (Andrew Coe) 5, (Brock Staller) 2

52:00 Harry Adolphus 3

55:00 UBC (Andrew Coe) 5, (Brock Staller) 2

65:00 Harry Adolphus 3

76:00 UBC (Brock Staller) 3

Final Score: British Columbia 20, California 15

The Team vs. British Columbia

15. Adolphus, 14. Goena, 13. A. Salaber ©, 12. Milne (Maggs @ 70:00), 11. Honens, 10. R. Webb, 9. Boyer (Okusi @ 51:00), 1. Walsh, 2. Bush, 3. Vrame (Sullivan @ 75:00), 4. Kondrat, 5. Zerbino, 6. Robles, 7. Mirhashem, 8. Gaffney (Sweet @ 70:00)

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant