By Camilla Merritt
As every rugby player on the planet will tell you: Saturday’s a rugby day, and Saturday May 13th was just that. Approximately 60 young rookie rugby stars got the day started with lots of fun rugby games and activities. This was followed by the Elk Valley Bulls senior men playing the Rocky Mountain Rogues. Although the match was billed as a “friendly” it was played with a level of intensity we have come to expect from these long-term local rivals. Pete Dudman, who has been part of the club since it formed exactly tens years ago described the rogues and Bulls relationship as follows, “The Bulls and Rogues rivalry is now ten years in the making. We’ve pushed each other very hard over the years, making us a very strong region for rugby. The Kootenay union has won 5 of the last ten provincial championships. The games can get very niggly because we play each other so often but we still have a fantastic relationship that spans past the touch line.”
Bulls captain, Rexx Curran had this to say “It was a hard-fought physical match, and even though we lost, the boys played well with lots of positives to take away from the game. Callum McLeod played exceptionally well and led the forwards throughout the game. His presence was felt around the pitch, and he was awarded man of the match in his very first game with the Bulls”
Predictably, as soon as the final whistle was blown, the friendship and respect between these 2 teams was obvious.
While the men and kids enjoyed a delicious barbecue hosted by the Lion’s Club and the adults enjoyed some Muisca coffee and Fernie Brewing Company refreshments, it was the women’s turn play some rugby. Many of the women from the Elk Valley and the Rogues have played along side each other and everyone was excited to see the newly formed Cranbrook Rogues women form their own team. After several excellent tries scored by both teams, the final score of the women’s seven’s rugby match was 27 v 15 to the Elk Valley. Dani Parenteau, the Elk Valley Women’s captain said “The women had their first ever Rucking the Rockies game against the Cranbrook Rogues. We have some new players and they stepped up to challenge whole heartedly. The women played with heart and determination, and you could see the camaraderie and fun being had from both sides. We are looking forward to working on a few things to implement in future games. But more importantly we are looking forward to growing our strong, fun, and community driven team.”
Next up was a rugby skills competition. There were categories for kids, men and women. Skills included kicking through the posts, throwing the ball through a target and a tug of war. The winners of the men’s competition were Simon Lewis and James who each received a gift voucher from The Fernie Taphouse. The winner of the women’s competition, finishing just ahead of Emily Polit, was Megan Kelly, she and earned a gift donated by Spa 901 and a gift package donated by Drift and Sonder. The day ended with a mixed game of touch rugby. This was a chance for locals and visitors, young and old and all genders to enjoy rugby together. Indeed, that was the aim of the day and I think that goal was achieved. The Elk Valley Rugby Club is grateful to all of the local companies who helped make the day a success with their generous donations. The last word must go to Heather and Kayla of Fernie Athletic Therapy for helping players before, during and after matches to enable them to keep playing.