ABBOTSFORD - Five tries in the opening half of Saturday's Ruth Hellerud-Brown Cup clash were enough to see the Fraser Valley senior women's representative side through to a 36-10 win over Vancouver Island.
Tanya Leigh (Bayside) and Alicia Guerin (United) each crossed over twice in the opening 40 minutes with Fraser Valley's fifth tally recorded by full back Emily Young (Kamloops).
Vancouver Island spent much of the opening half in their own end and were able to capitalize on their only scoring opportunity in the 27th minute when Arlene McGuff (Nanaimo) dotted down. At the break, Fraser Valley led 29-5.
"We knew coming into this game that [Fraser Valley] had some strong ball carriers and that this was going to be a very hard game," said Island coach Brad Skene. "[Exhibition Park] is a tough place to come play with the ferry and the added hour of travel. And to get here and play against a team that strong was really a challenge. But I thought we rebounded in the second half."
The second frame saw Emily Young break through for her second try of the day, intercepting and sprinting in from her own 22-metre line for the score. Shannon Craig kicked her third and final conversion to see the Valley up 36-5.
"We are super backs-heavy with lots of speed," said Fraser Valley coach Steph Murphy. "That's why our tight five was so gassed at the end of the game."
Despite missing their star player Lynzi Anderson who impressed in week one action, the Island Tide began to find their rhythm and string their phases together. Kelsey Oetting went over in the 57th minute and the Tide spent much of the final quarter pounding away at the Valley try line.
A pair of tries was all they could muster, however, as the Island Tide now wait for the outcome of Vancouver and Fraser Valley's clash on February 16th at Brockton Oval to determine who clinches the 2013 title. The quick series may be over for the Island, but their head coach was pleased with his team's progression over the last few weeks.
"It's been quite a few years since we've had this competition and I think it's important to have," said Skene. "We need to have stronger players competing and working together. It is a good thing for these players to compete at this level. We have a number of young players and it was great seeing them come together during the last month. It's a great group of athletes who play with strong hearts."
Round three of the Ruth Hellerud-Brown Cup will be played at Stanley Park's Brockton Oval. Vancouver (0-1) previously fell to Vancouver Island (1-1) by a score of 17-10 at Westhills Stadium in Victoria.
Ruth Hellerud-Brown Cup (Senior Women)
Fraser Valley 36, Vancouver Island 10
Valley Tries: '04 Tanya Leigh, '13 Alicia Guerin, '19 Emily Young, '30 Tanya Leigh, '39 Alicia Guerin, '52 Emily Young
Valley Conversions: Shannon Craig x3
Island Tries: '27 Arlene McGuff, '67 Kelsey Oetting