Kick off between James Bay and Castaway Wanderers is 2:45 p.m. at Windsor Park for the premiers, 1 p.m. for Ceili’s Cup (Div. 1).
It might be the biggest rivalry in all of Island sports, maybe the province.
James Bay Athletic Association visits Castaway Wanderers on Saturday (Feb. 25), the ongoing saga dubbed the “100 years’ war.”
It’s always a big game, a harsh rivalry that means more than just a win in the standings.
And this time round it’s also a clash between two of the league’s best teams. Only recently did the Bays’ most recent dynasty as Island and B.C. champs end, while CW has benefitted from a sudden maturity of its own players, as well as an influx of imports from around Canada.
CW defeated Abbotsford 36-17 to take first place in the Canadian Direct Insurance Premier Rugby League last week.
But earlier that week the club suffered a much-greater loss, with the passing of Tom Stobart on Feb. 12. He is described on the CW website as a “giant of a man and a giant, rock solid influence on a whole generation of men fortunate enough to play under and who came to know him.”
Stobart played for the Castaways of Carnarvon Park, long before the two Oak Bay clubs merged in the 90s. He also coached high school rugby at Belmont secondary and for the Castaways junior men’s team.
Stobart continued coaching with longtime Castaways players Larry Chung and Rob Tait, having led the CW juniors to two B.C. Championships, and another team to the B.C. finals. The trio also coached the lower Island (Zone 6) rugby team to multiple gold medal wins at the B.C. Games. Stobart was also a valued selector and scout of junior players for B.C. and Canada.
He is survived by children Nicole, Buck, and Stephanie, and loving wife Susan.
A service in Stobart’s honour is happens Feb. 24, 3:30 p.m. at the Victoria Conservatory of Music.
Derby gate goes to charity cause
The Castaway Wanderers expect the biggest crowd of the regular season, with Bays’ supporters in tow. It’s why the club has picked Saturday to make its annual donation to a charity or fundraising initiative, said CW’s Brent Johnston.
This year, CW will support an initiative created with the recent passing of 18-year-old Tessa Beauchamp of Surrey, who overcame severe burns as a toddler and then fought brain cancer as a teenager.
“There are many many causes that attract our attention and it is a challenge to decide,” Johnston said. “(Beauchamp) was a young athlete who displayed great bravery. A female athlete that struck a cord with CW because we are in our first year of a girls youth team, and we’re seeing our Canadian women do so well at rugby sevens.”
Ticket revenue and additional donations will go towards the Tessa Beauchamp Bursary Program, called Never Complain – Never Give Up. It will support athletic scholarships, burn survivors and special cancer research.
From the scrum
James Bay is second in the premier league with five wins and one loss, as CW (4-1) has gained more bonus points so far in the season. Last week, the Bays beat Meraloma 16-10 at MacDonald Park.
The UVic Vikes lost on the road to the UBC Old Boy Ravens 26-25, with former Vike Ed Fairhurst converting the winning try with no time remaining. This week the Vikes (1-5) host Burnaby Lake (4-1) at Wallace Field, while neighbours Velox Valhallians visit Richmond in the Okanagan Spring Brewery League Tier 1. The Velox Valkryies (3-0) host Capilano (0-3) in the Women’s Adidas Premiership at 11:30 a.m.
The Valkyries drubbed SFU Rugby 79-0, and are tied at the top of the premiership with Burnaby Lake and United (Coquitlam/New Westminster).