Piggies thrive in Port Alberni mud

Cowichan Firsts open season with a win

The Cowichan Piggies were hoping to get away from the hometown rains last weekend when they travelled to Port Alberni for the First Division rugby season-opener against the Black Sheep.

The team’s hopes were high right up until game time.

“It looked OK going over the Hump,” head coach Andrew Wright said. “But as soon as the match started, it started raining for 80 minutes.”

The conditions didn’t prevent the Piggies from achieving success as they played to a 36-22 win over the home team.

Robbie McDonnell opened the scoring seven minutes into the match, and Cowichan was up 21-0 by the 20-minute mark on tries by Danny Hamstra and Bruce Moss and conversions by Owen Wood.

The Piggies went into a bit of a lull after that, and Alberni got back into the game with two tries and one conversion to cut the lead to nine points. Louis Gudmundseth scored to finish off the half, and Cowichan took a 26-12 lead into the break.

Alberni fared better in the second half, and scored a try and a penalty in the next 20 minutes to get within four points.

“We were doing some silly things and not playing rugby,” Wright acknowledged. “We found our footing and ended up taking control.”

Moss and Robin Gusse added tries in the latter part of the second half as the Piggies rolled away with the victory to start the season on the right foot.

“It was a completely different atmosphere from the first game of the season last year,” Wright said. “The boys came out to play; we had a few guys on the bench.”

The Piggies will be on the road again this weekend to face Bayside in Surrey before playing Comox in their home opener on Sept. 28. Wright doesn’t mind a travel-heavy schedule to start the year if it means staying at home more later on.

“That’s a couple of road trips,” he said. “Knock these off, that will mean a few less road games in the spring.”

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