The Bellerose Bulldogs finished one win short of going undefeated this season in high school women’s rugby.
The Beaumont Bandits scored four tries and kicked two conversions to defeat Bellerose 24-5 in Wednesday’s metro Edmonton city conference final at Ellerslie Rugby Park. Both teams were 5-0 going into the final after placing first in their respective pools.
“It’s still a great feeling to get this far because we put so much effort into this year,” said Bellerose winger Nicole Sarafinchan.
Bellerose averaged more points per game at 33.2 while Beaumont was stronger defensively, allowing just 6.4 points against per game.
“They were really good. Their defence was fantastic,” Sarafinchan said.
Bellerose never crossed the halfway line in the first quarter as Beaumont opened the scoring in the fifth minute and added a converted try nine minutes later.
“It was really tough for us but we tried our hardest and in the second quarter we came back to make it close,” said Sarafinchan.
Her long run into the try area three minutes into the second quarter left Bellerose trailing by seven. The Grade 10 Bulldog broke free after blowing past a couple of defenders around the Beaumont 40-metre line.
“I got the ball, worked my heart out and gave it all the gas I had,” said Sarafinchan, 15.
Beaumont, last year’s metro reps at Tier II (3A schools) provincials, kicked off the second half with a forward dominated drive for its third try and added another before the third quarter ended.
Despite the loss, Bellerose completed its best season since winning the first women’s rugby championship in school history two years ago. That season they finished with a 3-3 record in the city conference.
Last year Bellerose finished fifth out of six teams in the premier conference at 2-2.
Bellerose was also victorious this year at the inaugural Gareth Jones St. Albert High School Rugby Tournament.
“We had a tremendous season because of our coaches and all the forwards and backs put a tremendous effort into everything,” Sarafinchan said. “Even though we lost today we still did a tremendous job.”