An historic win over Brentwood College and a close loss to Alberni District have Frances Kelsey Secondary’s senior boys rugby team off to an excellent start in the young season.
Tenth-grader Karl Mattison led Kelsey with four tries in their league opener just before spring break, a 29-15 win that marked Kelsey’s first victory over Brentwood in the school’s history.
"We were fully shocked to have won this game, but the boys have been working extremely hard in terms of making concerted effort to be more prepared this season, and I think it is beginning to pay off already," assistant coach Tom Fogarty said.
In addition to Mattison at No. 8, the Breakers also got an impressive performance from Jed Leech at outside centre. Kelsey returned to the pitch last Thursday with a 34-22 loss to Alberni. The young and fast Breakers, with no fewer than seven junior players suiting up, had their hands full with the big and powerful Alberni side in the early going, and the Armada jumped out to a 19-0 lead. The Kelsey players eventually found cracks in the armour, and Taylor Martin and Masaru Evans scored second-half tries to narrow the gap, but the game came to an end just as Kelsey was gaining momentum.
"I thought that we had a bad start, but I liked the way we kept battling away and eventually started to make some nice hits and expose their weaknesses towards the end," Fogarty said. "We simply ran out of time. That’s a very promising sign, and we will benefit tremendously from this game in terms of learning and developing our strengths and abilities as a squad."
Fogarty and head coach Craig Schmidt see things improving for the team from here.
"We have been very impressed with the commitment and determination that this team has displayed so far this season, and we are very excited to be working with such a great group of lads," he said. "I have to say that Craig has simply been amazing in terms of his dedication to coaching these young men in becoming solid rugby players, and we are very lucky as a school to have such a talented person helping to drive this program forward.
"At this stage I can only see the team getting stronger and more competitive as they get more experience under their belts."