Kickers cap perfect rugby season; host playoff tilt this Sunday

With a 54-12 weekend win over the Port Alberni Black Sheep, the Comox Valley Kickers men's rugby team cemented a 9-0 fall season.

NATHAN HOLLEY AND Shayne Stuchbery of the Kickers weren't feeling sheepish about tackling this Port Alberni player.

NATHAN HOLLEY AND Shayne Stuchbery of the Kickers weren't feeling sheepish about tackling this Port Alberni player.

 

 

 

Ian Kennedy

Contributor

With a 54-12 weekend win over the Port Alberni Black Sheep, the Comox Valley Kickers men’s rugby team cemented a 9-0 fall season that sees them sit alone atop the Vancouver Island Third Division.

The Kickers scored seven tries over the Sheep in Port Alberni through Konrad Nikkel, Eli Cummins, Ross McLean (2), Pieter Vorster, Jake Nessman and Troy Mader, with the referee also awarding a penalty try. Man of the Match Cummins kicked seven of the eight possible conversions. Port Alberni did make a game of it in the first half, scoring two tries and a conversion. However, the Kickers upped the pace in the second half to totally dominate play.

“It was an outstanding display and the team really made a commitment to tackle anything that moved,” said Cummins. “ It really makes the win, as well as the undefeated season, that much better.”

Coach Aaron L’Arrive, who has been joined this season by new assistant coach Frank Baulcomb offered: “We were able to maintain possession and when we didn’t have the ball, were able to create turnovers because of our consistent pressure. We also overpowered them and were more precise than they were in the set-pieces which resulted in us stealing a lot of ball. We ‘owned’ the line-outs. All in all, a great day at the office!”

The return of Konrad Nikkel from injury to take the playmaking fly-half role at #10 has provided the team with consistency and innovation, which has allowed Cummins more time to work his magic in the centre position where he has set up a plethora of tries for high- flying wing McLean. In the forwards, Andrew Hextall has been enjoying a superb season in the back-row where captain Tony Forth has also been playing well. Over the fall season the Kickers amassed a colossal 398 points and relinquished only 38.

The playoffs get are up next with the Kickers hosting fourth-place Nanaimo Hornets (7-3) at Cumberland’s Village Park at 1 p.m. this Sunday, Dec. 4. The Kickers blanked Nanaimo 21-0 when the two teams played in the Hub City earlier in the season. Velox and Cowichan meet in the other semifinal.

SIDELINES The Kickers invite all those interested in playing rugby to attend training sessions Thursday evenings at the club’s Fallen Alders facility on the Royston/Cumberland Road at 6.30 p.m. … the club gratefully acknowledges their sponsors: The Butcher’s Block, Central Rentals, Continual Palingenesis – Social Media Solutions, Investors Group, Mount Washington Alpine Resort, Wedler Engineering, Pilon Tools and Yummies & Gyros without whose support rugby would not continue to flourish in the Comox Valley … Vancouver Island Div. 3 and Senior Women standings in Scoreboard, page B17 …