Ballenas Secondary Whalers Damon Thompson grabs the pigskin and dashed towards the end zone followed by Liam Howard, Carson Chambers, and Logan Pepper in support against Charley Hays at the BC High School 7s Championships. — Kevin McMillen photo

Whalers seventh heaven at 7s provincials

Young Ballenas team gains experience that will help them in their third season

MICHAEL BRIONES

michael.briones@pqbnews.com

Ballenas Secondary Whalers were in sevens heaven over the weekend.

They competed in their first BC High School 7’s Rugby Championships that was held at Brentwood College School on June 9-10.

The Whalers did not win but the experience was enough reward as it will benefit them in their third try next school year.

The Whalers, only in their second year in the sport, finished seventh place in Tier 2 out of 16 teams of which many have more rugby experience and tradition than the Ballenas team, said coach Kevin McMillen.

“They played beyond expectations,” said McMillen.

“They were disappointed with their results but we proved in some ways, not only to themselves, that they can play against some of the best in the province there. So for us to compete and end up where we were, I was very happy.”

On the first day, the Whalers went through three gruelling matches that saw them shut out Charles Hays 26-0, Sa-Hali 17-10 and in their third match was stretched to the limit as they had to rally to stop Belmont 17-12.

The Whalers advanced to the quarterfinals and took on North Vancouver. The Ballenas boys, said McMillen, just couldn’t duplicate the same energy they had on the first day and succumbed to Argyle from North Vancouver.

The Whalers were able to score a try in the second half by Grade 10 player, Silvan Breitenbuecher.

McMillen said following that game, the Whalers were gunning for a fifth place finish against a formidable Cowichan Valley. They battled hard but simply ran out of gas to end up in the bottom of a 17-0 scoreline.

“We had our chances and just couldn’t finish,” said McMillen. “We were only down 5-0 at the half in this one but we just couldn’t muster enough energy to close the score.”

McMillen said overall the Whalers, which consisted of players in their first and second year in the game, showed a lot of potential in their provincials debut. There were strong plays by the Grade 12 students Carson Chambers, Callum Jasinski, and Simon Morrison, as well as from Josh Rice and Logan Pepper.

“It was a solid weekend and all round effort by all the boys who all saw game action,” said McMillen.

“We were right there, in the thick of things. Belmont, who we beat, ended up finishing in fifth place. We finished in the top half, which was a very good showing for our first time being there.”

McMillan said the team will have the core of its players next year as they will only have three graduating players.

“We’re looking forward to year three and what opportunities and successes it will bring,” said McMillen.