Bayside Shark Hera Sfikas releases the ball just as she gets tackeld by a Kamloops defender during BC Rugby Club first-division women’s semifinals Saturday at South Surrey Athletic Park. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Bayside Shark Hera Sfikas releases the ball just as she gets tackeld by a Kamloops defender during BC Rugby Club first-division women’s semifinals Saturday at South Surrey Athletic Park. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Bayside Sharks send two teams to BC Rugby Club Championships

Bayside senior women, first-division men qualify for title games

A pair of Bayside Sharks rugby teams are set to vie for provincial championships after winning semifinal contests on Saturday.

Both the Sharks’ women’s first-division and men’s first-division squads won their respective games to advance to BC Rugby Club finals, with the women’s defeating Kamloops 31-0 at South Surrey Athletic Park, and the men’s side edging Cowichan RFC 23-18 on Vancouver Island.

A third Bayside team, the men’s second division, had to travel to Kamloops for their semifinal tilt, but lost 53-20.

The women’s team was especially dominant on their home pitch, though head coach Liam Beaulieu insisted that the score was a little misleading, as the two teams played it close in the early stages.

“We were only up by 10 or so in the first half, then we kind of turned it out,” the first-year coach told Peace Arch News Monday. “It was awesome – I still can’t believe how well we played. It’s really cool as a coach to see everything come together.”

The women now prepare to take on Meralomas Saturday afternoon, 1:15 p.m. at Abbotsford’s Exhibition Park, host site for all nine provincial club championships – men’s and women’s, from third to premier divisions.

Bayside’s Div. 1 team, meanwhile, will face the Vancouver Rowers.

For the women’s side, Saturday’s showdown with Meralomas will provide the opportunity to avenge an earlier loss. On March 17, the ‘Lomas edged the Sharks 10-5, handing the South Surrey-based team its lone defeat of the season.

Beaulieau said his team “made a lot of mistakes” in that loss, while also giving credit to Meralomas, whose defence held the Sharks in check.

“They played well – we couldn’t get anything going against them,” he recalled.

“But we’re playing (much better) now. The players are just at another level – everyone has really stepped up.”