A 15-10 semifinal loss to Kats Rugby Club last Saturday eliminated the Cowichan Piggies from the provincial Third Division playoffs, and ended the season for the club’s senior men’s program.
"It definitely wasn’t our best game," Cowichan head coach Gord McGeachy said. "It was a close game, but we got off to a bad start."
The Piggies were assessed a yellow card just two minutes in, forcing the team to play a man short for the next 10 minutes.
"We basically started the game a man down and never got our rhythm from there," McGeachy admitted.
Kats scored a try while the Piggies were short, and got off to a 7-0 lead. Mistakes and ball-handling errors, due both to wet conditions and poor decision-making, got Cowichan into trouble.
"We were under pressure for a large amount of the first half," McGeachy said. "We couldn’t get out of our own end."
Cam Hall got the Piggies on the scoreboard with a penalty goal, and Kats led 7-3 at halftime. Cowichan started to pick it up in the second half, but Kats managed to kick a penalty goal, then took advantage of a couple of missed tackles to score a try and go ahead 15-3. "That was probably more of an indication of the game than the final score," McGeachy said. "They dominated territory and possession."
The Piggies started putting things together in the last 20 minutes and earned a consolation try – credited to Jenner Teufel – to narrow the gap, but couldn’t close it before the final whistle blew.
The First Division Piggies saw their season end in the provincial quarterfinal a week earlier, but the club isn’t judging the season by the way things ended.
"Both teams played below their capabilities in the season-enders, but it was a learning experience for two young teams," McGeachy said. "It’s beneficial for us, playing in games where there is more at stake. We had a very young team on Saturday, and it showed a little bit. I think next year, we’ll be a bit wiser."