T-Birds win latest chapter of Cowichan-Carson rivalry

Cowichan Secondary’s senior girls rugby team earned a massive victory over a long-standing rival last Friday as they thumped Carson Graham 48-7. Having graduated several players from the team Cowichan edged in last spring’s AAA provincial final, Carson isn’t quite the same squad, but that didn’t lessen the value of the victory for the Thunderbirds.

"I was really pleased with our preparation and attitude for this game," head coach Brad Skene said. "Even a game against a younger, less experienced Carson team is still part of the traditional rivalry."

Cowichan got off to a great start, controlling play for most of the first half and holding off the Carson offence. It wasn’t until the last play of the game that Carson was finally able to get on the scoresheet.

"The players are showing an understanding of the game plan that we are trying to develop and I was impressed with how well our team leaders organized our offence and defence," Skene said.

Eight different players had tries for the T-Birds, displaying Cowichan’s depth. Adrienne Saari, Mariah Fontana, Darien Hobday, Sara Lowes, Haeley Lowe, Jessica Pederson, Emily Lindsay and Hannah Morten all scored, and Fontana kicked four conversions.

"It is fantastic to see a scoresheet that has eight different try scores and an even distribution of forwards and backs," Skene said. "It means that we have a balanced attack and are being positive in different ways of attacking."

The T-Birds’ sevens team went on to finish second in the Island championship in Victoria last Sunday, falling just short of defending their title from last season.

Cowichan won their first two games of the sevens tournament, defeating Stelly’s 31-7 and Brentwood 26-7. G.P. Vanier took the semifinal 17-0. Lindsay and Denise Roy each scored twice against Stelly’s and Shania Pronk had one try. Lowes led the way against Brentwood with two tries, while Darien Hobday and Brigitte Reid had one each.

"With our sevens team, we have a mixture of youth and experience," Skene said. "In the past we have been able to field a very experienced sevens team but this spring, we need to develop an understanding of the game. I was really pleased with the first two games of the day. The players seemed to be understanding the game plan and were executing.

"I was disappointed with our efforts in the semifinal. Vanier was very keen and excited. We couldn’t match their energy and allowed three tries in the second half. I had hoped that this game would be the one that solidified our understanding of sevens."

Cowichan will still have a chance to defend their provincial sevens title, qualifying for that tournament along with Shawnigan Lake School, Vanier and Stelly’s.