Makenzie Simmons-Foot is a Camosun College Student Interning With ISN,This Is His First Assignment.

Optimism was high before the game despite being 0-12, and last in the BC Premiership
standings. The Westshore Velox Valhallians, or if that’s a mouthful we’ll just call them
Westshore, were always good at keeping spirit high despite being at rock bottom. A cold cloudy February day was the backdrop for the match up, held at Centennial stadium, the official home of UVIC Vikes Athletics. The men of Westshore were getting amped up and motivated, “They’re f***ing kids! We have ten times the experience wrapped around our pinky’s!” You could hear one player yell out during warm up. To an extent, that was true; Afterall several of the starting players for Westshore were UVIC Alumni, adding more fuel to the fire to motivate these players. There was a real emotion in the air that this was the game to turn our program around, to save what little hope there was for a decent season.

The Westshore men’s program has gone through a bit of a culture change in recent
months. From a time where the goal every weekend was to finish up the match so we could get to the game, drinking loads of liquor. There has been a real change in attitude, but as yet the men in black and blue have yet to see the results. This is where we find ourselves on the cusp of kickoff on Saturday February 12 th . Fifteen vs fifteen, men vs kids, UVIC Alum vs UVIC current. With that, we were off to the races. By half time, Westshore carried a narrow lead at 13-10, things were optimistic in the huddle. Westshore’ Head Coach, Aaron Frisby, had few words to say, “finish the job”. The players must have had grass in their ears while he was talking since what followed was a complete melt-down of defence and system. Where in the first half Westshore’ fearless fly-half, Josh Nordstrom, was able to bark orders and march the forwards around the park. The second half was a disjointed slug fest where fatigue clearly was the major culprit. The high of pre-game and the first half quickly died off as the UVIC Vikes scored three quality tries that combined skill and pizazz. Give it to them, they are a highly drilled and skilled side. With the departure of long-term coach Doug Tate last season, they’ve barley missed a stride.

Westshore ended up in red by a margin of 47 to 13. A hard result for a promising
performance. But as the old saying goes in rugby, the scoreboard doesn’t reflect the
performance. Club Captain and starting fullback, Braeden Bespalko, spoke with me following the match: “This loss will be a spark for us as a group.” Speaking of the final score at Centennial stadium. “The second half highlighted some really key working points for us if we want to be a winning side in this league.” He went on to speak of how Westshore men’s rugby as a program is experiencing some growing pains, and the best is yet to come. “If you ask anyone in the program, you’re likely to hear that our record has not reflected the quality of play we’ve put on the pitch.”

The men in black and blue have a bye-week for family day and will host Castaway
Wanderers RFC February 25 th at Juan De Fuca Field. Come out and support the underdogs as they look to hopefully get the monkey off their back. Thank you for taking the time to read this, as it is my first article with ISN. Look out for a deeper dive into the founding and history of one of Vancouver Islands most historic clubs that will be coming out soon.

My Names Makenzie, enjoy your family day festivities!