Michael Briones photo Ballenas Whalers players Faith Cook grabs the ball off the scrum and makes a run for it against the Belmont Bulldogs.

Rusty Ballenas Whalers fall to Bulldogs in rugby clash

Head coach Hill says spring break didn’t help locals prepare for tough Belmont side

Spring break is over.

Students are back to their normal routine in school feeling refreshed and re-energized. But for those who are in sports, keeping in shape during the two-week break can be difficult. And when they don’t train, rust quickly sets in.

That’s what the Ballenas Whalers rugby team experienced in their first home game against the formidable Belmont Bulldogs on Tuesday afternoon.

The Whalers showed flashes of form but for the most part struggled as they found themselves uncertain of what to do under pressure. They ended up losing 52-7 but they gained more playing experience and learned from their mistakes.

Head coach Olivia Hill said she was expecting the Whalers to have a tough outing, especially after the spring break, which disrupted their regular training schedule and also the fact that they were facing one of the best teams on the Island.

RELATED: Ballenas Whalers girls are crazy about rugby

“We were playing a team that had more game experience and training than we had,” said Hill. “However, the girls had fun. Spirits were high at the end of the game. They made some incredible tackles and we did put some points on the board.”

The Whalers avoided the shutout when they broke the Bulldogs defence in the second half. They were able to advance the ball and when Emma Harvey took a pass, she sprinted towards the end zone and grounded the ball close to the uprights. Kaitlyn Ashdown booted the two-point conversion. It was the only try for the Whalers, which got the crowd cheering in the delight.

“It was our first game and the girls are happy. That’s all we want,” said Hill, who expects her players to be sore after the game.

Hill, who has close to 60 girls that joined this year’s rugby program, noted some deficiencies in the Whalers game that they will need to work on in the coming weeks as the season progresses.

“The most important thing we need to work on is positioning,” said Hill.

“That is always the greatest challenge as we move through the season is trying to let them know where they stand on the field. Just like junior soccer players they get sucked in where the ball is. So they have some room to grow there.”

The Belmont Bulldogs coach, said Hill, gave the Whalers girls some words of encouragement after the game.

“He told us you can’t teach courage, you can’t teach heart and the girls played with courage,” said Hill.

“They can learn the positioning but they have that intensity and that drive that is required to be a good rugby player.”

Hill said this year the competitive team and development team will play under one Vancouver Island league instead of separating them. She said this is a good opportunity for the Whalers program to develop and gain some more experience.

On Friday, the Whalers travel to Duncan to take on the Cowichan Thunderbirds.

Hill will be taking her competitive team and development team.

“Cowichan have enough numbers like we do to have two separate teams,” Hill explained. “We will play a competitive game and then a development game.”

Next week the Whalers will take on another formidable rugby team, Shawnigan Lake on Thursday, April 11. They may have to play the game away because of scheduling conflict at their home field.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Just Posted

2019 Federal election: Courtenay-Alberni candidates address seniors issues

“What are your party’s plans to ease the stress realized by seniors on fixed incomes?”

WATCH: Jordan now a key member on staff at Parksville business

Disability Awareness Month celebrated around province

RDN wants to play role in Ballenas track upgrade

Bringing dilapidated facility up to standard could cost close to $1M

Qualicum Beach joins in on global climate strike

Participants urge government to adequately address climate crisis

Coombs athlete, 91, brings home five gold medals from 55+ BC Games

Buschhaus now has 217 career senior games medals

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Most Read