Sports

Cowichan women hosting B.C. championship

In-your face rugby is played by Cowichan’s Cassy Stevens, who isn’t about to stop running for anything. - Don Bodger
In-your face rugby is played by Cowichan’s Cassy Stevens, who isn’t about to stop running for anything.
— image credit: Don Bodger

Cowichan Rugby Club’s First Division women Piggies decided there was no point spending a lot of time building up play toward a try.

Instead, they turned every opportunity inside the Abbotsford end into points during a 39-5 romp in the Big Kahuna Division One semifinals Saturday at the Herd Road Grounds.

Nanaimo beat Kamloops 27-15 in the other weekend semifinal. That means Cowichan will host Nanaimo Saturday at 1 p.m. at Herd Road in the provincial final.

Territorial play between Cowichan and Abbotsford was actually quite close.

“The score does not reflect how hard the game was,’’ noted Cowichan captain Sherry Spence.

But Cowichan excelled at finding holes with great ball movement to score quickly once it reached the Abbotsford end of the field.

“I think we were just more fit, to be honest with you,’’ said Cowichan’s Caity Genereaux, who scored two tries and nailed two converts with her ambipedal kicking.

“Their rucks and scrums are really strong,’’ said Genereaux. “But we were able to beat them out wide. I think it was an all-around game.’’

Cowichan’s lack of numbers during much of the season has actually turned out to be a benefit at this stage. The players are used to being on the field a lot without many subs available and can maintain a high pace throughout the game.

“A lot of it is we’ve been playing one or two players down,’’ said Genereaux. “I think that’s where our fitness has come from.’’

“It was a good team effort,’’ said Cowichan coach Lee Burridge. “We’re back healthy again with a full complement of players.’’

Burridge credited Jamaina MacLeod for being such a force with her tackling and prolific play at prop.

“She’s a good ball mover,’’ said Burridge. “It adds that dynamics in the front.’’

Janine Fong and Nenagh McCulloch also stepped up in their roles with phenomenal efforts. McCulloch was player of the game for the forwards for her huge runs and big tackles while jumping into the centres temporarily when Angie Davies went off for some medical attention after being bloodied.

The usual suspects who handle the scoring did their part.

Cassy Stevens was player of the game for the backs. She got the ball rolling with the first try of the game and added the third, simply refusing to go down when Abbotsford attempted some gang-tackling.

Carolyn Gudmundseth got into the act with the second try and Cowichan was off to the races, building a 17-0 lead before Abbotsford scored its lone points of the game just before halftime.

“The girls kept the ball fluid,’’ said Burridge. “They took the tackles and passed.’’

Players like Gudmundseth also maintained a commitment to defence. She made a try-saving tackle in the first half that took the wind out of Abbotsford’s sails.

Gudmundseth took her opponent down in the end zone and  the ball got held up.

That was one of many great tackles she made at fullback.

In the second half, Cowichan ran uncontested for tries after gaining possession.

Genereaux scored her two in rapid succession, the first on a great feed from Gudmundseth that put her in the clear.

Genereaux hit the post on the first conversion attempt from the left side with a right-footed kick.

Marika Posehn tallied the next try that Genereaux converted and Davies found an opening to round out the scoring.

Spence played another spectacular game in the trenches. All members of the team made a valuable contribution.

Cowichan will head into the B.C. final full of confidence, having just beaten Nanaimo 26-5 two weeks ago, and hopes to draw strength from an anticipated large crowd.

Cowichan’s Div. 3 men took it on the chin 62-8 during the province-wide Third Division quarterfinals against Kamloops on the weekend.

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