Without a doubt, the 2009-10 campaign will go down as the greatest in the history of the Abbotsford Rugby Football Club.
On the B.C. Rugby Union’s championship weekend, the ARFC got greedy, winning a trio of provincial titles at Vancouver’s Klahanie Park.
The local men’s sides got the party started on Saturday. Abbotsford’s Division 2 squad edged Kamloops 31-27, and the Div. 1 men followed with a 45-10 demolition of Langley.
The Abbotsford Div. 1 women’s squad capped the club’s wonderful weekend on Sunday, fending off a late charge from Simon Fraser University to claim a 32-22 win in the B.C. final.
“The feeling we had, especially when the girls won on Sunday, was that it was just an epic weekend for the club,” ARFC president Ryan McWhinney enthused. “To win three championships in one season is a first in the 38-year existence of our club. We’re pretty stoked.”
Abbotsford’s Division 1 men’s side was shorthanded heading into championship weekend. Scott Hunter, a former Canadian national team player, was out with a knee injury. Some Mosogau, one of the team’s top forwards, suffered a broken foot in the semifinal victory over Seattle, and up-and-coming star Kurtis Appeldoorn was in Russia with the national U20 squad, participating in the Junior World Trophy tournament.
Nevertheless, the Div. 1 squad still had enough resources to win handily. Dan Tou ignited the blowout, intercepting a pass and galloping 65 metres for a try. That gave Abby a 10-3 lead, and they didn’t look back.
Tou and Corey Sheremeto scored two tries each, while McWhinney and Konrad Rybkowski notched one apiece. Nick Thiessen added six converts and a penalty kick.
In the Div. 2 final, Chris Kleisinger, Chris Gilding and Shea Bourquin scored the Abby tries, while Gilding’s kicks accounted for 16 points.
In the women’s final, Abbotsford built a lead, but SFU rallied to close within five points in the waning minutes. But Amanda Robson’s late try in the corner sealed the title.
Megan Hamm led the Abbotsford attack with two tries, while Meagan Chambers, Kia McGhee and Hailey Borrows chipped in with one try apiece. Alicia Noger booted a convert to round out the scoring.
“Our ball control and game understanding was excellent,” Abby women’s coach Dave Chambers said. “We began to get tired, and we knew fitness was an issue for us. But the girls kept their heads.”
It’s been a particularly memorable season for the Abby men, as the Div. 1 and 2 sides combined to go a perfect 46-0 during the fall and spring seasons combined.
That success has the club eying a return to the Premier League, the province’s top men’s rugby circuit. Abbotsford spent the 2006 and 2007 campaigns in the Premier League, but struggled mightily. There’s a belief that a deeper player pool may now allow Abby to compete with the big boys.
“It’s definitely a goal of ours,” McWhinney said. “We want to be competing against the best in the province.”