Jory in her rugby glory
Cowichan rugby star Samantha Jory is also a star in Las Vegas.
The News Leader Pictorial’s No. 12-ranked Cowichan Valley Youth Athlete of the Year in 2012 found a captive audience for her talents by upstaging the competition and helping the B.C. Banshees to win silver at the Las Vegas Invitational sevens rugby tournament.
Jory served as captain of the squad that included players from Surrey, Williams Lake, 150 Mile House, Abbotsford, Vancouver, North Vancouver and Langley.
The Banshees exhibited strong pool play with dominant wins over teams from Lowland, Utah; Glendale, Colorado; and Castle Rock, Colorado.
The first tough test for the team came against Saskatchewan’s Notre Dame Hounds, who used their speed and size to beat the Banshees 22-5.
The team’s 3-1 record was still good enough for second place in Pool A and a spot in the tournament’s semifinals.
The Banshees overcame a strong B.C. rep side in the semis to take a 10-5 decision. The B.C. reps had finished atop Pool B, also with a 3-1 record.
Unseasonable cold and a strong wind affected play. The Banshees rallied for the win with two tries in the second half.
The championship game was a rematch with the Hounds, who won the other semifinal over Bishop’s College of Quebec.
The Banshees clawed back from an early deficit to tie the game in the second half. Both sides had chances to win it in regulation, but disciplined defence resulted in the game going to overtime for a decision.
The Hounds shot through a small gap on the opening kickoff of overtime to score a try for a 15-10 sudden-death win.
“We looked forward to playing Notre Dame from our very first team practice last fall,’’ Jory said. “They are an excellent team and we knew we would have to bring everything we had to beat them. Although we fell a bit short, we couldn’t be happier with our performance.’’