Tiffany Picketts and the Abby Senior girls rugby team racked up 22 points in the second half en route to victory in the Fraser Valley AA title game.

Tiffany Picketts and the Abby Senior girls rugby team racked up 22 points in the second half en route to victory in the Fraser Valley AA title game.

Panthers pick up pace in second half, win Valley rugby crown

The Abby Senior girls rugby team racked up 22 points in the second half en route to victory in the Fraser Valley AA title game.



If the Abbotsford Senior Panthers perform at provincials like they did in the first half of the Fraser Valley AA senior girls rugby championship game last Thursday, they’ll be hard-pressed to defend their B.C. title.

If they play like they did in the second half, though, heaven help anyone who stands in their way.

The Heritage Park Highlanders gave the Panthers an early scare at Exhibition Park, building a 12-10 lead before a late try gave Abby a slim 15-12 advantage heading into halftime.

But after the break, it was all Panthers – they scored 22 unanswered points en route to a 37-12 triumph.

“We got a little selfish,” said Tiffany Picketts, the Panthers’ outstanding No. 8, offering a blunt assessment of her team’s first-half showing. “We all kind of wanted to score the try, but we had to work on it as a team.

“After the halftime talk, we ended up playing as a team – getting across the line as a group of 15 instead of individuals.”

Amara Lowney paced the Panthers’ attack with two tries, with singles from Nakisa Levale, Shelby Pihl, Alexis Samplonius, Gurpreet Dhaliwal and Picketts, who also booted a convert.

Peter Cannon, who coaches the Abby side with Stephanie Doan and Matt Myers, said Myers delivered a “very enthusiastic talk” at the break to spark the dominant finish.

“When we’re 15 individuals out there, we’re not very good,” Cannon said. “In the second half, we put phase after phase together. Where it came from was, our forwards really wore them down.

“It was fun to watch the second half.”

The Panthers advance to provincials (May 23-25 at UBC) as the top seed out of the Fraser Valley.

“We’ll find out in about a week what our (overall) seeding is,” Cannon said, looking ahead. “Shawnigan Lake will be very tough, Brentwood will be very tough, Williams Lake is always very physical and they have a great deal of skill.”

T-WOLVES HANGING TOUGH

The Robert Bateman senior girls are also ticketed for provincials, coming off a 10-0 win over D.W. Poppy of Langley in the Valley AA bronze medal game.

The Timberwolves have been decimated by injuries of late – five starters were nicked up at the B.C. sevens tournament earlier this month, and they’re down to 17 players on the roster currently.

But Morgan Ursel and Sarah Miller scored tries vs. Poppy, and coach Jen Ross said her squad played great defence in the win.

“We’re working at bare-bones right now – a lot of Grade 9s and 10s having to step up,” Ross noted. “We fought for every point we got.”