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Banff rugby men clobber Lions for first win since 2019

"If the guys consistently come to training and they consistently come to games ... I think we'll actually dominate this season."

BANFF – With a suffocating and intense defence, Banff's rugby men seized their first victory in nearly three years.

Carter White scored two tries and the Banff Bears blanked the Foothills Lions, 24-0, in the local team's third match of the season at Banff Recreation Grounds on Saturday (June 11).

Bears veteran Jeremy Woodcock and rookie Alfie Phillips each had one try.

"Our defence just held them and every time they made that little mistake we capitalized on it," said Bears captain Frank Dwyer.

"Once we got a few tries in we got that rhythm in of playing simple rugby, playing great defence, set plays and we all started to come together."

Organized, communicative and committed to every tackle, Banff's effort was much improved from a week earlier when the Red Deer Titans stomped into town and stole a win from the Bears' clutch in the final seconds.

Dwyer added the Bears' intensity on the pitch was never in question, but this week, they played as a team as opposed to individual efforts.

"It means the boys are paying attention, they're learning, they're switched on," he said.

"If the guys consistently come to training and they consistently come to games ... I think we'll actually dominate this season."

Saturday's win marked the first time the club defeated a team since pre-pandemic.

After withdrawing from the 2020 and 2021 seasons due to the uncertainties of COVID-19, Banff's last victory was on July 20, 2019, in Calgary when the team pulverized the Saracens, 64-0. The Bears' last home victory was on July 13, 2019, after flattening Lethbridge RFC, 75-7.

Looking to keep the momentum rolling, the Bears, which are now 1-1-1 in Calgary Rugby Union action, are away this weekend against the Lions in Okotoks.

The local team returns to the Banff pitch on June 25 and takes on the Bow Valley Grizzlies. Kick-off is 2 p.m.

"We played them in the first game of the season and we're looking for a bit of redemption against them as well," said Dwyer.

The Bears need to win against the Grizzlies out of Cochrane in order to play for the newly formed trophy cup between the two clubs. The teams play twice in the Calgary Rugby Union with the Grizzlies winning the first encounter of bruins. If Banff wins the June 25 showdown, a friendly third match will decide which team hoists the all bears cup.

Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

Jordan Small joined the Outlook in 2014 and covers the vast world of sports in the Bow Valley. A Barrie, Ont. native, he also wrote for RMO's Mountain Guide section and the MD of Bighorn beat.
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