SportsTop Story

Bay girls join forces and capture provincial title

By Mark Squibb
December 1, 2023 Edition

A rugby team made up of athletes from Ascension Collegiate in Bay Roberts and Holy Spirit High in Manuels claimed the provincial high school girl’s rugby championship title earlier this fall.

“You can’t imagine the joy we feel,” said David Penney, who has been coaching the Ascension team for the last three years. “We’re very pleased. We worked really hard, the players were committed on the field, and they played really good rugby. We’re delighted to win.”

The girls won the Metro Championship earlier this year and then beat the City League champion Waterford Valley High 49-40 to become provincial champions.

“We opened the scoring early in the game,” said Penney. “They kept coming back and coming back but every time they would come we would just move ahead again, and at the end of it we beat them by two tries. So, we never gave up the lead and the girls played some excellent rugby.”

Penney said it’s the first time the two schools have joined forces.

While the game of rugby may not be as familiar to most Newfoundlanders as hockey or softball, it has caught on in recent years.

Penney said the sense of camaraderie amongst players is a huge draw.

“A big part of rugby is the commitment to each other,” said Penney. “It’s the closest you get to hand-to-hand combat, and that, in and of itself, brings people close together, because you’re fighting for each other, and you have to stand up for each other. The sense of community is really strong. And I think that’s what brings people to the sport.”

Penney himself has been playing since 1985 and has been consistently involved with the sport over the years, whether on the field or on the sidelines.

He said being involved in rugby has been life changing.

 “I can’t speak highly enough of rugby,” said Penney. “The sense of community and belonging is unmatched. Any rugby player can walk into any rugby club in the world and say, ‘I play rugby,’ and you would have friends immediately.”

Penney said he’s hoping for a repeat provincial championship victory come next year.

Girls from Ascension Collegiate and Holy Spirit High joined forces and fought their way to a provincial rugby championship this month, defeating a tough and determined Waterford Valley High School team. The champions include, starting in the back from left, Brooklyn Snow, coach Dave Penney, coach Brooke Lawlor, Payton Slade, Kai O’Reilly, Zoy Turney, Lauren Foley, Isabelle Quinton, Aimee Valenzuela, Jessica Smith, coach Olivia Corbet, and Kaylee Hiltz. In front from left, are Chelsea Dawe, Rachel Cleary, Amy Costello, Julia Davies, Lily Smith, and Jane Mitchell. Missing from the photo are coaches Selina Baker, Michael Holloway and Elizabeth Wilson. Submitted photo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *