Whoever said familiarity breeds contempt never witnessed the rivalry between the G.P. Vanier Towhees and Cowichan Thunderbirds girls’ rugby teams.
The two teams have a long history of meeting in the finals of tournaments and regional playdowns, and with each meeting the respect between them grows.
Their most recent encounter was the Vancouver Island AAA championship, May 10 at Brentwood College, where the Towhees prevailed 21-5. “I I believe it is eight consecutive Island finals between Cowichan and Vanier, with Cowichan holding the advantage as we had only won one previous Island championship two years ago,” said Towhees’ coach Dwayne Mills.
“The girls were excited to play the game as Island finals are always intense and a great challenge for both teams. We were finally healthy and all together while Cowichan was suffering from the loss of their captain Adrienne Saari, but they did not allow that be an excuse as the Brad Skene-coached squad was ready to play,” Mills said.
Vanier came out of the gate quick with some strong ball movement and scored a try in the first 10 minutes, but Cowichan came back strong and the match was extremely even throughout the rest of the game. “Cowichan had some great pushes on our try line but we were able to hold them off and get some fortunate bounces that helped us relieve the pressure they were exerting,” said Mills.
The Towhees did suffer from a number of technical errors as knock-ons and poor execution were issues throughout the game. “Luckily for us our best players were our best players as Madi Gold, Georgia Bellamy and Lauren Sargent all played well and Danelle Campbell did an outstanding job on the defensive end of things.”
Mills said Cowichan played their hearts out and made the game closer than the final score indicated, but the Island championship returned to Vanier’s hands with a 21-5 final. Tries were scored by Sargent, Gold and Dawson German, a Grade 10 playing in the high-pressure stand off position. German also added all three converts for 11 points on the day.
Both teams will move on to the BCHSGRA provincial championships, hosted May 22-24 by Port Alberni, with Vanier the #1 seed and Cowichan #3.