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Whistler second and third in home tournament

Speedy UBC team wins Whistler 10’s rugby
A UBC player goes for a lineout against Whistler, Sunday, July 20. Photo by Andrew Mitchell

The Whistler Hoary Marmots Rugby Football Club hosted its first ever 10-a-side tournament on Saturday, inviting teams from the Lower Mainland to take part. Several clubs answered the call, creating a six-team bracket that faced off at Whistler Secondary.

In the Round Robin the UBC team beat Richmond RFC 29 to 5, using their speed to create overlaps and support rushes.

The Whistler first team also played Richmond RFC in their first match, outscoring them 43-17 with five unanswered tries in the first 10 minute half. Richmond answered back in the second half, driven by their speedy scrum half, but it was too little, too late.

With only one carload of Velox players turning up, the Whistler team loaned them a few players to keep the tournament running. The joint Velox-Whistler second team beat a tough Abbotsford side 39-28 in their first game.

Whistler faced UBC in their second game of the day, and were shut out 21-0.

Abbotsford came back against SFU, winning 42-5, and Velox handed SFU its second loss, 22-5.

The playoff round pitched the top unbeaten teams, UBC and Velox/Whistler against each other for gold and silver, while Abbotsford and Whistler battled for bronze, and Richmond and SFU played to see who would finish last.

UBC was solid once again, beating Velox/Whistler 42-14.

"They were a pretty quick team, all pretty fit, and their fullback was a B.C. champion 100-metre sprinter in Grade 12 so they definitely set the pace," said Brendan Flanagan, who coordinated the tournament for the Marmots.

"They were small and quick and just overrode us on the wings. It was hard for other teams to keep up."

Flanagan played for both Whistler and the Velox/Whistler team, playing in seven games over the course of the day. He doesn’t know whether Whistler would have done better if players weren’t pulling double duty with other teams, but said it definitely had an impact on their energy as the afternoon wore on.

In the bronze medal match, the Whistler first team edged Abbotsford 28 to 21, shutting down the fastest back row of the tournament.

In the battle for last Richmond rallied against an SFU team that didn’t have enough substitute players to win 28-19.

It was a friendly tournament, says Flanagan. Teams played their hardest until a whistle blew, then it was all smiles and jokes until the games started up again.

The Marmots could have up to four games left this season, with the potential for exhibition games against Coquitlam, Williams Lake, Richmond and possibly a team from Seattle.

The team is always looking for players, no experience required. Practices are on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. at Whistler Secondary.