They nearly grasped defeat from the jaws of victory on Saturday afternoon at Rotary Stadium, but the W.J. Mouat Hawks senior boys rugby team hung on to defeat the Kelowna Owls 36-31 and capture the AAA Tier 2 title.
The Hawks dominated in the first half, leading by 26-0 at one point and holding onto a 26-12 lead at halftime.
Mouat went up 31-12 early in the second half, but the Owls roared back scoring two late tries and nearly tying the game up in the final moments.
Hawks head coach James Paul said Kelowna hung in there all game.
“It was a little bit nail-biting on the sidelines,” he said. “Kelowna just kept retaining the ball and preventing us from doing what we wanted. We were trying to move it wide on them and to disrupt every time we had a good pattern going. They controlled the last 20 minutes of the game.”
Paul said Mouat excelled in the first half.
“We managed to move the ball well and Kelowna was bunching up around rucks and we exploited that,” he said. “Our wings going down the sidelines and finding room also helped us.”
The Hawks got tries from Brennan Tomm, Matt Turi, Liam Jarvis, Delano Paq-Man, Ben Ellis and Nathan Frenette. Diego Martinez contributed with a pair of successful convert kicks.
Paul said it’s a big win for the school.
“It’s fantastic for our program,” he said. “We’re starting to create a really good culture where the expectation isn’t just to show up – we expect to compete with every team we play.”
The AAA Tier 1 final ended in disappointment for the Robert Bateman Timberwolves, as they fell 35-22 to the South Delta Sun Devils.
The Wolves started strong, taking a 3-0 lead early off the foot of Sam Davenport but South Delta scored three unanswered tries to go up 21-3 after 30 minutes.
The second half saw the teams trade scores back and forth and Bateman struggled to build momentum. Turnovers were an issue for the Timberwolves, and the Sun Devils continually took advantage.
Brock McCartney was the leading scorer for Bateman, collecting two tries in a losing cause.
For more on the entire tournament, read Wednesday’s print edition of the Abbotsford News.