verything but it helps the scrapes heal faster.
Charlie Hopkins ran for a season-high five tries and Ballenas Secondary School’s upstart girls rugby team posted its fourth straight win when they hammered the Alberni District Secondary School Armada in Port Alberni on Wednesday.
Over the hump in miserable conditions, the Whalers rolled to a 31-15 final and improved to 5-2 on the season.
“When you give Charlie room to run it’s tough to stop her, and she got those opportunities by a whole lot of hard work in shitty conditions by her teammates,” said BSS teacher/librarian Greg Lewis, in his ninth season coaching the Whalers girls rugby team, pointing out “it was brutal weather; holy crap. Sleet and two, three degrees …of course the sun comes out when the game ends.”
In that game the Armada, who have a very strong No. 8, opened the scoring and the two teams went into the half tied with three tries apiece. The Whalers ran away with it in the second half and Hopkins galloped for two more scores.
“We started out really slow but quickly got one back,” said Lewis, adding, “we’re a bit deeper then they are (and) I think we wore them down — they started losing the ball in contact more than we did and tried to get it in Charlie’s hands. They just didn’t have an answer for Charlie. She has so much gas … she’s a game breaker.
“We didn’t win a game all season last year so yeah, it feels great. It’s a different team this year,” said Lewis, adding, “I have some decent returning players and we also have a number of new players that have really stepped up and are playing well as a group.”
Earning props from their seasoned coach are Megan Wroe, who Lewis said, “is tackling as well as anyone on the team, and big players too, I mean she’s five three, five four, but she’s solid.”
Likewise for Mahriya Aucoin, he said, “again playing way bigger than she is. She’ll take on anybody in a tackle, she’s technically really strong but she’s not the biggest girl out there by a long-shot so she takes a beating sometimes but she just gets back up and keeps on ticking.”
The locals went into the game coming off a gutsy 32-10 road win over the Reynolds Road Runners at Velox Rugby Club in Victoria.
The Whalers’ last loss was back on March 30 to Cowichan, 32-17.
Landry scored two tries despite the flu, and Natasha Halvorson scored the other. Hopkins converted one of three. Bridgette Wheatley rumbled many times for 10 meters or more each time taking several Cowichan players with her.
“Cowichan showed its depth and size and rucked very well,” said Lewis, adding, “we have many new players that are learning and taking big hits but keep getting up and keep getting better. Great positive attitude.
“They’re feeling good about themselves and they’re having a blast … the game’s empowering for young women.”
The Whalers travel to Ladysmith May 4 (Wednesday). Beyond that, this marks the third year in a row graduation ceremonies have been scheduled the same time as the B.C. high school girls ruby provincial finals.
“Which is disappointing,” said Lewis. “If I could manufacture two more bodies we could qualify, for sure.”