Cow High’s Cullen Plester fends off a defender during the T-Birds’ win over Vanier in the North Island final last Thursday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cow High takes North Island title with win over Vanier

Showdown with Belmont May 22 for provincials berth

After waking up from a slow start, the Cowichan Secondary Thunderbirds surged to a convincing 43-7 victory over G.P. Vanier in the North Island senior boys rugby final last Thursday, getting another step closer to the provincial championships.

It took Vanier less than five minutes to score the first try of the match after Cowichan conceded multiple penalties in a row.

“That seemed to wake the boys up,” Cowichan coach Tom Fogarty assessed. “The boys settled down and started putting the phases together and making better decisions with and without the ball.”

At one point, the T-Birds were able to string together 16 phases in a single possession, leading to a try. Their consistency and ball security paid off in multiple tries.

Among the highlights for Cowichan was a 20-metre maul from a lineout that resulted in a try by Man of the Match Dylan Taylor. Taylor also went on a 60-metre run that ended in an offload to Cullen Plester for a try on the wing.

Taylor and Plester finished the afternoon with two tries, while Clayton Bergstrom, Logan Kits and Brayden Doucette had one apiece, and Justin Marinier kicked four conversion. Lock forward Aydan Crawford-Starter didn’t crack the scoresheet, but still earned accolades from his coach.

“It was especially nice to see Grade 10s Cullen Plester and Clayton Bergstrom get on the scoreboard,” Fogarty noted. “They are definitely ones to watch for the future.”

During the boys match the senior girls game between Cow High and Shawnigan Lake School, a barbecue was held to raise money for the two T-Birds teams, with burgers and buns donated by the Duncan A&W.

The Cow High boys will next play a cross-zone playoff game against Belmont at Shawnigan on May 22. The winner will earn a berth in the provincial championships in Abbotsford on May 29-June 1.

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