The Elk Valley Bulls have scored a home field advantage for the deciding match of the Kootenay Cup.
The rugby union team faced the Rocky Mountain Rogues at Prentice Park in Fernie on Saturday, posting a convincing 33-22 win over their Cranbrook rivals.
The 11-point margin means the Bulls will host the Kootenay Cup decider on June 8. The annual competition pits Cranbrook against Fernie and will decide which team heads to the Saratoga Cup in Penticton in September.
“This home field advantage is always a big thing,” said Bulls Captain Morgan Bee. “We’ve got a good amount of people out here on the sideline, it really helps us having family and friends here.”
Bee put Saturday’s win down to attitude.
“Everyone’s head was in the game, everyone was playing for the guy next to them – it was mainly a mental thing beating Cranbrook this week,” he said.
“Everyone just needed to switch on right from the start, everyone did. We were making our first time tackles, some good running on the ball and that was it.”
Bee said standout players included Danny Worner, Somhairle Greene and John Merritt.
“Some good running through the backs that got us the tries with some hard work through the forwards that gave us the ball,” he said.
Rogues Captain Jared MacDonald congratulated Fernie on the win. He was happy with his own team’s performance and felt they played well together.
“It was a great game of rugby for the Kootenays, two teams playing hard,” he said.
“Not many missed tackles and it was just a matter of getting beat.”
On the field, the Bulls and Rogues are fierce rivals but when the final whistle sounds, all their grievances are forgotten.
“It’s the best thing about rugby; you get on the field, you play hard for 80 minutes, beat the heck out of each other then afterwards you cheers, have a beer and go to the pub, and you’re best buddies afterwards,” said MacDonald.
The Bulls head to Nelson this weekend for a friendly match before returning to Fernie on June 8 for the Kootenay Cup decider, which will be held at Prentice Park at 2:30 p.m.