Rugby club avoids Premier League relegation

It was a good news/bad news kind of weekend for the Abbotsford Rugby Football Club in the CDI Premier League.

It was a good news/bad news kind of weekend for the Abbotsford Rugby Football Club in the CDI Premier League.

Abbotsford’s top men’s side absorbed a sound thumping on the road, falling 52-14 to the UBC Ravens.

But elsewhere, losses by the Velox Valhallians and the Vancouver Rowing Club meant that Abbotsford (2-2) clinched a top-four position in Pool A, thus avoiding midseason relegation.

Sticking in the Premier League for the entire season is an impressive accomplishment for the local club, whose leap to B.C.’s top rugby circuit this spring has been the culmination of a multi-year building process.

“It’s a huge, huge thing for the club,” head coach Jason Young enthused. “Now, we just have to sustain it. The players need to make choices to train on their own. We’re playing world-class rugby players, and they have to fit that mould as well.”

The Ravens gave the youthful Abbotsford club something to aspire to on Saturday, as they dominated the first half en route to the decisive victory. Abbotsford got tries from Some Mosogau and Gareth Bartlett, while Ryan McWhinney booted a pair of converts.

“They have some very good international players who have played for Canada recently, and I think we were a bit overwhelmed at first,” Young said. “Once we settled down, we were okay.

“The first half, they played almost flawlessly. They made maybe two mistakes, and they really capitalized on our turnovers. That comes with our club’s average age being really young.”

The Abby Premier League side hits the road this Saturday for a makeup game in Victoria against undefeated James Bay (4-0).

In other men’s action last weekend, the local Div. 1 squad fell 38-8 to UBC, with Denis Bigras scoring the lone try. The Div. 3 men lost 38-27 to SFU, with Iqbal Sidhu notching a pair of tries.

The Abbotsford women beat Kamloops 32-24, behind multi-try performances from Jerusha Dunsmore (3) and Desiree Noger (2).