Story and Photographs by Glenn Ivens (www.javalon.smugmug.com)
The Velox Valkyries were on the verge of something very special Saturday, a perfect season and with that the title of Provincial Champion. All that stood in front of them were the Burnaby Lake RFC. The Valkyries would not be denied, downing Burnaby Lake 20-14 and hoisting the Gordon Harris Memorial Trophy high.
You could feel a tension in the air prior to kick off. The pressure was clearly on the Valkyries, they were the #1 seed coming into the game and they were putting their undefeated record on the line against last year’s Provincial Champions. Add to that the fact that Burnaby Lake stole the Championship game from them last year with a last minute interception that lead to a try and one could understand the intensity shown on the faces of the ladies as they stood for the national anthem.
Velox’s Carmen Sund battles her way through the tackle of Burnaby Lake’s Kim Donaldson during BCRU Provincial Championship game. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
The tension carried over into the early part of the game as Burnaby Lake came at the Valkyries with full force opening the scoring when Maria Gallo broke free and crossed the line, add the convert from Julia Sugawara and it was 7-0 early.
Valkyries’ Laura Crowe-Hutchon cuts inside on Burnaby Lake’s Devon Luca in Adidas Premiership Championship action. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
The Valkyries settled into their game around the 15 minute mark and it wasn’t long before scrum half Natalie Tam pulled the ball from a ruck and slashed her way through the Burnaby Lake defenders to touch the ball down under the posts, Amanda Campbell made the conversion and we were tied a 7-7.
Valkyries’ Natalie Tam fights her way to the try line during BCRU Gordon Harris Memorial Championship against Burnaby Lake. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
The teams continued to battle hard looking for an opening and it was Velox that found it. Tam was on the verge of being tackled when she managed to flip a pass to a streaking Courtney Blum. Blum broke through three tackles and raced down the field for the try to put the Valkyries up 12-7 at the break.
Courtney Blum of the Velox Valkyries races down the sidelines en route to try in BCRU Premiership Provincial Championship game at Klahanie Park in West Vancouver. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
The Valkyries would add to their lead early in the 2nd half when Campbell connected on a penalty kick putting Velox up by 8. Lynzi Anderson would then find a hole and scamper across the line for a 20-7 lead with just over 20 minutes to play.
Lynzi Anderson looks for a hole in the Burnaby Lake defence during Saturday’s BCRU Adidas Premiership Provincial final. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
Burnaby Lake turned up the pressure and it worked as the ever dangerous Gallo intercepted a pass in the Valkyries back line and raced down field uncontested another convert from Sugawara and Burnaby Lake trailed 20-14.
The Valkyries seemed to reel a bit from that try and it showed as Burnaby Lake manage to control the flow of play.
Shannon Kane heads up field with Laura Crowe-Hutchon in support during the Velox Valkyries 20-14 Provincial Championship win. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
Burnaby Lake was on the verge of what looked like a sure try when Jesse Olynyk somehow came up with the ball for the Valkyries and relieved the pressure.
In the dying minutes of the game Burnaby Lake was awarded a scrum deep in Valkyries territory, the ladies from Velox dug deep and showed why they had one of the best forward packs in the league by stealing the scrum and again thwarting Burnaby Lake’s chance.
As the final whistle blew you could see the relief and joy in the faces of the Valkyries players as they completed a season to remember.
Marlene Donaldson and captain Sarah Levson celebrate after the Valkyries 20-14 victory over the Burnaby Lake RFC in Provincial Championship final. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
A jubilent Velox Valkyries team celebrate their 2nd BCRU Provincial title on Saturday. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
The Valkyries have put together an incredible season of rugby amassing a whopping 1439 points for and a measly 123 points against in 21 games.
One of the key elements to the team’s success this season has to be the willingness to do whatever it takes to win, they have all bought into the team first concept brought forward by coaches Aaron Frisby and Todd Cunningham.
There aren’t one or two stars carrying the team they are a group of hard working, determined women willing to sacrifice for each other and that is what makes this Championship so special.
Congratulations ladies, you may not always get the respect and recognition you deserve but you have certainly earned it.
To view all images from this game please visit my website.