Story by Mike Magee (ISN) – Photos by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

February 25, 2013, (ISN) – Under sunny skies in Cumberland, the Comox Valley Kickers challenged Beaufort Cup rivals the Port Alberni Black Sheep in a 1st division match on Saturday.

The home town Kickers would work hard to come out on top of a 43-7 victory, bringing their record to 1-1 this season in VIRU competition.

Brothers Andrew and Steve Hextall of the Comox Valley Kickers started the day out playing side by side at Inside and Outside Center. This would prove to be dangerous throughout the day as both players would go on to score 2 tries a piece and were key contributors in their team’s victory. They would dominate the back field until just after the 40 minute mark. Coach Frank Blaucomb would move Andrew to the flanker position to finish off the game. The change in duties would not affect the young Kickers captain as he would continue to quietly lead by example and play his role to perfection.

Andrew Hextall fends off a Port Alberni player on Saturday in VIRU action. Hextall would score 2 tries in his team’s victory in the 1st division – Photo by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

Rookie winger Brandon Krejci of the Kickers was sporting his snazzy new French haircut. He seemed to have found his step this day while evading defenders in spectacular fashion. Krejci would score a beautiful 50+ yard try down the sideline putting all his magical moves together in this instance, scoring his first try playing 1st division rugby. The “kid with the mullet” would win man of the match for the Kickers after showing incredible growth in confidence in his play.

Steve Hextall receives a pass from his brother Andrew before scoring one of his 2 tries in Cumberland on the weekend. The brothers Hextall would combine for 4 tries between them – Photo by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

Konrad Nikkel returning from playing representative rugby with the Crimson Tide distributed the ball effectively with well executed passes. Sending the ball sideline to sideline would wear down defenders and open holes for the harder players to run through. Nikkel would score a try himself after stealing the ball at the back of a ruck the Kickers did not have possession of, and going in untouched just to the left of the posts.

Kickers winger Brandon Krejci outruns an Alberni tackler on his way to his first try for the Kickers in the 1st division – Photo by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

With the final whistle nearing, the Kickers would maul the ball into goal, and touch it down for the Kickers final try of the day. The referee appeared to have trouble seeing if the ball was grounded, but in the end it was deemed a try to the Black Sheep’s dismay with winger Lee Davidson getting the official tally.

Ben Trevena was sent off with a yellow card for defending a team mate with 6 minutes remaining in the game. Trevena would control the ball in the lineout well for his team making the calls and executing with efficiency until his unfortunate departure.

Ben Trevena supports team mate Andrew Hextall in tackling the Black Sheep ball carrier. Trevena would receive a yellow card with less than 10 minutes to play Photo by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

Playing a man short, the Kickers did concede a try just shy of the whistle to the Black Sheep. It was an easy conversion for Port Alberni kicker Todd Daradics. Daradics received man of the match honors for his efforts this day. He moved the ball well, slotted a conversion and lead with exemplary sportsmanship.

Port Alberni Black Sheep fly half (#10) Todd Daradics looks evade the Kickers tacklers. Daradics was chosen as man of the match for the Black Sheep – Photo by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

When the final whistle sounded the score sat at 43-7 in favour of the home team.

Next Saturday, the Kickers rugby club are hosting their first double header in over a year. The 2nd division Women’s team will host Ridge Meadows at 11:30am in Village Park Cumberland, and the Men’s 1st division team will kick off to the Cowichan Piggies at 1pm.