Noah Dobson carries the ball into contact against Port Alberni last weekend, with Neil Barr providing support. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Noah Dobson carries the ball into contact against Port Alberni last weekend, with Neil Barr providing support. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Piggies shake off rust and beat Port Alberni

After a relatively long break, the Cowichan Piggies returned to their Herd Road rugby pitch last Saturday, and things went better than anticipated.

“We hadn’t played at home in over a month and we hadn’t played a game in two weeks,” coach Andrew Wright pointed out. “So I expected us to be rusty.”

Any rust was quickly shaken off, and the Piggies rolled to a 29-13 win over the visiting Port Alberni Black Sheep.

Cowichan opened the score with a try by Kieran Lauridsen about 10 minutes in, and Danny Hamstra added another try about five minutes after that, which Jenner Teufel converted. Alberni got a converted try late in the first half, and the Piggies carried a 12-7 lead into the break.

Alberni definitely held a size advantage. Wright estimated that 15-on-15, the Black Sheep outweighed his Piggies by somewhere between 500 and 700 pounds. That was especially significant in the forward ranks.

“They must have outweighed us in the pack by 300 or 400 pounds, and there was a lot of scrummaging,” Wright said. “But our technique and pack worked together well.”

The weather also suited Cowichan’s playing style better than it had when the teams last met in Port Alberni in October.

“The rain held off for the most part,” Wright noted. “So we could be expansive and use our back line and give the forwards a bit of a break.”

The forwards didn’t take the game off, of course. Veteran Louis Gudmundseth looked like a back, however, as he ran the ball down the sideline and into the corner to score Cowichan’s first try of the second half. The Piggies got into a bit of penalty trouble after that, and Alberni was able to slot a pair of kicks for six more points. Teufel answered back with a try off a driving maul that he also converted, and Cowichan fullback James Patterson weaved through the Alberni backs to score another.

“As soon as we got the ball to our backline against the Port Alberni backline, it was a beautiful sight to see,” Wright commented.

The Cowichan backs were more mobile than Alberni’s, but there was more to it than just that, the coach said.

“I think our skill level and the experience that our players have on their own and together helped us out,” he explained. “I think [the Alberni players] are all kinda new to each other.”

Cowichan and Alberni are now 1-1 in head-to-head games, and those matches could play a major factor in determining final placing.

“All these games against Port from now on are very important and crucial, and we keep getting better as the season goes on,” Wright said.

Wright added that his team was getting positive feedback from a lot spectators last weekend, including longtime club members who certainly know what they are talking about.

“It’s a good feeling to hear that,” he said. “You want to make the club members happy.”

The Piggies are now 4-0 in Times Cup competition, with bonus points in every game. They have two more Times Cup matches, against Westshore and Nanaimo, both after Christmas. Wright likes the thought of bringing the title back to Cowichan.

“We would love to have a trophy here. It’s probably been three years since we had the Times Cup in our clubhouse.”

The Piggies have two away games before Christmas: Third Division matches at Castaways this Saturday and Comox the week after that.



kevin.rothbauer@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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