Saturday didn’t bring the kind of sweeping success the Abbotsford Rugby Football Club might have envisioned, but the provincial championship festivities at Klahanie Park in West Vancouver still represented one of the proudest moments in club history.
A trio of local men’s sides had battled their way to their respective divisions’ B.C. finals – an unprecedented feat for the ARFC.
The Div. 2 squad hoisted their trophy, downing the Surrey Beavers 36-26 in the Okanagan Spring Brewery League 2 final.
But the Div. 1 team fell short of promotion to the CDI Premier League, dropping a 31-27 decision to the Vancouver Rowing Club, and Abby also sustained a defeat in the Div. 3 Tier B final, falling 27-12 to Capilano.
That only one of the three emerged victorious admittedly stung a little, ARFC head coach Jason Young said. But in the big picture, it’s hard to find fault with what the local club accomplished this season.
“To be on the (losing) end of a final like that, it’s pretty disappointing,” Young said, referring to the Div. 1 game which went down to the wire. “But overall, I look at it now, and having three teams in the final, there are a lot of clubs who would love to be in our place.
“It was a great day for the club, no matter win or loss.”
The Div. 2 side supplied the highlight, racing out to a 26-0 lead before staving off a determined rally from the Beavers. Brian Chin, Tanner Saliken, Gareth Bartlett, Iqbal Sidhu and Tyler Adams scored tries, while Jordan Tait notched four converts and Bryce Hewko booted a penalty.
“We started out on fire,” Young noted. “We went to sleep for a little bit, but we pulled it out in the end. It was just all the young guys pulling together – it was a good team win.”
The Div. 1 squad had beaten the Vancouver Rowing Club twice earlier this season, and led 12-10 at the half. But the Rowers surged to a 24-15 lead shortly after the break, and held off a resilient Abby team down the stretch.
Brent Bradbury, Pat Shields, Dan Helm and Lucas de Beer notched tries for the ARFC, while Some Mosegau kicked a pair of converts and a penalty.
“There was tons of intensity in the air, and guys were out there laying their bodies on the line,” Young said. “On the day, someone has to be the loser, and unfortunately it was us.”
In the Div. 3 Tier B final, top-seeded Abby and third-ranked Capilano were tied 7-7 at the break, but the underdog squad carried the play in the second half. Abby’s points came courtesy of Lane Tennant and Brian Cuthbertson tries and a conversion from Khaene Hirschman.