Courtesy of the Abbotsford News
The Abbotsford Rugby Football Club’s female teams capped a fine fall season by winning a pair of championships.
Two weeks ago, the ARFC’s U18 women’s squad won the provincial title in their age class for the third straight year, knocking off Cowichan 29-12.
The following weekend, Abby’s senior women clinched the Lower Mainland Tier 2 championship, rallying to beat UBC-Okanagan 25-12 at Exhibition Park.
“The other team was well-organized and very athletic, and they put us under a lot of pressure early,” said senior women’s coach Dave Chambers, whose team was behind 12-5 at half.
“The players came up with some terrific defensive work and held them. There was a particular defensive stand late in the first half that could have changed the game (if UBC-Okanagan had scored).
“Then in the second half, they were outstanding.”
Natalie Teteris led the senior women with two tries, while Mackenzie Fowler, Meagan Chambers and Kate Estell had one apiece.
In the spring, the team will move up to Div. 1.
“This group of women, the top 15 players have the skill to play in the Premiership,” Chambers said. “But that division can be very attritional, and we don’t have a lot of depth. That’s not a comment on the players who don’t start, simply a comment on the overall numbers . . . We’re still working to try to get more people out.”
The U18 women got tries from Sidney Stoltz, Cassie Baldo, Lauren Kerr, Nakisa Levale and Gurpreet Dhaliwal in their win over Cowichan.
Head coach Jen Ross acknowledged that winning three straight B.C. titles is a terrific feat, but also bemoaned the quality of competition province-wide. Abbotsford is a rare hotbed of youth girls rugby, and the Cowichan game was one of the rare times Ross’s team was truly pushed all season.
“I wish that that kind of game was the norm for us,” Ross said. “People in my position . . . are trying to find avenues for these girls to train and play more.
“These girls are coming to me ready to play some good rugby, and it’s lovely when they’re able to put it all together.”
In other action, Abbotsford’s U15 boys team won the Lower Mainland final, beating Capilano 36-0. Anton Phonsavatdy paced Abby with four tries, while Callum McRae and Diego Zuniga notched one apiece and Jayden Ned had three converts.
The Abby U17 boys team lost in the provincial final, falling 49-7 to Capilano.
The ARFC’s men’s sides are also finished their fall schedules, and all three teams are around the middle of the table in their respective divisions. The Div. 1 and Div. 2 sides have matching 3-4 records, while the Div. 3 men are at 4-2.