BC U18s grab rugby title with overtime win in Hong Kong

Three Peninsula players – Cali Martinez, Matt Gallagher and Joseph Carter – on winning sevens rugby team.

Team BC celebrates its double overtime victory in Hong Kong.

Team BC celebrates its double overtime victory in Hong Kong.

Three Peninsula rugby players helped lift B.C. to a U18 Elite Youth Sevens rugby title last weekend in Hong Kong – but it took extra time to do it.

Team BC  – which counted Earl Marriott Secondary’s Cali Martinez, Semiahmoo’s Matt Gallagher and Lord Tweedsmuir’s Joseph Carter on its roster – won the championship with a 12-7 double overtime victory over Hong Kong’s DP Pirates.

The win at the prestigious international tournament – which routinely is watched by tens of thousands of spectators – was B.C.’s third in a row.

“The tournament chairman said it was the most exciting game he’s seen here in the past three years,” said Team BC manager Doug Tate.

Team BC opened the tournament Thursday by winning all three of their pool games. For the third consecutive year, they did so without giving up a single try to the opposition.

First, BC defeated Singapore 49-0, and followed that up with a 35-0 victory over the DEA Tigers.

They capped the day with a 47-0 shutout over the Flying Kukris.

The cup final, however, was a far tougher affair – the British Columbians trailed early before clawing back to tie the game, sending it to overtime.

Carter and Gallagher each scored tries for the victors, and Gallagher also tacked on one conversion.

Though he didn’t factor into the scoring in the final game, Martinez was among Team BC’s top offensive weapons, scoring two tries in four games.

The Hong Kong event was the second major tournament of 2014 for the U18 side, having placed second – losing to a team from the United States – at the Las Vegas High School Sevens tourney in February.

Next on the team’s agenda is the Victoria International Youth Sevens, slated for July 11-12 at the University of Victoria. The event will feature top teams from Ontario, Utah, Washington and England.