Ty Benson chips the ball ahead during the Cowichan Piggies’ last home game of the 2018-19 season on April 6. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Ty Benson chips the ball ahead during the Cowichan Piggies’ last home game of the 2018-19 season on April 6. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Piggies wrap up First Div. season in Surrey

Lots of optimism from Cowichan club for next year

The Cowichan Piggies faced a tough test in their last First Division men’s rugby match of the 2018-19 season.

The Piggies travelled to the Mainland last Saturday to take on an exceptionally strong Surrey Beavers side that not only sat second in the division, but also defeated Cowichan 65-0 when the teams last met in October.

The club took a relatively strong squad over, in terms of numbers, and played a solid game in what ended as a 52-7 victory for the home side.

Cowichan coach Andrew Wright couldn’t help but be impressed with Surrey’s on-field chemistry.

“You can see they’ve been together for a while,” he said. “The way their plays link together, guys running off the ball; they know where they’re going and where their teammates are.

“We basically played defence the whole first half until the very end.”

Late in the first half, Cowichan forward Arthur Gray got the ball in the open field and used his size to get the ball over the line for a try. Surrey, however, had scored five tries before that, converting all of them, and led 35-7 at the break.

“The boys have heart,” Wright said. “They never gave up. We had moments of some really good rugby from the Piggies there. Everyone on the sidelines got into the game and made an impact.”

The Piggies allowed only three tries for a total of 17 points in the second half, and were unlucky not to score themselves, having the ball held up in the end zone twice.

Returning home “basically unscathed,” the Piggies were optimistic about carrying their improvement and resilience this year over to the next.

“The boys were in pretty good spirits about the season coming up in the fall,” Wright said.

The team will have a couple of opportunities to play in the offseason as they host a touring side from England on May 9, and another one in July.

“Those will be good experiences,” Wright said. “They’re always fun. Something to look forward to, a bit of fun rugby.”