The Robert Bateman Timberwolves junior boys rugby team got the last word in their epic season-long duel with the Yale Lions, winning the Fraser Valley championship on Wednesday.
The T-Wolves won the first meeting of the season between the two teams, beating Yale 20-14 in late April to clinch first place in Upper Fraser Valley regular season play. Yale responded by beating Bateman 22-3 in the Upper Valley playoff final on May 4.
The Fraser Valley title game served as the rubber match, and the T-Wolves came away with a hard-fought 24-20 victory. Kent Hicks had a huge game for Bateman, scoring a trio of tries, while Spencer Maver also found the end zone and Ricky Van Bugnum booted two converts.
Yale’s tries came from Spencer Miller, Jimmy Ahn and Kyle Van Ek, and Miller added a penalty and a conversion to round out the scoring.
“The weather played a big part of it,” said Chris Kleisinger, who co-coaches the Bateman squad with Daniel Webster. “Our team is very strong in the forward pack, and it was a rainy day, so we had to keep the ball tight. Our forwards kept us in it, kept us close and gave us a chance.”
The tournament recognized a player from each team as the unsung hero of the game, and Bateman’s John Twinstra and Yale’s Keegan Carson were honoured for their unselfish and hard-hitting performances.
Kleisinger pointed out that the all-Abbotsford match-up in the Valley final speaks volumes about the health of rugby in the city.
“We’re always battling back and forth, and it’s a fun rivalry,” he said.