After two weeks off, the Cowichan Piggies opened the Cowichan Cup season by swatting down the Nanaimo Hornets 35-19 last Saturday afternoon.
"We were a bit undermanned, but we still got 15 good guys on the field and came away with a good victory," head coach Gord McGeachy said.
Admittedly, the Piggies stumbled out of the gate, but still managed to hold a 15-14 lead at halftime.
"We got off to a bit of a flat start," McGeachy allowed. "We weren’t playing our best rugby in the first half. We made a few too many mistakes and put ourselves under too much pressure."
Dan James, Jenner Teufel and David Cowie scored tries that went unconverted as the Piggies got out of the first half with a one-point edge.
Cowichan turned things around in the second half, getting a try from Peter Budina within the first 15 minutes, then
three more from Malcolm Sacht, new addition Dan Smith, and Cam Jervis. Nanaimo managed one more late try to make it 35-19.
One blemish on the Piggies was the fact that they went 0-for-8 in the kicking department, leaving 17 points on the field on seven missed conversions and one missed penalty as first Budina, then Teufel, tried to fill in for the team’s absent regular kickers.
"We should have at least got 10 of those points," McGeachy said. "Fortunately, it didn’t play a factor."
James and Gregor Grantham played strong in the forwards, and Smith, recently arrived from Saskatchewan, fit in comfortably with his new teammates, as did Mike Roberts, who returned to the Cowichan fold after a couple of years away.
Cowichan will head to Port Alberni this Saturday to play the Black Sheep.
Although the Piggies beat the Sheep handily earlier this year, the Sheep are always a handful for Cowichan on their home turf.