Both senior men’s teams from the Cowichan Rugby Football Club will host their respective Island finals following big victories last Saturday.
The First Division Piggies beat the Port Alberni Black Sheep 29-21 on Saturday to vault into the Island final, while the Third Division Piggies downed Velox 34-12 to secure top spot in their league. Both teams will host Velox sides in the Island finals on April 26.
"That will be a big day for the club," head coach Gord McGeachy said. "We’re really looking forward to it. It’s been a while since we had a couple of really important games."
Boosted by the dry, sunny weather, the First Division Piggies finally got to play their style of game. Owen Wood scored a try on the first sequence of the game, and Peter Budina added a try just minutes later, which Wood converted.
Pat Fraser scored his first of the game midway through the half, which Wood also converted, and George Bantin went over for an unconverted try just before halftime.
Fraser’s second try of the game came early in the second half. The Piggies had a couple more chances to score in the first 20 minutes of the second half, but had tries called back on suspect forward passes.
With a 29-0 lead, the Piggies got a little complacent in the latter part of the second half, McGeachy said.
"The hot weather took a toll on the energy level and the guys eased off," he said. "They figured they had it in the bag, but there was a lot of work to be done."
Alberni scored three times in a 10-minute span to cut into Cowichan’s lead significantly. McGeachy said he wasn’t concerned, but would have been if Alberni scored again.
"They still had to score two more [to get ahead], but the fourth would have made it worrisome," he admitted.
The Piggies lost centre Andrew Gudmundseth to a broken hand on the first play of the game, but Will Wheaton stepped in admirably despite having just played the entire Third Division game.
Wheaton kicked two conversions for the Thirds, who got tries from Rogi Young, Sean Williams, Bruce Moss, Pat Large and Andrew Wright.
The Thirds already knew they’d be facing Velox in the final, but Saturday’s match guaranteed Cowichan home-pitch advantage.
With two weeks between matches, the Piggies will be able to rest up before the Island finals.
"We’ll heal up and hopefully be ready to come roaring out of the games when we host them," McGeachy said.