ARFC Match Reports: Women Progress to Semi-Finals; Men End Their Run Against Rowers
Div.1 Women vs. United:
by Doug Primrose
The Abbotsford Women's team played United in the BC Quarter-Final this past Saturday at Exhibition Park. The team came out strong, using the wind to their advantage with kicks from Elyssa Phillipson putting pressure on the United back three. Phillipson opened the scoring for Abby after a long run from her own end. Shalaya Valenzuela then added a try and a convert. Abbotsford were dominate for the first twenty minutes but United were able to battle back and score a couple tries of their own to make the score 12-10 in favour of Abby.
Abbotsford were able to take over the game again with great forward work securing good ball for the back to use their speed. Jerusha Dunsmore and Ashlynn Smith smashed through the line off-loading to runners. Shalaya Valenzuela scored three more tries and Viv Johnson-Herrera scored four tries as well. Elyssa Phillipson and Jerusha Dunsmore ended the game with two tries each. The final score was 66-20 for Abbotsford who played their best game of the season. Players of the game were Ashlynn Smith and Shalaya Valenzuela. The team travels to Meralomas this Saturday for the BC Semi-Final.
Div. 1 Men vs. Rowers
by Mark Adams
The Div. 1 men travelled to Rowers to take on the 4thseeded Rowers at beautiful Brockton Oval. Not many better places to play rugby (and post-match) than this spot! Abbotsford travelled to Rowers with a mix of experience, youth, and ambition. The day started well with Abbotsford fly-half, Connor Hunter slotting a couple long distance penalties to put Abbotsford out front. Abbotsford again pushed the play and found themselves down on the Rowers try line after some nice work by winger, Payton Gibson. Unfortunately, Abbotsford were only able to come up with penalties instead of tries. Rowers looked dangerous all day as their short “tip” lines were able to punch through the Abbotsford midfield. Eventually, Rowers were able to score in the corner to get to within 6-5. They added another penalty to go 6-8 before Abbotsford responded with some good work to earn another couple penalties from Connor Hunter. The score sat at 12-8 for a long period before Rowers slotted a penalty and then scored an unconverted try deep into injury time in the first half. Rowers converted and led 16-12 at the break.
The second half was again a seesaw battle that saw Rowers extend their lead, only to have Abbotsford come right back. Rowers scored first and led 21-12 shortly into the first half. Abbotsford struck back after a nice set-piece move from the backs which saw centre, Shaun McKenzie break through the Rowers backline, make a couple of defenders miss before a slick offload sent fullback, Noah Jensen under the posts. Hunter converted, and Abbotsford had life at 21-19. Abbotsford pushed again, but were unable to finish off some of the good work they had done to get in scoring position. To their credit, Rowers used their dominance in the set-piece to work their way down field and scored 2 late tries to seal the game. Connor Hunter scored an unconverted try late after slicing through Rowers defense after some good phase play from backs and forwards. However, it was too little, too late and Rowers are off to the semi-finals. Congratulations and best of luck to them as they go forward.
As for the Abbotsford men, the rebuild in the valley continues as a new wave of men’s players comes through the club. Thanks to the players, coaches, volunteers, and executive members who put in a lot of time week-in, week-out. The ARFC men look forward to supporting the Div. 1 women as they pursue the finals next week as they take on the Lomas!