The Nanaimo Hornets captured the cup to close their fall season.
The Nanaimo RFC’s Div. 1 men’s rugby team defeated James Bay Athletic Association 36-21 in the Island final Saturday at May Richards Bennett Pioneer Park to earn the Cowichan Cup.
“The entire Hornet team played with poise and focus and was definitely the best team on the field that day,” said Steve Hancock, Hornets coach, in a press release.
Ryan Bradley led the Hornets with three tries and Brad Marshall had a strong game both distributing the ball to the backs and making timely kicks for field position and points.
“The front row, although outweighed, did a great job of wearing down the opposition and winning most of the scrums,” Hancock said. “Nanaimo played an open and entertaining offence with all the tries being set up by support play.”
The physical play was a factor on both sides of the ball, as the coach praised the defensive efforts of such players as Joe Blain, Trevor McIntyre, Gabe Gregg, Nick Scott, Wes Wall and Jake Recalma.
“James Bay was unable to get any of their speedy backs outside, as the Hornet defence was impenetrable and hard-hitting,” said Hancock.
Also playing for a championship on the weekend was the Nanaimo RFC’s Div. 3 team, but that side was beaten 35-8 Sunday up Island by the Comox Kickers. The Div. 3 Hornets had gone into that game as heavy underdogs to the kickers, who completed an undefeated fall in which they outscored opposing teams 433-46.
Men’s division play will move to a provincewide competition in the new year, with games resuming the third week of January.
GAME ON … The Hornets invite players and fans to be part of their annual Boxing Day game Dec. 26 at 1 p.m. at Pioneer Park. Fans are asked to bring a donation for the Loaves and Fishes community food bank.