Port Alberni Black Sheep David Symington, left, and Conner Alexander chase down Cowichan Piggies’ Louis Gudmensmith during the Black Sheep’s home turf victory Saturday in Div. 1 men’s rugby action. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Port Alberni Black Sheep earn first win of 2019-20 rugby season

The Black Sheep are on the road to play the Comox Valley Kickers on Oct. 26.

The Port Alberni Black Sheep can finally file one in the win column after doubling Cowichan Piggies 40–20 on home turf, Saturday.

The Sheep were ahead 28–8 by halftime, thanks to a string of three quick tries right before the half ended. They added another one a few plays into the second half before Cowichan reorganized and scored a couple of times. The Black Sheep were able to hold them off, however, preserving the win.

Alberni tries came from Ty Shannon and Mat Kelly with two, and singles to Aaron Badovinac and Jack Rokotuiwakaya. Jayson Matthews kicked five conversions, only missing one in the game.

Port Alberni “is also a great place to play rugby and be hosted so well by our North Island club,” Cowichan coach Andrew Wright said. “We are 1–1 versus the Black Sheep with the best and last game coming in the spring time.”

Port Alberni head coach Jas Purewal said the Black Sheep have taken some time to gel as they are a younger squad this year, and some of the players have been moved around. Matthews is playing the stand-off position this season, which is a new spot for him. Stand-off typically partners the scrum-half and is also responsible for kicking the ball for field position.

“They learn so much every week,” Purewal said. “They take big monster steps.”

Aaron Badovinac has only played in six rugby games ever, having come off a successful high school wrestling career. His older brother Nolan both wrestled and played rugby through high school and with the Black Sheep, and encouraged Aaron to join the squad, Purewal said.

“When (Aaron) finds his way it’s going to be pretty exciting for him. He’s not afraid of the physicality so that’s a big box checked.”

The Black Sheep are on the road to play the Comox Valley Kickers on Oct. 26.

SCRUM NOTESDane Dentoom has been named the new men’s Black Sheep captain for the season. “He sets the tone for the team,” coach Jas Purewal said. “He’s a very committed guy.”…Mat Kelly is back with the Black Sheep after several years of going to school and living in Victoria…The Black Sheep U17 team had a tough time in James Bay on the weekend, losing 56–0. The Sheep have resurrected their U17 program after a few years’ break. They continue to play on the road for the next couple of games, playing their home opener sometime in November.

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Cowichan Piggies Roan Carter crosses the goal line for a try late in the second half of their game against Port Alberni Black Sheep in Port Alberni on Saturday, Oct. 19. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

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