Edit – The first release of this article contained incorrect information on try scorers. This has now been amended.
Kelowna, BC – June 9, 2019: BC’s senior women’s sides impressed at the Best of the West tournament in Kelowna this past weekend, as both the Blue and Gold squads defeated their opponents, Alberta White and Alberta Black.
BC Blue had several chances to score in the opening minutes of their Friday match with Alberta White which were thwarted at the last moment by deflected offloads, but it wasn’t long before Macy Munson scored a penalty kick followed immediately by Kaitlyn Cumming dotting down for the first try of the match. Munson added two tries in the half as BC took a commanding 25-5 lead.
“It was one of those games where everything clicked,” said BC Blue head coach Dean Murten. “We played some high tempo rugby, which stemmed from the quality of ball we were producing at the breakdown.”
BC Blue played another strong half of rugby in the second, scoring six tries in the half as the game finished 62-10 for the hosts.
“Without the ball we showed a great attitude and commitment to stop Alberta scoring,” added Murten. “Alberta had several big ball carriers and applied a lot of pressure on our line at certain times of the game, but we stood strong for these phases.”
BC’s Gold side came flying out of the gate in their first match as Elissa Aralie struck first for BC against Alberta Black. Not long after, Sabrina Poulin scored two tries in two minutes to extend the lead to 15. Before 20 minutes had passed, Poulin had scored another two tries in two minutes for four on the day. By the halftime whistle, BC Gold had already scored 50, with further contributions from Sara Einarson, Gabby Senft, Elissa Aralie and the boot of Sya Trafford, allowing just a single try for the opposition. This stone wall defence tightened in the second half and prevented any further scores from Alberta, while BC Gold continued to explore their attacking options. Tries from Tyson Beukeboom, Amanda Thornborough and Paige Farries, along with another conversion from Trafford, added 17 points to take the match 67-5.
“We were really happy with our first half, we had excellent line speed and applied serious pressure on defence which allowed us to turn over the ball,” said BC Gold head coach Julien Canet. “Our attack from set piece and turn over ball was dynamic and we were able to play wide, expansive rugby.”
On the second day of action, BC Blue took on Alberta Black. Alberta scored the opening try of the game just 5 minutes in, and seemed in control after half an hour as they took a 13-0 lead. BC Blue was able to claw back into the match with a late try and conversion to cut the Alberta lead to 6, and a quick try just before the whistle put BC Blue within one. The second half was all BC, as a quick try and conversion less than 3 minutes in gave the BC Blue side their first lead of the game. The two squads traded tries back and forth, but BC Blue held the lead after 40 minutes to win 31-18.
“We went into the half 13 – 7 down. At half time the talk was around trust the process, being more direct and keeping the Wolfpack under pressure,” said Murten. “Things eventually started to come in the second half of the game. The players worked extremely hard as the temperature started to rise.”
In the final match of the tournament, BC Gold took on Alberta White. Looking to exert the same dominance that they had shown in their first game, they quickly seized control of the fixture, going up 15-0 inside 25 minutes. Alberta pulled back 7 points before the end of the half, but BC Gold turned on the jets in the second half to score 48 unanswered points. Sabrina Poulin bagged another hat-trick of tries, and was joined on the scoresheet by Amanda Thornborough (2), Paige Farries (2), Ada Okonkwo, Ciara Malone and Renee Gonzalez, with eight conversions courtesy of Paula Simpson. BC Gold took the match by an impressive 63-7 scoreline.
Both Coaches would like to thank all of the players and staff for making the tournament such a success. Thanks also go to the support provided by the local rugby community in Kelowna, including the enthusiastic kids from CORE (Central Okanagan Rugby Enthusiasts).
The Best of the West will now switch attention to the Senior Men’s teams, with the BC Bears travelling to Red Deer (AB) to take on the Prairie Wolfpack on Friday, June 29. Tickets for adults start at just $10 and can be purchased via the Rugby Alberta website. BC fans will have the chance to provide raucous home support when the teams square off in the second leg on July 27 at Applebowl Stadium in Kelowna. Stay tuned for ticket and event announcements.
Photos from the Senior Women’s Best of the West matches are available online at bcrugby.pixieset.com.