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Thunderbirds keeping busy

Three Cow High girls teams playing lots of rugby
Cowichan Secondary competes in the Island sevens tournament at Brentwood College last month. (Citizen file)

It has been another busy stretch for the Cowichan Secondary School girls rugby program, with the senior, junior and development teams all getting in a lot of action in the last two weeks of April.

“With the growth in players coming out for girls rugby at Cow High, we can field three teams,” Thunderbirds head coach Brad Skene said. “The program played close to every two or three days in April. The program has never had a season like this before.”

When Carihi bailed out of a game on April 19, the Cowichan junior played a hard-fought loss to an older and more physically ready Nanaimo District development side.

On April 21 and 22, the Thunderbirds sevens team finished fourth at the provincial championships, an outstanding result for the young squad. The T-Birds beat Yale 17-0, Duchess Park 53-0 and Handsworth 27-0 in pool play, then topped Abbotsford 24-5 in the quarterfinals. Cowichan lost to Belmont in the semifinals, then fell to Island champs Shawnigan Lake in the bronze-medal match.

With 16 players away to the provincial sevens, the rest of the squad played host to Raymond High School, a top team from southern Alberta.

“We put a lot of effort and energy into the game,” Skene said. “But we came up sort with a great deal of our more senior players away in Vancouver.”

On April 24, the Cowichan juniors paid a visit to Yale Secondary’s development team in Vancouver.

“Our Grad 8s and 9s were a little outgunned,” Skene said. “But they put forward a fantastic effort and improved against a more experienced team.”

The T-Birds development team had a better showing on April 26 when they defeated NDSS 43-10. Jenna Batty scored three tries, Melanie Robertson had two, and Birkley Anderson added one, while Kaitlyn Crichton kicked two conversions and Maddi Pirie had one.

Finally, on April 28, the Cowichan seniors lost a league game against Shawnigan 39-19. Lauren Rivera scored two tries, Mia Eagar had one, and Amy Oakes kicked two conversions.

“For most of this match it was a very tightly contest game,” Skene reported. “Shawnigan are well organized and very athletic. We did a lot of good work against them. I was proud of our effort and most of our performance but our mistakes were punished and we struggled to defend at the end of the game.”