The Cowichan Piggies came home from Port Alberni last Saturday with a rare prize: a victory against the Black Sheep, who are notoriously difficult to beat on their home pasture.
“It’s always tough to do after travelling up there for two hours,” Cowichan coach Andrew Wright said of the 32-22 victory. “It was surprising, but very good for the boys.”
The Black Sheep and Piggies traded penalty goals in the early going, with Jenner Teufel kicking for Cowichan’s three points. The tide turned in Cowichan’s favour about 20 minutes into the first half when the ref issued a red card to an Alberni player for high tackling.
“They’re being really strict on the rules for high tackles in the head area,” Wright said. “I’m sure it was unintentional, but from about 20 minutes in, we had a man advantage, and it played into our hands.”
Although Cowichan held the edge after that, Alberni did manage to hold a 10-8 lead at halftime after the teams swapped tries, with Danny Hamstra’s score for Cowichan going unconverted.
The Piggies took over in the second half, getting quick tries from Amish Dobson four minutes in and Robbie McDonnell three minutes after that. Teufel slotted the conversion on McDonnell’s try. The Sheep scored again, but Cowichan answered back with a try from Taylor De Souza in his first game of the season. Alberni got within three points with five minutes left, but the Piggies capped things off when Owen Wood fed the ball to Hamstra, who went over for his second of the match, which was converted by Teufel.
The five tries earned a bonus point for Cowichan in the standings, but the game wasn’t just about offence: defensively, the match featured a 10-minute goal-line stand that boosted the team’s confidence.
“We had a really good day out there,” Wright said. “The boys were surprised with how they came together and gelled.”
The Piggies will visit Westshore in Langford this Saturday, kicking off at 1 p.m. Westshore just missed qualifying for the Premiership this year, but Cowichan won’t be intimidated.
“We feel we can go down with some confidence and put a wrench in Westshore’s gears,” Wright said.