BANFF – Off the pitch for three years, yet still, the Banff Bears girls rugby team looked like naturals in its season debut.
The Bears clawed through W.H. Croxford Cavaliers, 27-0, on April 28 in Airdrie despite hometown coaches unsure of what to expect after such a long layoff.
“We thought it might go one way of like Timbit hockey style, but they were quite informed,” said coach Lee Garrett. “They knew the structure and they stuck to it, so it was great to see and great to be a part of again.”
Scoring two tries each were Fuzuki Kiyota and Emma Hendry, and Eva O’Connor added one.
Andy Mackintosh kicked one conversion in the shut-out.
“We’re always blessed with having athletes on our side from multiple disciplines, so we’ve got a good mixture,” said Garrett about the team. “They always are a little bit smaller than our opponents. We can use that to our advantage.”
There was a large turnout to play for the girls team this season with more than 30 athletes from Banff Community High School and Canmore Collegiate High School. Only four players had prior rugby experience before the season started.
Many schools are in the same boat experience-wise, but with many keen players, depth shouldn't be an issue in the coming seasons.
“They demonstrated a huge learning curve and developed a great feel for their roles on the field and many of the basic rules and laws of the game,” said coach Maya Russow in an email. “Some things we are working on are continuing to work on our set plays, moving up together as a defensive line, and straightening out in our runs.”
The girls were originally set to debut on April 20 against the Rundle College Cobras in Calgary, but it was cancelled due to a massive snowstorm.
The team gets its shot to strike the Cobras in the first home game of the season on Tuesday (May 10).
The boys play at 5 p.m. and the girls are at 6:30 p.m.
A decision on whether the matches are played in Canmore or on the newly renovated Banff rec grounds will be decided in the coming days.
Up next, both Banff teams are in action Thursday (May 5) in Springbank against the Phoenix.