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Axemen Division 3 team victorious in playoff quarterfinal

The Sea to Sky club downed Kelowna 24-14 on the road
An Axemen player makes a tackle.

Against the backdrop of a stunning spring Saturday, Division 3 members of the Axemen Rugby Club secured a 24-14 postseason win over the Kelowna Crows. 

"It was an incredible game that tested us for the full 80 minutes," said captain Ian Skuse. "You could tell how much it meant to us, as all the boys put everything on the line. After losing by a point to [the Crows] in the regular season, it felt really good to travel all that way and get the victory."

Josh Michalik punched in an initial try, and Skuse gave the Axemen an early lead at the 15-minute mark with his convert. Momentum then shifted in favour of Kelowna, who found the end zone twice to enter the break up 14-7. 

Sea to Sky defenders clamped down on the Crows from there, while a determined Kane Baratta scored to tie the game for the Axemen. 

A yellow card for Ollie Richards didn’t help the second-half comeback, but Fergus Nolan nonetheless burst through Kelowna's line for what turned out to be the game-winning try. Skuse provided additional breathing room with a penalty kick.

Kelowna pressed hard to equalize, but the Axemen defence proved up to the task. Callum Hunter delivered a crucial, bone-rattling tackle from his winger position late in the tilt to help cement victory. 

Jackson McAvoy was named Player of the Day, dominating the midfield with his typically abrasive playing style.

The Division 3 team now has a semifinal date with Chilliwack on April 27. 

Meanwhile, the Axemen’s Division 2 roster will host Meralomas at Howe Sound Secondary that same day, with kickoff scheduled for 12:45 p.m.