Piggies play to a pair of draws

Ties are unusual enough in rugby, where there are so many different ways to collect points and where scores range from miniscule to massive depending on the day and the teams involved.

So it was especially unexpected when both of Cowichan’s senior men’s teams played to draws last Saturday.

The First Division Piggies tied the Velox Valhallians 17-17, while the Third Division team ended up even at 22-22 with the University of Victoria Saxons.

The Firsts entered the game four points back of league-leading Velox in the standings and hoping to gain ground. Although Cowichan dominated the game in terms of both territory and possession, they weren’t able to secure a win.

“I was pleased with how we played, but a little disappointed with the result,” head coach Gord McGeachy said. “We did more than enough to come away with the victory.”

The Piggies left five tries on the field, McGeachy estimated.

“We took probably too many penalties in the red zone and made too many mistakes, and it cost us,” he said.

Velox did all the damage on the scoreboard in the first half and carried a 7-0 lead. Five minutes after halftime, Louis Gudmundseth went in for a try, making it 7-5. With about 15 minutes left in the game, Peter Budina scored, and a conversion by Owen Wood made it 12-7 for Cowichan. With less than 10 minutes to play, a couple of defensive errors by the Piggies allowed Velox to score an unconverted try, and that was it for scoring.

“We had a couple of opportunities late to put it away, but we didn’t capitalize,” McGeachy said.

Just giving Velox a challenge, let alone having a chance to win, shows how much Cowichan has improved this year.

“For the first time in a couple of years, I thought we surprised Velox,” McGeachy said. “They’ve been the best team in the league for about three years, but we totally outplayed them.”

Beyond the players who scored points, the Piggies also got strong efforts from Pat Fraser and Ian Manly, who put pressure on Velox from the flanker position, and Andrew Gudmundseth, who had a good two-way game in the centres.

The Thirds didn’t know what to expect from the UVic team they tied with.

“We weren’t really sure what we were going to get,” McGeachy said. “We knew they were going to be fast and fit. We had a decent team, but not our best, but it was good to get a game in.”

The Firsts will be in action at home this Saturday against a winless Comox squad, kicking off at 1 p.m. The Thirds will host Castaway Wanderers at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Cowichan’s women’s team had their game against Meralomas cancelled last weekend because of the weather. They will play host to Delta’s Brit Lions at 11:30 a.m. this Saturday.

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