Heading into the B.C. senior boys AAA rugby championships, the Earl Marriott Mariners were seeded sixth.
As it turns out, the ranking was accurate – that’s exactly where they finished when the provincial tournament wrapped up Saturday at Abbotsford’s Rotary Stadium.
The Mariners – who were the only Peninsula AAA team to survive the first round – were ousted from championship contention Wednesday, losing 19-13 No. 3 Oak Bay in a game the South Surrey side led until the final minutes.
The loss meant the Mariners could finish no higher than fifth.
The team rebounded nicely in their first game after the loss, handily defeating the Carson Graham Eagles 17-5.
In the final game – for fifth place – Marriott fell to a familiar foe, the Robert Bateman Timberwolves, who earlier in May defeated the Mariners to claim the Fraser Valley title. That win ended Marriott’s streak of five straight Valley banners.
And though they still finished as one of the province’s top public school teams – private-school powerhouses St. George’s and Shawnigan Lake finished first and second, respectively – the Wednesday loss to Oak Bay was still difficult to swallow, said EMS coach Adam Roberts.
Marriott was up 13-11 with five minutes remaining, but a penalty call went against them – and Oak Bay knocked through the penalty kick – to give the Island side a 14-13 lead. In the waning minutes, Oak Bay tacked on a long-distance try for good measure.
“Its tough, man,” said Roberts. “I don’t know what these guys did in another life, but they have no karma, no luck, and can’t get a bounce. It’s been (like that) our whole season.
“The guys know they can compete with any team in the province, but sometimes we just can’t score. We won that game everywhere but on the scoreboard.”
Two other south-end teams were also at provincials. The Semiahmoo Totems – seeded 15th out of 16 teams at the outset – ended up 13th, winning their final game 24-12 against the Gleneagle Talons.
The Totems had been knocked out in the first round, after a loss to the eventual champions from St. George’s.
Cloverdale’s Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers, meanwhile, ended up 11th, beating Handsworth 36-22 in the final game Saturday.
At the AA level, the Southridge Storm ended up in fifth, winning their first round game before losing in Round 2 to the top-seeded Rockridge Ravens.
The following day, Southridge got back into the win column with a 20-0 win over D.W. Poppy, and then won the fifth/sixth place game, 24-19 over Mulgrave.