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By Ali Lee and James Nielsen, Vikes Communications

November 27, 2013, Victoria (ISN) – The historic Barnard Cup final will be hosted at the University of Victoria’s Centennial Stadium on Nov. 29 and will feature the Vikes men’s rugby team and local rivals James Bay Athletic Association.

The Vikes qualified to host after sweeping the three-games series that included wins over the Castaway Wanderers and James Bay throughout September. The Barnard Cup series is one of the longest sporting traditions in western Canada, dating back to 1911.

Formed in 1886, James Bay is said to be the oldest sports organization west of Montreal. The Bays have enjoyed a majority of the tournament’s success, capturing the cup an impressive 56 times including a 12-year streak between 1971 and 1982. Established in 1963, the Vikes have won the cup 10 times, beginning in 1967 and most recently in 2008 after a 23-18 victory over James Bay. Prior to the formation of UVic, the university operated as Victoria College, capturing the Barnard Cup in 1948 and 1949.

This season’s competition between the two clubs was close in both match-ups, with each side gathering a victory to split their season series. The two teams met for the first time on Sept. 13. Hundreds of fans from both clubs gathered at Centennial Stadium to support their teams. Despite entering the game without several regular starters, the Vikes jumped to an early lead on a penalty kick by Fergus Hall. Hall’s presence would be felt throughout the match, posting 13 points through 80 minutes of play en route to a 28-17 Vikes victory in their season-opener.

The Vikes’ next Barnard Cup qualifying match pitted them against the Castaway Wanderers on Sept. 21 at Windsor Park. The Vikes dominated in the offensive zone, spreading their scoring out among six different players. The Wanderers were unable to break the defensive line, falling 45-10 in a lopsided affair.

With home field advantage for the finals on the line, the Vikes contested against the Velox Valhalians on Sept. 28. In their final qualifying match, they once again spread out their scoring among several players. Kane WyattDoug Fraser and Jamie MacKenzie combined for five tries, while rookie Guiseppe du Toit converted an impressive seven of eight attempts throughout the match as the Vikes rolled to a 44-19 victory.

Riding a five-game winning streak as the Vikes headed to Macdonald Park for an Oct. 26 rematch against James Bay. The Vikes found themselves heavily outplayed in the opening half and were unable to complete a comeback despite scoring three tries in under 10-minutes. James Bay captured the victory to even their season series at one game apiece.

James Bay’s season has been similar to the Vikes leading up to the final. With a identical 4-2 record and positioned only a point apart in the standings, Friday’s match will be a good test for both teams to see where they measure against one another.  James Bay’s Taylor Dalziel and Clayton Meeres have provided their team with a majority of their scoring this season, with both currently sitting in the top-10 in league scoring heading into Friday’s match.

Proceeds of the event admission will be donated to the Judah Campbell Fund that, with the help of the rugby community, is striving to raise $100, 000 to support Kelowna Crows rugby player Judah Campbell. The 24-year-old Okanagan rugby player suffered an impact that broke the C-4 and C-5 vertebrae of his neck in a game in October 2013. The Vikes will be donating gate revenue and any additional donations towards the Judah Campbell Fund to help with the medical costs for treatment and rehabilitation. Campbell won the Most Valuable Player of the Year award with the Kelowna Crows in both 2009 and 2010. He recently completed his undergraduate degree from UBC Okanagan and was intending on applying to medical school. To make a donation online visit: http://donate.rugbycanada.ca/e/judahcampbell

Barnard Cup Results (last 6 years)
2012: UVic [ 27 – 54 ] James Bay
2011: UVic [ 13 – 22 ] James Bay
2010: UVic [ 37 – 44 ] James Bay
2009: UVic [ 23 – 27 ] James Bay
2008: UVic [ 23 – 18 ] James Bay
2007: UVic [ 20 – 34 ] James Bay