The Cowichan Rugby Football Club prepared for its big tripleheader this coming weekend with a pair of victories on home turf last weekend.
While the First Division men had their tilt with Comox cancelled last Saturday, the First Division women beat the Brit Lions earlier that day, and the Third Division men collected a win over Castaway Wanderers on Sunday.
For the senior women, it was the first game of the season. Brandi Van Eeuwen led the way with three tries in the rainy weather, while Carolyn Gudmundseth scored two and Michelle Moore kicked a pair of conversions in a 29-10 victory.
"It was a wet first game back," captain Sherry Spence commented. "Very sloppy ball, which made for a slow game."
Stacey Collison stepped up to fill in for fly half Jamaina McLeod and had a great game despite the conditions.
"All the ladies played hard and put into play what we have been practicing over the past few months," Spence said.
The Brit Lions felt that the referee wasn’t controlling the game and that the Cowichan players were too rough, so the game was called 15 minutes into the second half.
On Sunday, the Third Division men loaned five players to Castaways in order to have 15 a side, and still rolled to a 46-17 win.
"The team played very well, even with the changes and having a few of our good players playing against them," coach Gord McGeachy said.
Will Wheaton and George Bantin played solid games in the backs, while Kim Anderton and Darren Olsen were their usual strong selves in the forwards.
All three Cowichan senior teams will be in action this Saturday. The women’s team will face Nanaimo at 11:30 a.m., followed by the Thirds taking on Vancouver Island University at 1 p.m., and the Firsts meeting Nanaimo in a hugely important match at 2:30 p.m. The 1 p.m. game will be the first XV test ever for VIU’s new program.
"It will be an interesting match," McGeachy said. "We don’t know much about them, and they have never played a full game together."
For the Firsts, the game against Nanaimo counts for double points in the standings, where Cowichan is tied for first with Velox and Nanaimo is just one point back. Saturday’s game will go far in determining the top two teams in the league and who gets home-field advantage in the playoffs.
"We will need to control things and play a faster game," McGeachy said. "They’re a bigger, older team, so we need to stretch them on the outside and play with speed and width."