Belmont’s senior boys rugby team still has a chance to compete at provincials, despite losing an Island playoff match 30-12 to Cowichan on Tuesday in Mill Bay.
A wild card berth into the B.C. tournament may be available and will likely require the Bulldogs to play a mainland team to gain entry.
Regardless of what happens, the Belmont boys have had a solid campaign. The Bulldogs went 7-1 in league play to finish third in the AAA division, and last week captured the Community Bowl trophy with a convincing 41-14 win over Reynolds at St. Michaels University School.
Belmont led 15-14 at the half, but dominated the last 35 minutes, playing unwielding defence and creating plenty of offence, scoring four more tries, three of which were converted.
Coach Dan Beattie said he came into the season expecting the team to do well, given the presence of Canada under-17 team member Julian Foggitt at outside centre, Island Crimson Tide flanker Connor Klatt, and other strong players. Beattie admitted the group still exceeded his expectations.
“I have to say the boys really gelled well together,” he said. “They’re like a group of brothers out there. They’ve got each other’s backs.”
The injection of some Bulldogs football players and other quality athletes helped give the team depth, Beattie said. “You’ve got a guy like Raoul Roy (fly half), who’s got the biggest heart on the team. He’s probably the smallest guy on the team but plays like a guy twice his size.”
With only four graduating players, the team looks to be in good shape for the future, Beattie added.
The wild card situation was expected to be determined later this week, after the Gazette’s print deadline. The provincial tournament happens next week in the Fraser Valley.
Bulldogs senior girls post some big wins
Girls rugby may still be gaining a foothold in the region, but Belmont’s program is picking up steam.
A highlight of the season’s end came when the Bulldogs defeated touted provincial sevens champion Oak Bay during last Friday’s Lower Island jamboree. The win was sweet for the Bulldogs, who earlier lost to Oak Bay in the city playoff semifinals.
Belmont went on to take third in the city championships with a resounding win over Spectrum.
“The future looks bright for this young team and Belmont rugby, as the majority of players are in grades 9 and 10,” said head coach Charlotte Haley.
Bearing out her words was the fact the Bulldogs, led by Grade 12s Caitlyn Cote and Madison Bullen, went 8-1 in the regular season, matching the records of Edward Milne Community School and Oak Bay. Belmont finished second to EMCS based on point differential.
“The strength of the team has been their commitment to developing as players and working hard for one another,” Haley said.