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An FVRU Final in Kelowna This Weekend

Date: April 12, 2005

Author: Warren Henderson - Capital News


Battered, bruised and undermanned.

The Kelowna Crows know the meaning of adversity as they head into the championship game of the Fraser Valley Rugby Union’s independent division this Saturday at City Park. At 2:30 p.m., Kelowna will tee it up against Bellingham’s Chuckanut Bay, a team the Crows dismantled 45-21 in league play last month.

But Kelowna player manager Jeremy Harris isn’t anticipating a walk in the park against the Crows’ American counterparts this time around. “I think this game will be a lot closer. I know they’ll be more organized and they have a very physical team,” said Harris. “We’ll have to bring our A game on Saturday to win.”

It’s the second straight season the Crows have reached a championship game in the FVRU. Last season they won the 2nd division title beating Abbotsford in the championship final.

Health, or lack of it, has been the biggest issue for the Crows for much of the 2004-05 season. The club is currently without four players due to injury—Trevor Parker, Jim Chernenkoff, Ryan Nixon, and Sean Cushman—while at least three other key veterans are playing with an array of injuries.

Mix in the absence of key players Antony Zuccato (on vacation) and Graham O’Rourke (in New Zealand) and Kelowna has struggled to maintain a manageable player-base. Yet they seem to find a way to continue winning, going 8-1 in the regular season, then beating Cariboo College last weekend in the league semi-final.

“It’s been a successful year again for us, but it’s been a struggle to keep the numbers up,” said Harris. “We’d really like to put the word to guys who maybe haven’t played for a couple of years, or maybe use the college as another avenue to get guys interested.

“It’s been tough some games to get 20 guys dressed and that’s well short of what we really need.”

The Crows initially had been hoping to make a trip to Nanaimo May 7 and 8 to also contest for the FVRU’s 3rd division championship. But again player shortage, and in particular, the financial commitment have both proven to be hurdles too high for the Crows to clear.

“We don’t have the bodies or the funding…we’d be a fair amount out of pocket, so we just won’t be able to do it,” Harris added. “It’s disappointing.”

Still, the Crows were decisive winners over UCC last Saturday at City Park with a 33-3 victory. A penalty try by Gareth Thomas, a try-saving ankle tackle by James King, and trys by Shawn Lawley and Aaron Zimmer were the features of a first-half dominated by Kelowna for a 21-0 lead.

In the second half, Sam Carson and Blair Williams did the damage with trys, with Williams’ score coming off a well-played chip kick from the foot Richard Brewer. Thomas would add a conversion and a penalty to round out the scoring for the Crows, before UCC would break the goose-egg with hit a drop goal in the late stages of the game.

 
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