Abby rugby women win provincial title

Serenity isn't usually a term associated with the rough-and-tumble sport of rugby.

Desiree Noger of the Abbotsford Div. 1 women's team breaks free of a would-be tackler during Saturday's provincial final against Kamloops.

Desiree Noger of the Abbotsford Div. 1 women's team breaks free of a would-be tackler during Saturday's provincial final against Kamloops.

Serenity isn’t usually a term associated with the rough-and-tumble sport of rugby.

But that’s precisely the word longtime Abbotsford women’s rugby standout Jen Ross chose to describe her team’s 29-10 victory over Kamloops in the provincial Division 1 championship game on Saturday.

The Abby women fell behind early, but maintained their composure and blew away Kamloops in the second half.

“We maintained some sort of serenity,” explained Ross, who plays standoff for the Abby club. “We were pretty confident that eventually everything would click, and we were able to get the ball moving up the field and expose some of the holes.”

After a slow start at Vancouver’s Brockton Oval, the Abbotsford side scored two quick converted tries early in the second half to take command. Megan Hamm, Megan Pauls, Alicia Noger, Desiree Noger and Steph Thiessen found the end zone for the locals, and Thiessen kicked two converts to round out the scoring.

The victory marked the completion of a roller-coaster season for the Abby women.

After winning the provincial Div. 1 crown in 2010, the team moved up to the Premier League, but went winless in the fall season. They found more success after moving back down to Div. 1 in the spring.

“We have a lot of great young talent playing for our club, and they definitely picked the right time to shine,” Ross noted.

Saturday’s game marked the end of the rugby road for Ross, 42, who is retiring from the competitive ranks.

“It’s definitely time for the young girls to step up,” she said. “I’ve definitely contemplated (retirement) a number of times, but I wasn’t sure that the team was ready in terms of the leadership role and experience. But they’re ready now.”

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