from BCRU/photos by Glenn Ivens (www.javalon.smugmug.com)
2012 Harris Memorial Cup Final (Women’s Adidas Premiership) Preview
VANCOUVER (ISN) – Vancouver Island rugby powerhouse Velox Valkyries will travel to Klahanie Park in West Vancouver this Saturday looking to cap off a perfect season in the Women’s Adidas Premiership, British Columbia’s top level women’s club rugby competition.
Their clash with reigning provincial champions Burnaby Lake Rugby Club will be a rematch of last year’s Harris Memorial Cup title match where Burnaby scored a last minute intercept try to snatch the championship from Velox’s grasp.
Heading into the 2012 final, scheduled for 11:00am on May 12th, the Valkyries are a perfect 9-0. Velox snapped Burnaby’s undefeated record back on March 24th in a 26-8 decision, and the reigning champs wrapped up the regular season at 8-1.
“We wouldn’t want it any other way,” Velox head coach Aaron Frisby said heading into Saturday’s clash. “We want to prove ourselves against the best and maybe get a bit of pay pack for last season’s final.”
Since the 17-13 Cup Final loss last May, Velox ran rampant in both regional and provincial competition. The Valkyries went 9-0 to win the Vancouver Island Senior Women’s League this past Fall and have now played 18 straight games without a loss. Avergaing 44.4 points per game (ppg) the Valkyries led the league offensively in province wide competition and led the league defensively allowing just 5.56 ppg against.
“We obviously couldn’t have asked for a better season results-wise but of course the undefeated tag adds a bit more pressure to us going into the final,” Frisby added. “The key to our success is the fact that we are a complete team. We have no weaknesses in the squad and we don’t depend on one or two players to get us by.”
Jesse Olynyk and the Velox Valkyries will be looking for a little redemption in Saturday’s Harris Memorial Championship. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
Leading the league in try scoring was Velox forward Jesse Olynyk who ran in 14 tries to finish third in overall point totals this season.
“Jesse Olynyk and her crazy try scoring abilities has become a rock at the back of our scrum,” Frisby added. “Natalie Tam has become an amazing attacking weapon from scrum half and we’ve also been led by our captain Sarah Levson leading by example at 12.”
Looking to spoil the party for Velox are reigning champs Burnaby Lake who lifted the 2011 Harris Memorial Cup, won their second straight BC Sevens Series title last Summer and went on to win the 2011 Fall Lower Mainland Women’s Tier One competition. Burnaby ranked second only to Velox in offence, averaging 39.6 ppg and just 7.56 ppg against. Canadian international Julia Sugawara finished second in overall scoring with 81 points to her credit.
Natalie Tam has been a driving force for the Valkyries all season. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
“They are an undefeated team that has lost to us in provincial finals and it will be hard to match Velox’s motivation,” said Burnaby Lake head coach Walter Brandl. “Both teams run the ball well and that part of the game may even have to wait until the introductions are complete up front. The hardest working people on Saturday may be the trainers for both teams.”
Leading the charge for Burnaby will be Julia Sugawara and Laura Harmse, two inspirational leaders in the squad.
“Julia and Laura comprise the Yin-and-Yang of our team. Julia is so calm under pressure that it is sometimes infuriating,” Brandl added. “Laura has lifted her game and turned back the hands of time ten years. Her speed is as good as it ever was and her level of aggression has always been top notch.”
The emergence of Devon Luca distributing the ball at scrum half as also been crucial in Burnaby’s campaign this season.
“I think [Burnaby] will throw everything at us,” added Frisby. “They have some experienced players in that team and they will do their best to throw us off our game.”
Burnaby Lake will look to Julia Sugawara to lead the charge. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
The Women’s Premiership Final kicks off a full slate of playoff games on Saturday at Klahanie Park in West Vancouver. At 12:30pm the Velox Valhallians and Kamloops Rugby Club will square off in the Men’s Province Wide Third Division final. The Ceili’s Cup Final at 2:00pm will feature Meraloma Rugby Club against the Castaway Wanderers. At 4:00pm the Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League Final will see Capilano RFC scrum down against James Bay Athletic Association.
General admission will be $15 for adults and $10 for youth (under-15 with valid ID).
Women’s Adidas Premiership
Harris Memorial Cup Final – Provincial Championship
11:00 AM Burnaby Lake Rugby Club vs Velox Valkyries
Province Wide Third Division
12:30 PM Velox Valhallians vs Kamloops Rugby Club
Ceili’s Cup League (Tier 1 First Division)
Ceili’s Cup Final – Provincial Championship
2:00 PM Meraloma Rugby Club vs Castaway Wanderers RFC
Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League
Rounsefell Cup Final – Provincial Championship
4:00PM Capilano RFC vs James Bay AA