Cowichan’s Phoenix Skailes carries the ball into contact during last Saturday’s First Division women’s final at South Surrey Athletic Park. (Rick MacDonald/ZRoll Photos)

Cowichan’s Phoenix Skailes carries the ball into contact during last Saturday’s First Division women’s final at South Surrey Athletic Park. (Rick MacDonald/ZRoll Photos)

Cowichan Piggies play to second in First Division women’s rugby final

Burnaby Lake edges Cowichan by a single converted try

The Cowichan Piggies weren’t able to pull off a late push against Burnaby Lake in the teams’ second meeting of the First Division women’s rugby season.

A couple of late tries got Cowichan past Burnaby 50-39 when the teams met at Piggie Park in the regular-season finale on April 9. When the teams squared off again in the provincial championship match at South Surrey Athletic Park last Friday, the Piggies came up just short in a 41-34 loss.

“To say it was a game of two halves would be an understatement,” Cowichan head coach Marlene Donaldson said. “The game clearly highlighted the immense potential of our women’s program but also areas of improvement.”

Maya Addai led the Piggies with four tries, Kaitlyn Crichton scored two, and Lauryn Bons slotted two conversions.

All of Cowichan’s scoring came from backs, which Donaldson felt was indicative of the team’s direction this year.

“We have been quite a forward dominant team for the last few seasons, having to often play some of our best forwards in the backline to make up for our lack of backs,” she noted. “This season we were finally able to put some key figures in place in our backs that provided us with the attacking threats we needed to set us apart from our opposition. From veteran players like Carolyn Gudmundseth and Jenna Bugden to young talent like Kaitlyn Crichton and Maya Addai, our backline was becoming a real threat in the Div. 1 women’s league.”

The Piggies had to adapt quickly on Saturday, however, after they lost one of their main attacking weapons and Burnaby started to dominate possession.

“We struggled to compose ourselves on attack and maintain our connection on defence,” Donaldson observed. “We lost the attacking structure that we practiced repetitively and had succeeded in executing on several occasions throughout the season. It was painful to watch it unfold but an exciting battle for the spectators. Fortunately, our loss in the final does not take away from all the success and excellence we achieved both on and off the pitch this season. It will only make us hungrier to get it right next year.”

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Cowichan’s Nenagh McCulloch tackles a Burnaby Lake player during last Saturday’s First Division women’s final at South Surrey Athletic Park. (Rick MacDonald/ZRoll Photos)

Cowichan’s Nenagh McCulloch tackles a Burnaby Lake player during last Saturday’s First Division women’s final at South Surrey Athletic Park. (Rick MacDonald/ZRoll Photos)