Provincial championship returns to CRFC

A 34-12 win over Kamloops at Vancouver’s Brockton Oval last Saturday secured the provincial women’s First Division championship for the Cowichan Rugby Football Club.

Two years removed from their last appearance in the final – a victory over Nanaimo – Cowichan wrapped up a long season by winning the biggest game of the year.

"After such a long season, it’s so nice to cap it off with a big win," Cowichan captain Sherry Spence said. "We had so many games where we didn’t have enough players, but the players who were out gave it everything they had.

"There were players who helped us make it to the B.C. finals that were injured or unavailable to play, but they still deserve the recognition of being a part of the team. Even though it is just one big game, there are months of games that all made a difference. I couldn’t be more proud of all the people who wear the green and black."

Kamloops was the only team to beat Cowichan in league play, and Cowichan was eager for the rematch, knowing to expect another hard game.

"Kamloops had a very good team, and we knew not to take them lightly," Spence said. "When we played them they had some speedy players and were strong in the scrums, and we knew they were missing a few players. But after two weeks of prep with our full team, tweaking a couple things to help us defend again the strong Kamloops team, we felt prepared to play in the big game."

Kamloops booted the ball right to the Cowichan forwards on the opening kickoff, and with a clean catch, the battle began. The game went back and forth for the first 30 minutes, Kamloops getting on the board first with a converted try. Carolyn Gudmundseth responded with one of her trademark long runs to score, and Michelle Moore kicked the convert to knot things at 7-7. Kamloops added another try when their fullback broke through the line, but Cowichan was able to shut them down after that. Late in the half, Moore finished a big run of her own off with a try that she converted herself, and Cowichan had their first lead.

Veteran Jamaina McLeod was lost to an injury, but Stacey (Badger) Collison stepped in to take her place at fly-half, while flanker Laura Russell moved to the centres. Russell scored with three minutes left before halftime, and Gudmundseth added her second try 30 seconds before the whistle for a 24-12 halftime lead.

Their nerves finally calmed, the Cowichan players nonetheless knew they had to keep up the effort that led to their first-half success. Spence set the tone for the second half when, instead of catching scrum-half Tanja Ness’s high opening kick, she let a Kamloops player receive it, then delivered a crushing blow at the 10-metre line. Russell collected the ball, but lost it to Kamloops in a ruck. As Kamloops tried to kick the ball away, they knocked it on and Laura Nutt pounced on it to score.

Closing out the scoring was Brandi Van Eeuwen, who spent most of the game holding the scrum together.

"Brandi is such a calm, levelheaded player, very strong in the front row," Spence said. "Cowichan never lost any balls in the scrum, as a full eight and with Lauren Nutt hooking we were able to steal at least five balls, then Hannah Lauridsen coming in as a replacement and it was as strong as ever."

Kamloops found it all but impossible to get past centres Russell and Bristine Gibbons. The one time they came close to breaking through, Gudmundseth tackled the player and pulled her backwards to stop her from diving over the line.

The B.C. Rugby Union chose Gudmundseth as Player of the Game for her running and tackling, but the Cowichan players would have picked an unsung hero for the honour.

"Annie Zurrer had a stormer of a game," Spence said. "She was all over the pitch with her tackles and numerous amounts of runs, unfortunately unable to cross the line. In our minds Player of the Game for sure."

Just Posted

Cowichan Citizen and Lake Cowichan Gazette announce new publisher

David van Deventer has been with Black Press Media since 2014

Island Health is bringing a vaccination clinic to Lake Cowichan starting June 23. (Submitted)
COVID vaccine clinic coming to Lake Cowichan as area numbers lag

Clinic will operate at arena starting June 23

The Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society, which has been operating a treatment centre on land leased from the Nanoose First Nation for 35 years (pictured), has begun a fundraising campaign to open a new centre near Duncan. (Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society photo)
New Indigenous treatment centre to be built near Duncan

Centre will help survivors of residential schools

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says re-opening B.C.’s border to the U.S. ‘is not in our best interest’ right now. (B.C. Government photo)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry (B.C. Government photo)
B.C. records 113 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, four deaths

Vaccination of young people rising quickly, near 75 per cent

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S President Joe Biden shake hands during their meeting at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
Biden says meeting with Putin not a ‘kumbaya moment’

But U.S. president asserted Russian leader is interested in improved relations, averting a Cold War

Marine biologist Rick Harbo pulls a lid from the Ladysmith harbour, which he uses to monitor the presence of native and non-native species in the Ladysmith harbour. (Cole Schisler photo)
Unidentified sponge may be the latest marine species invading Island harbour

Marine biologist finding dozens of alien species in warm-water Ladysmith Harbour, none threatening

For more than a year, Rene Doyharcabal and a small group of neighbours in Langley’s Brookswood neighbourhood have been going out every evening to show support for first responders by honking horns and banging pots and drums. Now, a neighbour has filed a noise complaint. (Langley Advance Times file)
Noise complaint filed against nightly show of support for health care workers in B.C. city

Langley Township contacted group to advise of complaint, but no immediate action is expected

Most Read