The Winter Olympics are upon us, and we've all got Olympic Fever! ...well okay, national interest in the Winter Olympics isn't usually fever-grade in this country - but we've definitely got an Olympic Cold, or at least the Olympic Sniffles! As exciting as the US-Canada Olympic rivalry is, the real Battle of the Border is the annual set of rugby matches between Cal and the University of British Columbia. Repping Vancouver, the UBC Thunderbirds were no doubt brimming with national pride and hoping to continue the dominance over the Americans that their compatriots achieved in
hockey ice dancing. The Bears were hoping to do what they do best: win. The result of the clash was a hard-fought battle indeed. After the jump, photos of the ensuing action!
My friend and I made plans to go watch the Cal-UBC game a month ago, so we were already pretty excited on the walk up to Witter Field. Plus, I was even more excited because my new digital camera has just arrived, so this was gonna be my first chance to see what it could do! It rained in the morning, but it stopped well before gametime and it even got a little warmer before gametime. The game wasn't standing-room-only like last year(no doubt due to the mid-week, mid-afternoon time frame), but there were plenty of people to cheer on our Golden Bears! Also, I ran into Yes We Cannon in the stands. CGB shoutout!
Some Cal reserves enter the Field.
Here come the Thunderbirds...
And your California Golden Bears!!
Pregame activities - the playing of both the Canadian and American national anthems. There was also a moment of silence for someone very near and dear to the program, though I'm not sure who it was - the person had a long, long history with the program. The announcer was on the verge of tears as he called for the moment of silence.
Long may they wave...
Alright, time for some action!!
An early scrum.
Cal converts after scoring their first try.
Cal celebrates after scoring their second try of the game. The first two tries of the game came rather quickly, but UBC's defense definitely stiffened in the second half.
Line-outs are just awesome in general.
About to score our third try of the half! Go Bears!!
Part of a successful goal-line stand for the Golden Bears late in the first half.
At halftime, the Bears were up 24-0. Things were looking good, but UBC is never to be taken lightly.
Cal attempts its first penalty kick of the game. I think this one was wide right.
Witter Field is just a beautiful place to watch rugby. Amazing.
This was a very physical game. In addition to the injuries on the ground, there were several mid-air collisions - and rarely did either party fare well. There were a couple of injuries that play was stopped for, but others where play never even paused, continuing around the player and the trainers attending to him. Why there stoppages for some injuries and not others, I have no idea. Cal had numerous players banged up, and several UBC players were injured - one worst of all. It wasn't the result of of a mid-air collision, but that kid got messed up bad - his left foot was facing a direction that no left foot should ever face. I did take photos, but thought it might be in poor taste to post them. An ambulance came to take him away - we wish him all the best and hope he makes a relatively speedy recovery.
Our second penalty kick of the game - I believe this one was good!
Game over - BEARS WIN!
Always gracious, the Cal ruggers thank their fans for their support.
Bloodied, but victorious.
Thus ends another great afternoon of rugby at Witter Field. UBC's defense stiffened in the second half, but the Thunderbirds suffered from a lot of uncharacteristic miscues, whiffing on several penalty kicks and dropping balls kicked to them - but I'm no expert, Rugby Vet has a better writeup of the match here.
The Homecoming game is on March 20th - it looks to be your last chance to catch Cal Rugby at picturesque Witter Field before its traumatic transformation into tacky turf, so come out and support the Bears!!
Bonus: After the game, still excited about my new camera, I decided to take a trip over to the stadium and take a few quick pictures. I think they turned out pretty well!
Ok, that's all she wrote. GO BEARS!!!