Story and photographs by Glenn Ivens (www.javalon.smugmug.com)The story couldn’t have played out any better if it had been written in Hollywood. The Velox Valkyries suffer a shocking last minute defeat in the Provincial Championship finals, come back the next season to go undefeated in regular season play, win the Semi-final decisively and meet up with last year’s Champion in the Final.
But this isn’t Hollywood, it’s the British Columbia Rugby Union’s Adidas Premiership Women’s Rugby Provincial Championship and the Velox Valkyries moved one step closer to hoisting the Harris Memorial Trophy on Saturday with a 36-8 victory over the Bayside Sharks.
Valkyries team captain Sarah Levson prepares to take game ball from Velox’s sacred totem prior to BCRU Adidas Premiership semi-final against Bayside Sharks. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
“We did exactly what we wanted to do as far as game plan” were the sentiments of head coach Aaron Frisby after the match and he couldn’t have said it better.
Both teams looked prepared to do battle at the opening kickoff and possession seesawed back and forth but it was the Valkyries that were able to capitalize when it counted with tries from Sarah Levson, Lynzi Anderson, Natalie Tam, Laura Crowe-Hutchon and a pair of converts from Amanda Campbell to stake a 24-0 lead at the half.
Natalie Tam eludes the Bayside defence during Saturday’s semi-final at Velox Field. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
Sarah Levson touches the ball down to open the scoring for the Velox Valkyries. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
Bayside finally got on the board when Sarah Gordon made a penalty kick to cut the lead to 24-3, but Velox added 2 more tries from Brittney Sims and Jesse Olynyk with another convert from Campbell to stake a 36-3 lead with only minutes to play.
Bayside’s Sarah Gordon would provide all 8 points for the Sharks in a 36-8 loss to the Velox Valkyries. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
Bayside’s Gordon did manage to score a late try off a penalty to the Valkyries to round out the scoring with Velox on top 36-8.
The victory and for that matter the entire season is a direct result of the Valkyries commitment to the team game.
Lynzi Anderson moves the ball from the ruck during Saturdays semi-final matchup with the Bayside Sharks. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
Valkyries’ Lynzi Anderson slides across the line for the try against the Bayside Sharks. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
“One of our strengths is we don’t rely on one or two players, the trys we are scoring are coming from a team effort” remarked Frisby.
The Championship final will be a rematch of last year after Burnaby Lake RFC got past United RFC 22-12 in the other Semi-final.
Amanda Campbell had 3 converts on the day to help the Velox Valkyries to a 36-8 victory in the Adidas Premiership Women’s Rugby semi-final agaisnt the Bayside Sharks. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
Laura Crowe-Hutchon continued her strong play for the Valkyries and was rewarded with a try. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
Valkyries captain Sarah Levson said the team will do its prep and work their fitness and be raring to go next weekend, “I think we got a little too cocky towards the end of the game last year and that’s what led to the demise. This year we are a lot more focused and serious about playing the full 80 minutes.”
Shannon Kane breaks through the tackle of the Bayside Sharks on Saturday. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
Sharks’ Sarah Gordon attempts to avoid the tackle Valkyries’ Naomi Ogawa during semi-final action on Saturday. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
In a bizarre twist it appears the BC Rugby Union has scheduled the Championship finals for both the Men’s and Women’s Premiership to be played in Vancouver despite the fact that James Bay Athletic Association and the Velox Valkyries are the top seeds in both divisions.
Best of luck to both teams as they vie for their Provincial Championships.