A short bench hurt the Port Alberni Black Sheep late in their home stand against Nanaimo Hornets last Saturday.
The Hornets had already been leading the game 22–12 midway through the second half when they scored four quick tries to take a commanding 44–12 lead over Port Alberni.
“We’ve been really short-staffed,” Black Sheep head coach Jas Purewal said, adding that they only had 15 players available.
“A short bench makes it very difficult.”
The lack of players was mostly due to work commitments, Purewal added.
Nanaimo got on the board early in the first half of the game with an interception on their own two-metre line that was run all the way back to the other end of the field to go up 7–0. That doubled to 14–0 after Alberni dropped the ball—literally—but Mike Nelson cut the score to 14–7 on a try converted by Asaeli Rokotuiwakaya.
A Hornets’ penalty kick put them up 17–7 and the half ended with Port Alberni on Nanaimo’s 10-yard line.
The teams traded tries early in the second half before Nanaimo’s flurry of tries at the 10-minute mark.
“We were fatiguing a little bit,” Purewal said, a consequence of fewer players able to offer breaks for each other.
Dane Dentoom, Cody McClary and Anthony Selva all got tries for Port Alberni, and Rokotuiwakaya converted two for the final 49–24 score.
SHEEP CHEER BRADLEY AT RUGBY SEVENS
A contingent of 56 people from Port Alberni Black Sheep, including family members, travelled to Vancouver earlier this month to cheer on former Black Sheep player Luke Bradley as he represented Team Canada in the Rugby Sevens.
Bradley played in two of Canada’s games, much to the excitement of the Port Alberni group, Purewal said.
The Black Sheep also got in a friendly match with Vancouver Rowing Club while they were over there.
The game ended 58–56 “and it was a debate about who had 58 and who had 56,” he said.
“It was a true friendly match.”
SCRUM NOTES…The Black Sheep are at home this Saturday, March 25 when they play host to Westshore in the final regular season game of the second half. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. All the league’s teams will participate in the playoffs, the first round of which will start April 1. The Sheep will be on the road, but don’t know who their opponent will be yet.
Playoffs start April 1.