Troy Dhillon of the Port Alberni Black Sheep gains some yardage with John Symington running in support.

Troy Dhillon of the Port Alberni Black Sheep gains some yardage with John Symington running in support.

Black Sheep lose championship in ‘heartbreaker’

The defending champs, Alberni Valley Black Sheep Rugby team, fell short of Times Cup in Nanaimo Saturday.

Despite playing a close game, the Port Alberni Black Sheep lost the Times Cup championship final to the Hornets in Nanaimo Saturday.

“It was a bit of a heartbreaker,” admitted head coach Jas Purewal. “We lost a close one.”

The matchup had been postponed three times because of weather. Purewal described it as feeling like “the game that wasn’t meant to be” at times.

The first half of the match went back and forth. The game started out 7-0 for the Hornets, but the Sheep came back and tied it on a try from Ty Shannon. Nanaimo grabbed another seven points, and the Sheep came back again to tie the game 14-14 on a try from Anthony Selva.

The Hornets scored on a yellow card, leaving them ahead 21-14 at the halftime, and the Sheep managed to tie it back up as soon as the yellow card ended.

The Sheep fell into a bit of a funk, and the Hornets scored 17 unanswered points. Although the Sheep rallied after Nanaimo took a yellow card, they were unable to get the conversion they needed to take the game into overtime.

Purewal complimented Nanaimo on their play all season. The Hornets went undefeated to win their first Times Cup championship since 1992.

“As the defending cup champs, it’s a bitter pill to swallow,” Purewal admitted. “The rivalry between Port Alberni and Nanaimo is as good as it gets.”

He added, “They did what they had to do. Nanaimo has lots of good speed. Defensively, we just didn’t make it as hard as we needed to for them. I was pretty impressed at how we played. At the end of the day, we just came up short.”

The Black Sheep head to Duncan next weekend to continue their play for the Cowichan Cup.

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Port Alberni Black Sheep