The experiment of combining Cowichan and Westshore’s senior women’s rugby teams into a single entity came to an end late last month in the provincial Div. 1 semifinals.
Cowshore and Abbotsford were scheduled to square off on April 27, but heavy winds forced their ferry first to turn around and wait in calmer waters, then abandon the voyage altogether. Because the final was slated for the following weekend, the teams had to meet the following day. Abbotsford wasn’t interested in working around Cowshore’s travel schedule, so by the time the visiting team arrived at the pitch, they only had time for a 20-minute warm-up.
Abbotsford had finished first in the league in the regular season, capping it off with a 52-34 win over fourth-place Cowshore on April 13. The host team came out strong, and even offensive contributions from speedsters Carolyn Gudmundseth and Dani Robb couldn’t help narrow the gap, with Abbotsford winning 70-24.
Abbotsford ended up beating Nanaimo 52-17 for the provincial title this past weekend.
Even though their bid for a provincial title fell short, the Cowshore players were pleased with the results of the experiment.
“The combined team worked fantastic this season,” Cowichan’s Sherry Spence said. “Being a Div. 1 women’s team, it’s nice to have enough numbers so our players who have work, family or school commitments didn’t feel obligated to choose rugby just because we never had enough players.
“As for the Westshore girls, they had an opportunity to play rugby if they didn’t get selected for the Westshore premier side.”
The BC Rugby Union hasn’t decided how the season will run next year, but the clubs will be willing to join forces again.
“If we have the opportunity to combine again, we will be happy to do so,” Spence said. “But ultimately we would love to have our numbers grow so we can have enough for a full team.”