In their first-ever trip to provincials, the Charles Hays Secondary School (CHSS) girls’ rugby sevens team captured the Shield Cup, placing them first in the fourth bracket of the 16 teams competing.
The Rainmakers were made up of five Prince Rupert players, as well as three girls from Vanderhoof and four from Smithers who made the trip to represent the north. Amanda Wilkinson, Hannah Scherr, Drew Sankey, Maggie Lazar-Emerson and Annika Hutchison made up the Rupert part of the team.
“I was really impressed with how they tackled and how they represented the north. They played extremely well,” said assistant coach Chelsey Ellis.
What made the girls’ strong play even better, the coach said, was that the team hadn’t had a chance to practice on the fields yet this year, due to the field conditions.
“For them to come and throw out these huge tackles when we haven’t really been able to practice tackling on the grass fields was really amazing to me. I was really proud,” Ellis said, noting all the Lower Mainland teams have had plenty of practice.
The girls played three games on Friday and another three on Saturday. It started with a 5-5 tie against Valleyview. Tyanna Kerarney got the try in that game. Following that, the Rainmakers lost 20-10 to McRoberts with tries to Kerarney and Wilkinson. Ellis said this was one of her favourite games.
“The girls got a couple runs and a couple tries but the girls really dominated them in tackling and I feel like that was the best game where they came off and were so excited that we really felt like we won,” she said.
Wrapping up Friday was a 38-5 loss to Shawnagan. Kerarney once again had the try. On Saturday, CHSS lost 29-10 to Westside, dropping them to the fourth bracket. Wilkinson and Kerarney had the tries in that one.
That put the Rainmakers in the Shield Cup final, which they won 15-10 over Valleyview, the team they had tied in the tournament debut game. Amanda Wilson had one try and Kerarney had two in the victory.
The girls also played a sixth, friendly game against Chatlech, which they also won 20-5, Kerarney, Felicia Brooks and Wilson putting in the tries. The two wins was a great way to end the tournament, Ellis said.
The Rainmakers won the zone championship back in October after first forming a team three years ago and this was their first provincial berth, so the season has been a big success.
“Absolutely a huge success. It was a great experience for them to come down and play really high-level rugby,” Ellis said.