Kickers swat Hornets; host Velox this Sunday in rugby championship

The Comox Valley Kickers scored seven tries Sunday in a convincing 35-8 win over the Nanaimo Hornets at Cumberland Village Park

KICKERS' TEAM CAPTAIN Tony Forth scampers through a Hornets' nest of would-be tacklers during semifinal playoff tilt.

KICKERS' TEAM CAPTAIN Tony Forth scampers through a Hornets' nest of would-be tacklers during semifinal playoff tilt.







Ian Kennedy


The Comox Valley Kickers scored seven tries Sunday in a convincing 35-8 win over the Nanaimo Hornets at Cumberland Village Park to secure a berth in this Sunday’s Vancouver Island Third Division men’s rugby championship final against the Velox Valhallians.

Played in brilliant weather in front of the biggest crowd of the season, the Kickers jumped out of the starting blocks right at the opening whistle and before long dynamic centre Steve Hextall crossed for his 10th try of the season. The Kickers kept the foot to the floor, with the forwards efficiently recycling ball at rucks and mauls and feeding their fleet-footed backline.

This crispness of play saw wing Troy Mader score twice within a short time, after which Nanaimo garnered a penalty in one of its few forays into Kicker territory. Hextall’s second of the game gave the Kickers a comfortable 20-3 lead at the half.

After the break the Kickers found difficulty maintaining their first-half form.  Handling errors disrupted backline plays and the forwards weren’t so efficient at the break-downs. To their credit the Hornets began to make a game of it, forcing the Kickers to put in a couple of determined goal-line stands to keep the visitors from crossing their line. Eventually, continuous pressure saw Hornets’ Jamie Kerr score wide out after a series of penalties against the home side to make it 20-8.

Following this lull, the Kickers finally began to find the form they had enjoyed in the first-half. Second-row Jeremy Grootendorst, a former Scribes club player from Vancouver, romped over for a score. “I moved to the Valley two years ago and now that I am settled I decided to take up rugby again,” says Grootendorst. “I’m very happy I did. The Kickers are a great bunch and playing rugby is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.”

Veterans Shayne Stuchbery and club president Andy Eaton finished the scoring when they added late tries to round out the 35-8 win. “I was able to take advantage of Jeremy’s hard work. Overall it was a solid team effort,” concluded Eaton.

The Kickers’ victory owed much to the swiftness and guile of its backline and to the experience and rugby nouse of its forwards. All of the back-row players – Nathan Holley, Jake Nessman, captain Tony Forth and Brad Hannah – dominated the break-downs, stealing ball and making some fine runs. Nessman earned Man of the Match honours along with fullback Ross McLean, who put in his usual solid performance.

Happy with the win, the Kickers’ coaching staff of Aaron L’Arrive and Frank Baulcomb offered: “During the first 40 minutes we were disciplined and stuck to our game plan, capitalizing on our possession. The Hornets played progressively better as the game wore on and sometimes we all weren’t on the same page and didn’t match our first-half performance. Handling errors forced us to play defensively for too long.”

In Sunday’s other semifinal, Velox defeated Cowichan by an almost identical score, 38-5, setting up what should be an intriguing final this Sunday, Dec. 11, at 1 p.m. at Cumberland Village Park.















Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Courtenay man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Cole Moore’s sister sets up GoFundMe to help father looking after brother

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Nineteen people arrested, charges expected in Courtenay house raid

Investigators are continuing to comb through evidence seized

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo
Concerned citizens march in Courtenay in name of old-growth rainforests

The Comox Valley is one of the B.C. communities engaged in mobilization… Continue reading

LUSH Valley’s partnership with School District 71 this past year helped feed 200 students and families through the Good Food Box program. Screenshot, LUSH Valley/Comox Valley Schools video
LUSH Valley-Comox Valley School Good Food Boxes fed 200 families in 2020

Non-profit organization is looking for new ways to collaborate with school district

Dr. Sandra Allison and Dr. Charmaine Enns joined school district senior staff for a virtual town hall meeting to address the latest COVID concerns in schools. Image, screenshot
No secondary cases in Comox Valley schools, say health officers

School district hosts virtual town hall to address recent COVID-19 cases in schools

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The CVRD building in Courtenay.
Comox Valley organizations in need receive funding

The Comox Valley Regional Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has approved $55,000 in… Continue reading

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

A virtual public hearing for a rezoning application for a Comox property was held on March 3. Black Press file photo
No comments at public hearing for Anderton Road rezoning application

The virtual public hearing was held on March 3 for the Comox properties

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Most Read