The Port Alberni Black Sheep won 35-29 against Island rivals the Nanaimo Hornets during TC Cup action on Saturday.
It was the first game at home for the Black Sheep since September, and the team is working with a shortened bench. Head coach Jas Purewal said four players are currently out with injury, while another five are currently out for work-related reasons.
“We’ve been fighting it more than usual this year, for whatever reason,” Purewal said after Saturday’s match.
Although the Sheep took a 20-0 lead into halftime, the Hornets came out strong in the second half, outscoring the Sheep by almost double.
The Sheep had tries from Jason Matthews, Cailin MacDonald, Bob Brown and Maxx Bodaly. Kicker Ty Shannon added a try, two conversions and two penalty goals. Purewal said he liked a few of his team’s “defensive moves,” as well as a late try in the second half that kept the game “manageable.”
“[The Hornets] had a good roster,” said Purewal. “They made some good substitions in the second half. That led to them outscoring us.
“I thought Owen Hawkins did a ton of work for us,” he added. “Ty Shannon also did a good job of managing the team.”
Next weekend, the Sheep will host Cowichan for an exhibition game. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24. This will be followed by a Saturday, Dec. 1 home game against Abbotsford in B.C. Rugby Union action. Purewal said it’s “a bit of a relief” to be back on home turf after a few weekends away from home.
“When you get back home, life is always easier,” he said. “On a three game homestand like this, it’s important that we have some success.”
The Black Sheep are now 3-1 in TC Cup play, while they are 0-3 in B.C.-wide play.