The Ballenas Whalers girls rugby team continues to improve in every game.
Coach Olivia Hill said she’s happy with the way the team is progressing after the Whalers scored a rousing win against a combined Timberline-Carihi squad from Campbell River and tie with the traditionally strong Nanaimo District Secondary at the Ballenas field on April 18.
“It’s so evident that progress that has been made,” said Hill.
“They’re gaining more confidence. They know where they should be on the field. They’re working hard together and they’re having fun.”
The game was played under ideal conditions, drawing quite a bit of a crowd, some of whom enjoyed the game while seated comfortably on the newly installed bleachers at the school playing fields.
The Whalers had close to 40 players come out and they seemed to surprise the coaches of the visiting teams with their mass substitutions throughout the games.
The Whalers first took on Timberline-Carihi. They last time the sides faced each other was before spring break and that game ended in a tie. This time, it was a different ball game.
The Whalers dominated from start to finish, controlled the flow of the game and limited the action mostly to their side of the field. Defence was key for the Whalers as they denied their rivals any chance of advancing the pigskin. The final score was 27-0 for Ballenas. The offence was sparked by Olivia Bau, who had three tries and one conversion, with Olivia Earl and Hallie Scolon each scoring a try.
“Today’s result is kind of proof that that progress has been made,” said Hill. “It’s great that it was sunny. We dropped a lot of balls but it’s way worse when it’s slippery out there and a big mud pit. So today they held on to the ball much better.”
In the second game, against NDSS, the Whalers faced a tougher outing. It was a defensive battle with neither side giving an inch.
However, the Whalers were more aggressive and came close to touching the try line. The match ended in a scoreless draw.
“This was our first tie against Nanaimo,” said Hill “They have been our strongest competitors the whole year.”
Hill has been blessed this year with more players coming out to join the rugby team. But the turnout also has its drawbacks and has become a challenge for her.
“Logistically it has been difficult,” said Hill. “There are some girls who get upset because they haven’t been on and want to play. But I don’t even get the chance to watch the game. I am lining them up on the sidelines to see who is going to go in. Organizationally it is tough but I can’t complain about extra bodies.”