Any hopes the Cowichan Piggies had of hosting a First Division rugby playoff match this spring were dashed with a 42-33 loss to the Hornets in Nanaimo last Saturday.
A second-half comeback attempt by Cowichan fell short on a day that was largely disappointing for head coach Gord McGeachy.
“The score was a little closer than the game really was,” he said. “Most of that was just garbage second-half stuff. Right from the beginning we came out flat. We were just not ready to play.”
Nanaimo scored their first try four minutes in and were up 21-0 by the 20-minute mark
“It was a pretty big hole for us to crawl out of,” McGeachy commented.
Five minutes before halftime, the Piggies got their first try of the day from Jenner Teufel, and Owen Wood kicked the conversion. A halftime deficit of 21-7 didn’t look so bad, but Nanaimo managed to restore the three-try margin with a soft one just before the whistle.
That didn’t give the coach much hope.
“We’re not exactly an offensively gifted team,” McGeachy noted. “We score, but we don’t score a ton, and we figured we’d need to score four tries in the second half, or even five, to have a chance of winning.”
Noah Dobson came in for the second half and made an immediate impact, scoring a try that Teufel converted, but the Hornets came right back to score and go back up by 21. Cowichan did control much of the play in the second half, and got the next two tries from Mike Needham, converted by Teufel, and Peter Budina. A ball-handling error led to another Nanaimo try before Ty Jones closed out the day with a try just before the final whistle, with another conversion from Teufel.
It was small consolation, but the Piggies got their best kicking of the season as Wood and Teufel combined to go 4-for-5 on conversions.
McGeachy shouldered the blame for his team’s lack of preparation for an important match.
“The guys knew they let themselves down,” McGeachy said. “The positive thing is that I think a lot of it was mental. Our mental preparation just wasn’t as good as it needed to be for a big game like that. Hopefully it’s a fixable situation. As a coach, I have to take a lot of the responsibility.”
The First Division Piggies will have the Easter weekend off, and will be home to Westshore on April 9.