Vancouver, BC – April 29, 2019: The BC High School Girls’ Rugby Sevens Provincial Championships concluded on Friday at Klahanie Park on Vancouver’s North Shore, with nearly thirty teams from schools across the Province vying for the Junior and Senior Titles. After two days of thrilling competitions, Earl Marriott won the Senior Division while Esquimalt won the Junior Division.
This was only the second year that the tournament has hosted a Junior Division, driven by the staggering growth of rugby in the lower age-grades across BC. The division grew by 50% in its second year, hosting a total of 12 teams. Not only was the number of competing schools up year on year, but the increased level of play on the field was noted by many in attendance. The introduction of the division has resulted in a number of schools seeing a marked increase in interest levels from their pupils. With teams from the likes of Houston, Kootenays and North Island all travelling for the tournament, it is clear that the popularity of High School girls rugby is truly Province-wide.
Tournament director, Darcy Patterson, was full of enthusiasm when reflecting on the event. “It was amazing to see the diversity of teams in the tournament, as well as the growth of the Junior Division. The quality of play shown by those younger teams was outstanding. Isfeld surprised the tournament with their tenacity and level of play for their first year at the competition. Yale has some standout young players who have gained entry into the game and experience through the middle school league and the successful club program in Abbotsford. Esquimalt was great all tournament but really fired on all cylinders in the final. Delaney Woods and Caelyn Huebner showed speed, smarts and desire leading their team to success throughout the tournament.”
Junior Division winners Esquimalt were in unstoppable form at this year’s competition, clocking up 169 points in five games and conceding just 24 in total. Their final against Yale was an exciting encounter, the Abbotsford school more than justifying their place in the final and making their opponents work hard right to the final whistle. Isfeld showed they are a force to be reckoned with, taking the third place shield with an emphatic win over a spirited Kootenay team.
In the Senior Division, there was plenty of flair and craft from the 16 competing schools. In one of the standout matches of the competition, NorKam Secondary pulled off an impressive victory over Shawnigan Lake School, finalists from 2018, in a neck and neck semi-final. With the scores locked at 17-17, the game went into overtime with both sides battling hard. NorKam worked hard to retain possession and build from their own half before striking down the touchline. A heroic tackle from Shawnigan just meters from the try line looked to have saved them but NorKam had runners in support to take the offload and dive over the line to secure the win and send the school into it’s first Provincial Final in Rugby Sevens. There they would meat Earl Marriott, winners of the other semi-final despite a valiant performance from Mission Secondary.
Shawnigan and Mission played a thoroughly entertaining Bronze medal match, neither side able to gain the upper hand for long and despite several attacking forays. Just as the game looked destined to head to overtime, Shawnigan made a break from their own half and after a few phases and a deft step on the far touchline, they had broken through Mission’s defensive line and sprinted in for a try that would secure them third place. In the Senior Division Final, Earl Marriott took a commanding 17-0 lead in the first half despite hard work and bog tackles from NorKam. The Kamloops team stepped up a gear in the second half, hampering the Earl Marriot attack and unfortunate not to get on the scoreboard themselves. In the end, the game finished 22-0 to Earl Marriott, a scoreline that didn’t do justice to the effort put in by NorKam and the entertainment both sides provided to the vocal crowd of spectators.
“This is exciting for the future of girls rugby in BC,” commented Darcy Patterson. “Having this sort of atmosphere, coupled with great competition in matches right the way through the event, it is a real testament to the hard work from the schools, coaches and players involved in the BC Girls’ High School Rugby Association (BCHSGRA).”
A big thank you is due to the referee team who helped to facilitate all the matches across the tournament, as well as the volunteers and parents who contributed time to support their teams. Many thanks also go to Capilano RFC for providing such a fantastic venue and helping make the tournament run so smoothly.
Focus now shifts from Sevens to XVs, with the BC High School Girls’ Rugby XVs Provincial Championships co-hosted by Shawnigan Lake School and Brentwood College on May 23-25th, 2019. Stay tuned for more news on this tournament in the coming weeks.
Live Stream – Relive the action from Day 2 (Field 1)