T-Birds, Breakers shake off rust

The Thunderbirds defeated the Breakers 93-0 in an exhibition match at the Cow High field last Friday.

Cowichan’s Emily Nickerson tries to break through the Kelsey line.

In the first meeting of the season between provincial powerhouse Cowichan Secondary and the newly formed Frances Kelsey senior girls rugby team, the Thunderbirds defeated the Breakers 93-0 in an exhibition match at the Cow High field last Friday.

It was the first game back for the T-Birds after spring break, so the team was eager to get back into action.

“The length of spring break makes organizing our season difficult,” coach Brad Skene said. “The seniors haven’t played in over three weeks, so we wanted to have a strong outing to shake off the rust and prepare for the main portion of our season.”

Emily Lindsay scored three tries, Brigitte Reid, Lauren Rivera and Megan Lewis had two each, and Kendall Raymond-Stevens, Marlee Wright, Syan Johnson, Brianna Margerison, Emily Nickerson and Drew Hobday added one apiece. Lindsay also kicked six conversions and Amy Oakes slotted three.

“I was impressed with the tenacity and organization that we carried through the game,” Skene said. “We made some adjustments to our lineup in the middle portion of the game and we struggled to find flow in our communication and ball movement but for most of the game I was pleased with our urgency, structure and passing.

“To have 11 different players on the scoresheet shows a great deal of unselfish play and the ability to move the ball to players in open space. We are still a team under construction but our hard work and attention to detail is paying off.”

Despite the score, Skene liked what he saw from the Breakers.

“I was impressed with the attitude of the Kelsey players,” he said. “They are a new program but they showed a great deal of heart and positive attitude. Several times I backed our players to find a seam or outrun the defence in open space, only to have them cut down by Kelsey tacklers. Their defence continued to get better throughout the game. They will be a much better team after a full season under their belt.”

Kelsey head coach Ian Murray admitted it wasn’t an easy outing, but was still encouraged.

“We certainly took it on the chin,” he said. “We came up against a very athletic and well-drilled squad. Coach Skene has built a great program that would be the envy of any school sports team. To summarize Kelsey’s participation in the game would be to call it tackling practice.”

The Breakers are hoping to get the program off to a good start, following in the footsteps of the Kelsey boys team, which reached provincials not long after rejuvenating the team.

“Our goals for the season are to learn the laws of the game, to show an improvement every week, to have fun and enjoy being in a team atmosphere,” Murray said. “And last but not least, fitness, fitness, fitness.”


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