After a one-year absence, Cowichan’s women’s rugby team is headed back to the B.C. final.
Cowichan thumped Ridge Meadows 32-0 in a semifinal game at home last week to reserve a berth in the provincial First Division championship game for the first time since winning it all in 2012.
Despite the wet conditions, Cowichan took control of the game right away, going up 22-0 in the first 15 minutes of the game. The players soon found themselves pinned in their own end. "We couldn’t get the ball out of our end and were playing defence for the majority of the last part of the first half," Cowichan captain Sherry Spence said. "But with the hard-hitting centres and big tackles from Carolyn Gudmundseth, Ridge Meadows were unable to make it over the line."
Cowichan made some substitutions at halftime, but the changes didn’t weaken the squad.
"All 27 players registered to our team have helped us make it to the finals, even if they were able to play or not," Spence said.
Gudmundseth finished the game with two tries, while Spence, Laura Russell, Michelle Moore and Bristine Gibbons also scored. Moore added to the total with a conversion.
Stacey Collison earned Player of the Game honours in the backs after playing most of the game in the centres until she took a cleat to the face and had to leave the pitch, bloodied. Russell, who started at flanker before filling in for Collison in the late stages, was named Forward of the Game in her first match back with Cowichan after suiting up for Canada in the Can-Am Cup series.
Cowichan, who defeated Nanaimo in their last trip to the provincial final in 2012, will face Kamloops this Saturday at Brockton Oval, kicking off at 1:10 p.m. Kamloops are the defending champions, having defeated Nanaimo last May.
The final will also be a rematch of Cowichan’s last regular-season game, a 32-5 loss to Kamloops, and the team will be looking for revenge.
"The energy at practice is very positive and high," Spence said. "Brockton Oval is a beautiful pitch and we are amped for the rematch versus Kamloops."
Collison was also looking forward to the final.
"The CRFC women are proud to be representing our club, town and the Island in another B.C. final," she said. "We’re going to be using teamwork, pride, and the love of the game to win. We plan on going out there to have fun."