Elk Valley Bullettes (back) Lewai Ratudradra, Mim Merritt, Steph Collins, (front) Joceyln Manley and Danielle Marcott. Photos by Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

Rugby team bullish after tournament win

Elk Valley rugby union players have put in an admira-bull effort to win two out of three games at a pre-season tournament in the United States.

The Elk Valley Bulls Rugby Football Club (RFC) travelled to Missoula, Montana, over the weekend for the annual Maggotfest tournament hosted by the Missoula All-Maggots Rugby Club.

The men’s team beat two teams, 34-17 and 27-14, before losing to the Flathead Moose, 31-20, while the women’s team, the Bullettes, went one for one. Players of the tournament were Owain Griffiths and Megan Jones.

“The good thing about going away to somewhere like Missoula pre-season is… we have such a high turnover of players, it’s great to get people socializing off the field. It makes everything better on the field as well,” said club president Pete Dudman.

Dudman, originally from Cornwall, England, has been involved in rugby union for 25 years and coaching for the past 14 years.

He moved to the Valley nine years ago and was one of the founding members of the Elk Valley RFC in 2013.

“There were a few of us… who thought this was a great town and it could really do with some rugby, so we decided to get together and make it happen, and we’ve gone from strength to strength since then,” he said.

“In our first season we went undefeated and won the provincial championships, so it was a pretty good first year.” The 2018 season is also looking promising with a number of returning players, as well as new recruits.

“We have such a high turnover of players because obviously Fernie being such a transient town, people coming for the ski season on working visas for the year, people come and go,” said Dudman.

“Last year we had 28 registered members and this year returning we’ve got 14.

“But we’ve got a really good pack of new guys running out which is great, so it’s going to be a good season.”

The Bulls have been training twice a week in preparation for their first Kootenay League game on Saturday, May 26 in Cranbrook, where they will face local team, the Rocky Mountain Rogues.

The club will host its first home game and a rugby camp for children at Fernie Secondary on June 2. Dudman encouraged anyone with an interest in learning how to play rugby, women included, to contact the club.

“It obviously helps if you know roughly how the game is played… but if you don’t know, we’ll teach you and we’ll make sure you have a good time while you’re here,” he said. The Bulls and Bullettes train every Tuesday and Thursday from 6.30 p.m. at the rugby grounds near Fernie Secondary.


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