Port Alberni Black Sheep fall to visitors in 2021 home opener

Port Alberni Black Sheep players team up to take down a Castaway Wanderer during rugby action on Oct. 23. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)Port Alberni Black Sheep players team up to take down a Castaway Wanderer during rugby action on Oct. 23. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Jayson Matthews of the Port Alberni Black Sheep takes down a Castaway player during a game on Oct. 23, 2021. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)Jayson Matthews of the Port Alberni Black Sheep takes down a Castaway player during a game on Oct. 23, 2021. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Port Alberni Black Sheep player Maxx Bodaly is tackled by a Castaway Wanderers player during rugby action on Oct. 23, 2021. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)Port Alberni Black Sheep player Maxx Bodaly is tackled by a Castaway Wanderers player during rugby action on Oct. 23, 2021. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Port Alberni Black Sheep player Mat Kelly is taken down during a game against the Castaway Wanderers on Oct. 23, 2021. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)Port Alberni Black Sheep player Mat Kelly is taken down during a game against the Castaway Wanderers on Oct. 23, 2021. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
A UBC Thunderbirds player frees the ball from a scrum during an exhibition game in Port Alberni on Oct. 23. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)A UBC Thunderbirds player frees the ball from a scrum during an exhibition game in Port Alberni on Oct. 23. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
A UBC rugby player throws a desperate pass to a teammate as he is tackled during an exhibition game in Port Alberni on Oct. 23. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)A UBC rugby player throws a desperate pass to a teammate as he is tackled during an exhibition game in Port Alberni on Oct. 23. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
A Pacific Pride player is tackled during exhibition action against UBC in Port Alberni on Oct. 23. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)A Pacific Pride player is tackled during exhibition action against UBC in Port Alberni on Oct. 23. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
The UBC Thunderbirds and the Pacific Pride warm up before their exhibition game at the Black Sheep Rugby Club on Oct. 23, 2021. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)The UBC Thunderbirds and the Pacific Pride warm up before their exhibition game at the Black Sheep Rugby Club on Oct. 23, 2021. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Despite taking an early lead, the Port Alberni Black Sheep ultimately fell 45-13 to the visiting Castaway Wanderers during their home opener on Oct. 23.

Head coach Jas Purewal said it was a tough loss since the Sheep were up 13-10 at half-time.

“Obviously we got let down in the second half,” said Purewal. “We just had some alignment issues. They were able to score some very soft tries, we just didn’t do a good job of lining up in the right position.”

The Black Sheep are still trying to get themselves organized after a 16-month break from games due to COVID-19 restrictions, said Purewal. The team’s first game on the road against Cowichan was a rough one with a shortened bench.

“Today we’ve got a few more bodies, so we’re headed in the right direction,” said Purewal. “We have a couple more coming out next week. I think we’ll get a little better week-by-week.”

The Oct. 23 game was the first of a four-game homestand for the Black Sheep, which Purewal said will help with getting the team organized. Next up, the team faces Westshore RFC for a game on Saturday, Oct. 30. Kickoff is 1 p.m. at the Black Sheep Rugby Club at the top of Argyle Street.

SCRUM NOTES…The Black Sheep also hosted some high level rugby on Oct. 23 as the UBC Thunderbirds and the Pacific Pride held an exhibition game in Port Alberni. UBC and the Pride are two of five teams that compete annually in the Coastal Cup. The game ended in a 10-10 draw.

Port AlberniPort Alberni Black Sheeprugby