Fraser Valley has won the Girls’ Rugby Sevens Tournament at the 2016 BC Summer Games which took place in Abbotsford over this past weekend. The 3-day tournament welcomed over 80 girls aged 15 to 17 from all 8 zones; a first for Girls Rugby at the BC Summer Games and a true testament to the growth of girls’ rugby throughout the Province.
Day 1 and 2 were comprised of pool play that saw some interesting match ups. In Pool A, Thompson Okanagan came out strong in their first game of the tournament almost upsetting the eventual winners, Fraser Valley. Strong offensive play by Lizzy Gatuaco and standout defensive work by Kally King along with great team work led Thompson Okanagan to a 3-1 record. Fraser Valley started slow but progressed each game finishing the pool play 4-0. Tausani Levale led Fraser Valley with her calm distribution skills allowing Hunter Czeppel, Tayler Bailey and Kashish Arya several tries on the outside.
Vancouver Coastal worked hard all tournament improving each game coming away with a 2-2 record in pool play. Val Wideski touched down several tries, finishing the hard work of this whole team. Completing Pool A was North West who were clearly keen to play and despite their limited playing opportunities, this team displayed a hard running style that left many of the teams remembering their hard hits.
Pool B had 4 strong teams. The Kootenay Region team, who hails from Nelson, Kimberley, and Cranbrook, had some moments of raw talent but their team couldn’t match the experience of the other 3 zones. Cariboo NorthEast had strong moments led by Emma Feldinger. This zone has a history of strong performances and has produced many standout players from Williams Lake including 2016 Rio Olympian Kayla Moleschi. Also finishing 2-2 was Fraser River who had strong performances against the Island but ultimately came up short. Shoshanna Semanutafa has proved to be a great addition to this zone along with the strong running of Kate Richards and the distribution skills of Berlyn Sessjala and Tanika Bonneville. The top team of pool B went to Vancouver Island who had many strong performances with stand outs Tyra Schaad, Payton Cochrane, Rori Wood and Shaye Tudor.
But it was Sunday, the third and final day, that saw some of the best play of the Tournament with the placing match-ups providing some entertaining and promising Rugby performances.
It was a hard battle for 7th place that had the crowd gasping many times at the sheer intensity of these players. The hits and hard running styles of both teams were exciting to watch. Ultimately the speed of the Kootenays and their progression through the tournament had them come out on top. A few injuries plagued the Northeast but their determination had them battle to the end with 2 tries in the dying minutes of the game bringing the final score to 20-10.
The battle for 5th place saw Cariboo Northeast up against Vancouver Coastal. Cariboo Northeast had a strong tournament but came up short in their final game facing a Vancouver team that finally found their stride. With some great team play, Vancouver Coastal finished the tournament with a 25-5 win over a depleted Cariboo side.
The battle for bronze pitted Thompson OK against Fraser River and proved to be an exciting match up with speed and tenacity on one side and calm distribution and ball movement on the other. Fraser River came away with a convincing 22-5 win. The game was closer than the score indicated but Fraser River’s patience and ability to disrupt the defense proved to be the deciding factor on the day.
The gold medal match of the 2016 BC Summer Games was an exciting match up with Fraser Valley hunting for a fourth gold and Vancouver Island determined to disrupt their winning streak and take that ferry home as Champions. The Island had been playing great rugby throughout the tournament and continued this during the first seven minutes of play. But the Valley were too strong on the day and continued with relentless pressure coming away with a 31-5 victory and claiming a fourth consecutive BC Games Championship.
“I was very pleased with the level of play that was seen this past weekend. The level of skill and knowledge of sevens is the highest I have seen at this age,” said Darcy Patterson, BC Rugby’s Elite Girls Sevens Head Coach. “It is an exciting time for girls’ rugby in BC and I look forward to working with many of these athletes in the BC Youth Elite 7’s Girls program.”
“There were many girls in these games that represented the program at the Las Vegas tournament and the Vancouver Rugby Festival this past March but it was exciting to see many new faces; the future is bright.”
The tournament would not have been such a success without the great work of the referees led by Dave Williams of Abbotsford. The coaches of all the teams put in great efforts to get the players to the games and even slept on the floor in classrooms to ensure the athletes had a good experience. Congratulations and thanks to all the coaches, managers, and volunteers that helped lead these girls to the Games.
More About the BC Games
The BC Winter and BC Summer Games are British Columbia’s biennial celebration of sport and community. Since 1978, the BC Games have taken place in 38 communities and involved over 350,000 participants and volunteers and thousands more as spectators and supporters.
The purpose of the BC Games is “To provide an opportunity for the development of athletes, coaches, and officials in preparation for higher levels of competition in a multi-sport event which promotes interest and participation in sport and sporting activities, individual achievement and community development.”
The BC Games bring together British Columbia’s best emerging high performance athletes, trained coaches, and certified officials for four days of competition. This experience is an important development opportunity and stepping stone towards higher level sport competitions.
Volunteers are the driving force behind the BC Games bringing their expertise, energy, and commitment to ensure the Games are a success. Also essential to the staging of the Games are partners representing government, corporate, and not-for-profit organizations.
The BC Winter and BC Summer Games are a milestone event that people count as an experience of a lifetime where memories, friendships, spirit, and pride are abundant.