The Westshore RFC Valkyries (in black) have continued where they left off last year as B.C. women’s rugby champions. The Vals are undefeated so far in B.C. Premier League play.

Westshore RFC making strides in its first season in Colwood

Women’s team rolls on, junior sides show promise

The B.C. Rugby fall season is winding up soon, which means Westshore RFC is nearing the end of the first half of its first season in Colwood.

While its senior teams have experienced mixed results so far, the club in general has enjoyed some good success on various fronts, says club president Mark Wyatt.

“For our first year, it’s gone very, very well. We’re really excited about our future prospects,” he says.

“We knew this year would be a little bumpy organizationally … (but) we had 100 people taking part in practises mid-October. It’s a really good feeling to see that we’ve transitioned well.”

Among the on-field highlights for the former Velox club this season has been the play of the Valkyries women’s premier team. The defending B.C. champions continue to set the pace in the B.C. Premier League, overwhelming Simon Fraser University last Saturday to move to 3-0. The Vals are in Seattle tomorrow (Dec. 5) for a road game.

The Westshore women advanced to the B.C. Premier League with a 4-0 record in Island regional league play, beating their opponents by an average score of 42-10. Looking at the new year, Wyatt said the women’s program is healthy, with about 30 women players signed.

Also in 2016, Westshore will field two teams in Division 1 men’s, after its elite team failed to qualify for the B.C. Premier League. The elite men, who lost a thrilling game 53-44 to the unbeaten UVic Vikes back on Nov. 21, took a well-deserved break last weekend and host James Bay in their final Barnard Cup match tomorrow (2:30 p.m.) at Westshore Parks and Recreation fields. Cup competitions on the Island and the mainland determine which teams move on to play in the Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League in the new year.

The Valhallian elites have had a tough go this season, winless in their eight matches so far. “We came within three points of the Vikes near the end,” Wyatt said. “I think we started to open people’s eyes. I feel for the guys themselves, they’ve come so close. They lost to (Castaway-Wanderers, 36-31) in the last minutes. That bodes well for us in the future.”

Westshore’s First Division men have had a similar tough time, having gone 1-8 in Times Cup play. The latest result was a 34-12 loss to the Cowichan Piggies in Duncan last weekend. They head to MacDonald Park to take on James Bay tomorrow at 12:45 p.m.

In under-18 men, Westshore sits at 0-5 in the Tier 1 division following a 47-10 loss to Abbotsford.

Their U16 counterparts, who posted a solid 5-2 record in the regular season, lost the third-place playoff match 33-12 to the Castaway-Wanderers last Sunday in Duncan. Westshore dropped a hard-fought 24-7 decision to Capilano in the semifinals the previous weekend.

The U14 boys finished at 5-1 atop the Island league, but lost the Island playoff final 29-7 to Castaway-Wanderers on Nov. 22.

Wyatt said the club’s youth programs, especially at the youngest levels, look good thanks in no small part to West Shore Parks and Recreation, which partnered with the club to run introductory programs last summer.

“From a program development standpoint it’s been a real bonus having those guys involved,” he said. “We’re beginning to establish some roots in that community which will not only benefit us as a club, but the community as a whole.”

He encourages families looking for a reasonably priced sport for their children to consider rugby as an option. More information can be found on the club’s website at westshorerfc.com.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

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