Shawnigan’s girls rubgy team celebrates back-to-back provincial AAA championships after their 20-7 win over Carson Graham on Saturday afternoon. (Arden Gill/Shawnigan Lake School)

Shawnigan Lake girls repeat as provincial AAA rugby champs

Cowichan seventh in AAA, Brentwood fifth in AA

It wasn’t easy, but Shawnigan Lake School repeated as AAA girls rugby provincial champions, winning on their home turf on Saturday afternoon.

Shawnigan defeated Carson Graham 20-7 under a light rain, fending off an Eagles team that refused to quit against the defending champs, hosts and top seeds.

“There was a lot of pressure, especially as hosts,” Shawnigan head coach Shannon Atkins conceded. “We’re building a program.”

Shawnigan got off to an excellent start when forward Mikayla Brennan-McCann took the ball over in the corner just a minute into the match. Carson controlled play for the next 20 minutes, mostly deep in the Shawnigan end. The Eagles were rewarded for their efforts with a penalty try.

“They were prepared to gain it by the inch,” Atkins said. “So we were prepared for that kind of goal-line defence.”

The defence kept Shawnigan alive until late in the half when they finally broke out of the defensive zone and worked the ball to Emily Findlay, who scored to give her team a 10-7 lead that they carried into the break.

Gracie McAllister scored twice in the second half and Shawnigan managed to keep the Carson offence at bay until the final whistle.

“Every girl felt like they were part of that victory,” Atkins said. “The expectation was hard to deal with, but this team knew – if they performed at their best – they could do it.”

Entering as the No. 1 seed in the AAA division, Shawnigan defeated Earl Marriott 42-15 in the first round on Thursday, then grounded Gleneagle 42-5 in their semifinal on Friday.

Shawnigan will see 11 players graduate this year, including captain and Canadian international Maggie Banks, but Atkins and her fellow coaches, national XV captain Laura Russell and Dani Robb, are building for the future.

Cowichan Secondary also competed in the AAA division, placing seventh. The sixth-seeded Thunderbirds opened with a loss to third-seeded Yale in their opener on Thursday, then lost to Mount Boucherie on Friday before closing out with a victory over fifth-seeded W.J. Mouat on Saturday.

Brentwood College School finished fifth in the AA division, which they hosted at their Mill Bay campus.

“I think that’s a fair result,” Brentwood coach Marius Felix said. “We’re a Grade 10 and 11-heavy team, so that’s a good place to be.”

Another year of experience will be beneficial for the Brentwood girls.

“We have a lot of kids who work hard, work together,” Felix commented.

Brentwood lost a 19-15 heartbreaker to Abbotsford in their opener, keeping them from a top-four finish, but won their remaining games, beating Langley 45-22 and fending off Mark R. Isfeld 10-7 in a downpour in Saturday’s fifth-sixth game.

“It dumped on us the entire time,” Felix said. “It’s a great equalizer for either team. There were a lot of dropped balls, a lot of mistakes.”

Several players stepped up for Brentwood at provincials, but by and large, it was a team effort.

“Overall, it was just a really good effort on our kids’ part,” Felix said. “No complaints from me. They got as much out of themselves as they could. At the end of the day, it’s a young team, and they’ve got a pretty bright future.”

Felix won’t be part of that future, however, as he is retiring at the end of June and moving to Ottawa to be closer to his children and grandchildren.

“Being part of girls high school rugby has been a privilege,” he said, noting that the sport has grown “like mad” in B.C. since 1994, when the high school girls rugby association started with 14 teams, until this year, when 77 schools competed.

 

Brentwood head coach Marius Felix (second from right) gives his players some instruction at halftime of their second-round match against Langley on Friday. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Just Posted

OPINION: Pushing for the gold star might not give you what you think

Purusing the prefect GPA is no guarantee of success in life

UPDATE: RCMP use spike belts to end car chase — man in custody

The driver was arrested at the scene a short distance from his vehicle

Visitors and non-residents entering closed Hesquiaht territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

Tent Island closed due to neglect and abuse from campers

Illegal campfires common on Penelakut Tribe reserve land

‘Just being stupid’: Premier slams abusive customers at Langford restaurant

Restaurant said rude customers reduced its hosts to tears

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

COVID-19 tests come back negative for remote First Nation

“There are no suspected cases in the community at this time.”

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Acclaimed B.C. actor Brent Carver passes away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors with a career spanning 40 years, passed away at home in Cranbrook

B.C. would not send students back to school if there was ‘overwhelming risk’: Horgan

Plan has left many parents across the province worried about their children’s safety

Victoria mayor wants newspaper boxes removed from downtown streets

Mayor Lisa Helps says the boxes are not needed, often filled with garbage

City of Victoria expecting a 2020 deficit between $12.5 to $17.5 million

Victoria lost $1.2 million per month just from reduced parking fees during onset of pandemic

Victoria bells join cacophony marking 75th anniversary of Japanese bombings

Bells ring Aug. 6, 9 in remembrance of the victims of Nagasaki, Hiroshima

Most Read