BC Rugby newcomers Elk Valley RFC capped off an undefeated inaugural season on Sunday to lift the 2013 Saratoga Cup.
A team comprised of players from Fernie, Sparwood, Elkford and Crowsnest Past, the Kootenay Rugby Union champions defied their no.4 ranking to defeat no.1 Manthers 23-7 in the semifinals before going on to down no.2 Brit Lions in the Cup Final.
PROVINCIAL FINALS SCOREBOARD - SARATOGA CUP
Saturday, September 21st:
SEMIFINALS: no.1 Manthers 7 - 23 no.4 Elk Valley RFC
SEMIFINALS: no.2 Brit Lions 13 - 10 no.3 Williams Lake RFC
Sunday, September 22nd:
CONSOLATION FINAL Manthers 17 - 27 Williams Lake
FINAL Brit Lions 10 - 26 Elk Valley
Summary provided by Elk Valley's Daniel Parker:
It was a brilliant weekend and Pentiction were great hosts with a special mention to Rhonda Schappert whom made us feel very welcome all weekend. The Bulls have been building up to this weekend for two months and it was obvious from the training session on Friday night that we were ready.
The team was established six months ago so it was tough not knowing what to expect. All we could do was play our game and leave everything on the pitch and we did just that.
In the semis Manthers were a great team and with the half time score at 13-7 it could have gone either way. We got the first try after half time which swung the momentum, but Manthers did not give up until the final whistle.
When the team met in the morning you could tell we were ready to make history, but the Brit Lions have a long history of rugby and were looking very strong on Saturday. The “disappearance” of our mascot headgear (pair of elk antlers mounted to a hard hat) the previous night fired us up even more and we were determined to show you don’t mess with a Bulls antlers!
The Lions came out fighting and put us under pressure in our 22 straight away. The Bulls fought hard defensively and were finally able to clear the ball without giving away points. At that point we had the momentum and were able to break the deadlock with a set piece move in the backs that gave fullback Adam Walker some space. He had a lot of work to do from the half way, but stepped beautifully to score the first try of the match despite being chased down right to the line by the Lions winger.
The Bulls took further advantage in the first half with a great run from no.8 Chris Schliebs who had three support runners to choose from as he popped the ball up in the tackle. Mike was the one to take it and dived straight under the posts with Tom Baker converting. Half time gave the Lions time to regroup and they showed great determination from the whistle to go onto the score board with a try from their no. 12 who had been running strong lines all game.
The Bulls, determined to remain undefeated, pushed hard and scored two more converted tries. The first was from winger Dave Walker who was gunning to get over the line no matter what and thanks to a helping drive from Captain Pete Dudman, he did just that with Tom Baker adding the additional two points.
The last try for the Bulls came from Chris Schliebs who picked up a loose ball from the back of the scrum 10 metres out and was able to break a tackle before diving over the line. If you thought it was all over, it wasn’t. The Lions fought back literally to the last minute and had a great pushover try leaving the final score 26-10.
So the season closed for the Bulls as Provincial Champions and undefeated in our first ever season. The story could not have been scripted any better and was a dream just six short months ago.