Piggies forward Ty Smith pushes his way through the Bayside line during the second half of last Saturday’s provincial semifinal match. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Clock runs out on Piggies in close semifinal

Cowichan edged by Bayside 23-11

Although the Cowichan Piggies’ season came to an abrupt end on Saturday with a 23-18 loss to the Bayside Sharks in the provincial First Division men’s rugby semifinal, head coach Andrew Wright wasn’t going to let that change his perspective on the season as a whole.

“We’ve had a good season,” he said. “Obviously, from the start to the finish, it was night and day.

“We did pretty well, considering we had 16 guys in September. We ended up having a good bench, and we added some skilled players over the year.”

Along the way, the Piggies collected two Island championships — the Times Cup for all First Division sides and the Cowichan Cup for clubs that don’t field a premiership side — then beat United in the first round of the provincial playoffs before coming just a try short of advancing to the B.C. final.

Cowichan started off Saturday’s match with a penalty goal by Owen Wood. Bayside replied with a converted try 10 minutes later. Then, with a Bayside man in the sin bin, Danny Hamstra took a kick-through by Wood and fell over the line to put Cowichan up 8-7. The Sharks took advantage of a mental error by the Piggies and scored again, taking a 14-8 lead into halftime.

Bayside slotted a penalty goal early in the second half, but Cowichan replied with another from Wood. The Sharks kicked two more penalties to go up 23-11, but the Piggies managed to prevent them from taking the ball over the line during the last 40 minutes.

“The three penalties in the second half that they converted were their only scores,” Wright pointed out.

A penalty try got Cowichan within five points, but they ran out of time to close the gap.

“The clock got us,” Wright said. “We were pressing when the final whistle went. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.”

Being so close made the loss harder for the Piggies to take.

“When you lose to a better team, you can accept it,” Wright said. “When you lose to a team you don’t think is better than you, it’s hard to swallow.”

The Sharks brought plenty of skill and size over to the Island from South Surrey, but the Piggies felt they were at least on par with Bayside, and probably surprised their visitors.

“We feel we had their number,” Wright said. “Some clinical errors on our part gave them a few points.”

Vancouver Island coaching legend Gary Dukelow helped out at a few Cowichan training sessions this season, and introduced the team to the Japanese concept of kaizen — change for the better — which the team rallied around.

“We kind of have taken it on,” Wright said. “We speak about it before games or during training. Winning or losing, it’s kaizen. You can’t dwell on negative things; you’ve got to find the positive and make it work together.”

The Piggies remain a relatively young First Division team, with Saturday’s lineup averaging about 23 years of age. This was the second year of the club’s rebuild under Wright, so there is lots of reason to be optimistic about next year and beyond.

“We’ve always got that in our pocket, that we’re building here,” the coach said. “We are super excited for next year.”

Just Posted

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Cannabis shops still in limbo in Cowichan Valley

Future uncertain as marijuana becomes legal

DCS Chargers play to sixth at B.C. Christian soccer tourney

Coaches proud of team’s performance in Langley

Lorraine Nygaard, Louise Rose, and combo to shine at Crofton this Sunday

Jazz: smooth and soulful, is on the menu at Osborne Bay Pub

Junior bantam Cowichan Bulldogs play to tie with Southside

Peewee Bulldogs lose despite lots of great performances

Coming up in Cowichan: Pair of Mill Bay Marine Rescue Society fundraisers

Fall Fishing Derby will benefit Mill Bay Marine Search and Rescue Mill… Continue reading

Cowichan Coffee Time

Chain of Love and Lake to Lake Walk

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Most Read