The Velox Valkyries used a dominating first half to win the Gordon Harris trophy as B.C. Rugby Union premier women’s champions, defeating Burnaby Lake RFC 36-12 on Saturday (May 9).
It’s the Valkyries first premier women’s B.C. title since 2012 and it’s also the last time a Velox team played as a Saanich-based club as they’ll soon prepare for the next season from their new clubhouse in the lower park of the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre in Colwood.
“We came out strong and controlled large parts of the first half going into the break going up 29-7, but the second half was a different game,” said Valkryies head coach Rob Nichol.
Burnaby played to their strengths in the second frame, a power forward game that gave Velox fits in their end of the field,” Nichol said.
“Full credit to Burnaby, we were pressed and ended up getting penalized for repeated infringements, marginal offsides, entering the side of the ruck, a yellow card for a dangerous tackle, that kind of thing, and it led to Burnaby getting a penalized try.”
Despite being up 29-7, Velox was holding on until national team player Brittany Waters scored a late try to seal it for Velox.
“Even myself, I was feeling tense at one point and had to remind myself we were three scores up,” Nichol said. “You have to remember the game can turn in a matter of a few minutes.”
Scoring for Velox was Meaghan Howat with two tries, Waters with two and Amanda Thornborough with one Randi Hunter converted two tries, with Waters converting one as well.
The core of Valkyries included players from the team’s last championship, in 2012, including national player Barbara Mervin and provincial player Marlene Donaldson. Mervin, Waters and Thornborough filled Velox’s quota of three national players, making for tough decisions as the club has other national players in the program.
The future of premier women’s rugby is strong on the South Island as the Castaway Wanderers are in the process of creating a senior women’s team, though they’re yet unsure if it will be ready for September, or what level it will be at, said one of the key drivers for girls rugby in Greater Victoria, David Crossley.
CW has girls at the U14, U16 and U18 levels and the natural extension of that is to add a senior team, with the hopes it will become a premier team.
With the groundswell of youth rugby programs on the South Island and in B.C. the UVic Vikes are turning away players for their women’s program. CW is hoping to work out a deal to bring in some of those students to fill out their program, just as Velox has long benefited in the same way.
Nichol said the Velox women work closely with CW and are in support of bringing the team to life.
“It’s a good thing if we can get another team in town, we have players on our second tier team that could play premiership,” he said. “There will be no hard feelings if Velox players go to CW next year, the goal is to get as many girls playing as possible and have two strong women’s clubs in town.”
T-Birds top Vikes for Rounsefell Cup
The premier men’s Rounsefell Cup B.C. championship was an all-university contest with the UBC Thunderbirds defeating the UVic Vikes 52-22. Fergus Hall kicked 17 of the Vikes’ 22 points and Luke McCloskey (St. Michaels University School) scored the Vikes’ try.
Velox’s Div. 3 men, sometimes known as the ‘Threevers,’ played for the B.C. championship, falling 65-17 to Kelowna.
Claremont wins hIgh school sevens
The Claremont Spartans defeated the Reynolds Roadrunners 26-12 in the final of the Lower Island High School girls sevens rugby jamboree at Westhills Stadium on Friday. That ends the high school girls season.