BURNABY, BC - The BC Rugby Women’s Adidas Premiership semifinals wrapped up on Saturday afternoon with reigning provincial champions Burnaby Lake Rugby Club advancing to their fourth straight Gordon Harris Memorial Cup final against Island rivals Velox Valkyries. The six-time Cup champions Burnaby Lake defeated no.3 seed United 32-15 to advance to the title match while Velox narrowly escaped a battle with no.4 seed Capilano in a 27-26 decision.
Women's Adidas Premiership - Sat. May 3rd:
SEMIFINALS: United Rugby Club 15 - 32 Burnaby Lake Rugby Club
SEMIFINALS: Capilano 26 - 27 Velox Valkyries
Burnaby Lake 32, United 15
Burnaby stuck to their game plan on Saturday, starving United’s lethal back line of possession and dominating up front to record six tries.
“You have to give credit to our forwards,” said Burnaby Lake head coach Walt Brandl. “United’s strength is in their backs and they couldn’t get enough possession to make anything happen. Our girls were disciplined and we stuck to our game plan.”
Burnaby spent much of the opening 10 minutes forcing their way down the field and their pressure resulted in a pair of tries. Speedy winger Ciara Malone went over in the corner and then their forwards crashed through to see Carolyn McEwen dot down to score.
United centre Jenn Cousineau answered back with her first of three tries to close the gap to 5-10 at the half.
The second frame opened with three straight Burnaby scores. The first two were the result of Burnaby winning penalties and opting to scrum inside United’s 22. After forcing back United’s pack, Burnaby’s no.8 went for a run before Nancy Radman scored on the fringe of the ensuing ruck. Laura Harmse scored shortly after, when Burnaby nearly had a push over try before forcing their way over the line after a series of pick and go’s.
Burnaby’s pack held control for much of the match and won scrums with United’s feed on multiple occasions.
“It was an 80 minute battle, as always against Burnaby,” said United head coach Steph Murphy. “But it was tough today because even when we had the sets it wasn’t an advantage for us.”
Burnaby’s fifth try came courtesy of full back Emily Young, who found space and ran nearly half the field to dot down. Julia Sugawara’s conversion saw the hosts go up 27-10 with under 10 to play.
United answered back with a well worked team try capped off by Cousineau in the 33rd minute. Malone responded with a try for Burnaby in the corner and then it was Cousineau who tallied her third try in the final play of the game.
It was a disappointing result for United whose Division Two side had fallen 27-22 in the previous game to Meraloma.
“[Burnaby] had some really strong ball carrying from their tight five and we just couldn’t bring them down,” added Murphy. “But I’m proud of our club for fielding two teams and making it this far in their competitions.”
Burnaby will now move on to face perennial finalists Velox in the Gordon Harris Memorial Cup for the fourth straight year. Burnaby lifted the cup in 2011 and 2013, while Velox last won the provincial title in 2012. The 2014 championship final will be played at Klahanie Park in West Vancouver on May 10.
Burnaby Lake will be well represented in the premier finals with representation in the Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League Final (vs James Bay), the Ceili’s Cup First Division Final (vs UVic Norsemen) and the Women’s Adidas Premiership Final.
Finals day will feature nine provincial championships played at Klahanie Park and Vancouver’s Stanley Park. NOTE: Finals venues and kickoff times to be confirmed Monday, May 5 at 12:00pm. Final details to be posted on www.bcrugby.com