With just a one-try lead and the clock slowly ticking down in their Lower Mainland final Saturday, Bayside Sharks coach Kyle Ferguson admits to a few nervous moments.
“Oh yeah, it was stressful for sure,” he said.
“It was such a tight game up until that point, and I was a little worried – you’re always worried in a situation like that – but the girls held on.”
Up 12-10 on their Burnaby Lake rivals with 15 minutes to go, a Bayside try from Tanya Leigh extended the lead to 17-10 – still just a one-score cushion – and then, with three minutes to go, Ashley Lees provided the insurance marker, to give the Sharks a 22-10 win.
The win gave the Sharks senior women’s team the first Anna Schnell Cup championship in club history, and it reversed the fortunes of last fall, when the Sharks lost the final game 6-0 to the same Burnaby side.
“It was huge, just a big team effort,” the coach said.
Laura Foreman got the Sharks on the board first, putting them up 5-0 on an early try, but Burnaby battled back and led 10-5 at halftime. Jade Elidoros scored for the Peninsula side early in the second half, and the convert from Rachel Craig put the Sharks up by two.
Down 12-10 in the second half, Burnaby Lake had plenty of opportunities to score, but Ferguson credited his team’s tough defence for keeping their rivals at bay.
“They had so much pressure on us at different times, but our defence won it for us. They just stuck it out, and held them (out) every time,” he explained.
Bayside’s U18 girls side couldn’t complete the weekend sweep of championship games Sunday, dropping the B.C. title contest 25-7 to Abbotsford at Rotary Stadium.
The Sharks were beset by injuries – they played Sunday without the services of four starters, while a few others played sick – and as such, fielded a lineup full of mostly Grade 8-11 players.
“They were in tough against an older team, but I thought they really put up a good fight,” said Sharks manager Sandra Rijken.
“It was a really hard-fought game, and second in the province is still deserving of praise.”
Bayside fell behind early in the game – “We had a bit of trouble finding our legs early,” Rijken said – but clawed back in the second half and eventually scored a try.