Bays keep firm grasp on Island’s top rugby trophy

James Bay win Barnard Cup rugby championship over UVic Vikes

James Bay’s Hugo Belanger

James Bay’s Hugo Belanger

The old Bays still got it. And they won’t let go.

Led by a core of veterans, the James Bay Athletic Association won the Barnard Cup, Island men’s rugby championship against the host UVic Vikes on Saturday, 22-13, at Centennial Stadium.

It’s the fifth straight year the sagacious Bays and brazen young Vikes have met in the Barnard final, with the Vikes winning just once, in 2008.

Youngster J.T. Rowbotham scored two tries for the Bays, with longtime players Hugo Belanger and Dan Harlow scoring the other two. Former national player and Vikes graduate Jeff Williams kicked the Bays only try conversion.

Vikes kicker Patrick Kay cut the lead to 12-3 in the first half with a penalty goal, and converted a try by Vikes forward Brett Beukeboom to make it 17-10 at the half.

Kay later added a drop goal in the 66th minute to bring the Vikes within four, but that was as close as they came.

Rowbotham scored his second try in the 80th and final minute of the game.

• The Velox Valkyries are putting a mark of their own on the B.C. Rugby News trophy, initiated in 2008 for the Island’s top women’s club during fall competition.

The Valkyries won the cup in 2008, 2010 and this year (without a championship final), going undefeated (8-0) in the six team Island league. This winter and spring the Valkyries will compete against mainland teams in the women’s premier competition, having lost in the provincial final to Burnaby in 2010.

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