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Golden Bearristers: Down but Never Out

Patrick Coones (2L)

First of all, I think I speak for all the guys on the Golden Bearristers, when I say congrats to the 2016 Western Canadian Champion Panda Bearristers who really put on a strong showing in Kamloops. Unfortunately, the Golden Bearristers walked away from the weekend with nothing but the honor of having embarrassed the host team TRU in an unofficial back alley, boat race. Big shout out to the dynamic Einhorn brothers who were almost as fast on the pitch as they were anchoring the boat race team.

Sadly, the hard-fought battles on the pitch refused to go in favor of the Green and Gold. However, the team never gave up. Even in the final game of the weekend, when many of the players were out with injuries or playing through them, the boys gave it their all to the bitter end. Even though we weren’t able to defend last year’s’ title, or even win a game, the team had fun and left everything on the field.

The first game against U of C was a defensive battle from the very beginning. Honorable mentions for this game, all around nice guy Graham, who very clearly put the ball down in the try zone but the ref decided that he already had enough going for him so he was not going to allow him to be the team’s hero as well. The defensive deadlock, as well as questionable officiating, carried through to the end of the game which saw U of C take a heavily protested 5 – 0 (1 try) win over the Green and Gold.

Next up for the Bearristers, UBC. Another tight defensive game saw many of the players for the Bearristers sacrificing their body for the good of the team. A couple of questionable defensive tackles; who knew you couldn’t body check? Led to UBC getting on the board early. However, things started to look up when Thom Rodgers tore through UBC’s defense and slammed the ball down for the first try of the weekend for the Green and Gold. After an outrageous kick by 3rd year vet Jesse Kasprow to put the Bearristers in the lead, things got even better.  Abbotsford’s very own track star, Andrew Beechinor, took matters into his own hands and decided to speed up and leave all of UBCs defensive line in the dust and score U of A’s second try. But wait! Once again the refs decided to interfere. This time they decided that their bitter hatred of Abbotsford surpassed their willingness to ref a fair game and called off the try. After that UBC scored a late try to take the game 10 -7.

Finally, it came time for the match against the home team TRU. The Bearristers had the opportunity to play spoiler. A win in the final game would allow U of C to take home the trophy. Sadly, many of the Bearristers were already down with injuries, including much of the team’s most experienced players Brad Angove and Joey Redman, and the last game would also take its toll. This match saw Adam Simpson and Richard Schaub make early exits to the emergency room after putting everything on the line to get the Bearristers a win. Unfortunately, no one explained to them that the Battle of Alberta was very real and we would never allow our actions to assist U of C in anyway. After a great showing, the Bearristers were up 14 – 7, but then decided to let TRU win. The final score: 28 – 14.

Special shouts out to Gordon Becher for playing almost every minute and Matty Chao for taking out one of TRU’s biggest guys with a hit right out of Rock’em Sock’em 4. The Bearristers look forward to hosting next years’ tournament, where, we will once again do everything we can to stop Calgary from winning. Big thanks to the coaching staff and leadership group who held the team together under trying circumstances. Even if the score didn’t reflect it, it was still a hell of a weekend.