The Elk Valley Bulls take on the Foothills Lions during a pre-season match. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press/File

Bulls take second in Saratoga Cup

The Elk Valley Bulls rugby team returned from a provincial tournament with their heads high, placing second in the coveted Saratoga Cup.

Hosted in Vernon from September 7 to 8, the Saratoga Cup is contested by teams from three regions; the Okanagan, the Kootenays and the Interior.

The Bulls faced off against three teams; the Terrace Northmen, the Vernon Jackals and the Rocky Mountain Rogues (Cranbrook), the defending champions.

On Saturday the Bulls beat Vernon, and Terrace beat Cranbrook, which put the Elk Valley team against Terrace in Sunday’s final.

What followed was a nail biter of a game, but concluded with a scoring try by Terrace in the final play of overtime.

“It was so back and forth,” said Bull’s #8 player, Robie Labine.

“The girl who handed out the trophy was just like – we can’t remember the last time there was an overtime at the Saratoga Cup. It was awesome,” he said.

Although the game ended in a loss, Labine credited the Elk Valley players for always battling and never giving up.

The final play of the game isn’t one that will be soon forgotten.

Overtime in rugby is unlike other sports. When the game ends in a tied scored, two five minutes halves are added on, and the leader after that is declared the winner.

In the five minutes that followed, neither team was able to secure any points. The referee announced that what followed would be the final play of the first half of overtime.

“They had this one player, this guy was like a juggernaut – it was like tackling a running tree,” explained Labine. “It would take four of us to stop him.

“He got the ball, people slowed him up, and I ran and threw myself at him, and I just got him to step on the line. He threw the ball back to keep it in play but he had stepped out,” said Labine.

Nearing the end of the second half of overtime, the referee again announced it was the final play of the game. The Bulls had the ball, with about half the field in front of them. Labine remembers running down the sideline, waiting for a pass.

“I was thinking give me this ball, I’m going to score, I’m going to win, it’s going to be amazing, and then all of a sudden the balls popping – someone dropped the ball – and he (the tree) picks it up,” said Labine.

Miraculously, a Bulls player tackled ‘the tree’, but the Terrace player managed to pass it off to another teammate who, according to Labine, was their next best player. A dodge and sprint by this player resulting in Terrace scoring a try and securing the victory.

The match ended with a 23-18 victory for Terrace.

In reflection of the tournament, Labine said it was a highlight of the season.

“Vernon is an incredible host, they do a great job and it should be on every rugby club’s list of things to do and places to go and play rugby,” said Labine.

Looking back on the season, Labine said he’s proud of what they accomplished. Losing the first game of the season in Cranbrook, the Bulls bounced back with a victory in Fernie. Winning by a large margin, they won the opportunity to host the third game. Beating Cranbrook again, they won 7-5.

Later in the season Cranbrook finished close behind them, taking third at the Saratoga Cup.

To find out more about the Elk Valley R.F.C., follow them on Facebook.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

UPDATE: Fire above Sparwood no threat to community

Mayor David Wilks reported it may be due to an exposed coal seam

Conservative opposition critic tours through Kootenay riding on listening tour

Pierre Poilievre, the Tory finance critic, gathering local feedback on pandemic supports, recovery issues

EKC makes $5,000 donation to Elk Valley ultrasound campaign

The EKC challenged other businesses to help the campaign hit its $300,000 target

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Most Read