The Port Alberni Black Sheep are shaking off the rust, opening the BC Rugby season at home with a close win against the visiting Castaway Wanderers.
After taking a 19-17 lead at halftime on Saturday, Sept. 17, the Black Sheep got a yellow card and fell behind briefly in the second half. But a late try by Maxx Bodaly gave them a two-point lead, and a conversion from kicker Todd Daradics gave them the 35-30 win.
Daradics had “a solid day” on Saturday, said head coach Jas Purewal after the game.
“It’s really nice when your kicker’s hitting the ball for you—it gives you a lot of confidence,” he said.
Last year, the Black Sheep struggled with a short bench throughout the season. But this wasn’t a problem on Saturday, as plenty of players turned out for the first home game of the 2022-23 season. Although there was “a bit of rust” at the beginning of the game, Purewal says this declined as the game went on.
“We had a big bench today, which is exciting to see,” said Purewal. “Last year there were only one or two guys on the bench. This year we’re going to be a full bench of eight to 10 people.”
The team is hoping to see more young athletes come out this season, added Purewal.
Scorers for the Black Sheep on Saturday were Bodaly, Cody McClary, Ty Shannon and Bob Brown. Daradics had three conversions and three penalty goals.
Port Alberni will now be on the road for a few games, not returning to home turf until October. The team’s first game of the season, against UBC, was postponed due to ferry cancellations. A make-up date will be announced later.