The Comox Valley/Campbell River Kickers U18 men’s rugby team defeated Oak Bay Castaway-Wanderers 31-29 to win the British Columbia Rugby Union Provincial championship Sunday (Nov. 24) at Oak Bay’s Windsor Park Field.
The game featured the two best junior rugby teams on the Island, and as there was no U18 league on the Lower Mainland this year, the game was for both the Island and Provincial titles – allowing the Kickers to bring home two trophies on the day.
The game did not start the way that the visiting team had hoped as they gave up two tries in the first 10 minutes of play and found themselves behind 12-0. The Kickers fought back and narrowed the gap to 17-12 at the half-time whistle. The Kickers’ game plan was to use their superior size and wear down the smaller, yet very skilled Castaways team.
“Our plan was to eventually wear them down and then capitalize with our bigger players controlling the ball and game,” said head coach Darren Munro, who was assisted by Jim Ebert. “The lads did an excellent job of sticking to the game plan and executing what we as coaches had set out for them.”
The plan was working as the score was tied at 24-24 with about 10 minutes to go and the Campbell River/Comox players controlling the ball and moving down the field. Even the best laid plans can go awry, however, and the ball squirted out the side of a ruck and the Castaways were away and running. The players defended valiantly but the Castaways scored to take a 29 -24 lead.
“It seemed that the supporters and coaches were more nervous than the players were, because when the boys came to centre to kick they had a very determined look on their faces as if to say ‘Nobody is going to stop us now,’” added Munro.
With less than seven minutes to go the boys started their march down the field and after four solid minutes of controlling the ball Trevor Caton broke through the line and was heading to the try line when he was run down by a Castaways player. Caton was able to offload the ball to Foster Dewitt who scored the try to tie the score at 29, with the convert to come.
In rugby the convert is attempted straight out from where the ball is placed down in the try zone, or “in-goal area.” The convert was placed 10 metres in from the sideline and about 25 metres out, making it a very difficult kick. Caton stood over the ball and as soon as he struck it he knew it was good. “I had been having some difficulties kicking the past couple of weeks but as soon as it left my foot I knew it was good,” says Caton. This put the Kickers up 31-29 with three minutes to go. “That last three minutes was the longest of my life,” says Munro. When the final whistle went the local lads were very excited to be Island and Provincial champions. Strong games were played by all the boys but standouts included were Callum Passingham who scored two tries and Foster Dewitt and Jackson Locker with one each. The other try was scored by Jimmy Brazier.
The coaches would like to thank the parents and volunteers for their continued support of local junior rugby, but most importantly they thank the players for all their hard work and commitment. Anyone interested in becoming involved with rugby is encouraged to check out www.kickersrugby.ca.
– Comox Valley/Campbell River Kickers