A year after winning only a single game all season, the Earl Marriott Mariners’ senior girls rugby team is heading to provincials, with an eye on bringing home a new banner for the school gym.
The near 30-player squad – made up not just of Grade 12s, but a slew of junior-aged players, as well – left Wednesday for Williams Lake, which will host the eight-team tournament. The triple-A tournament began Thursday, with the Mariners up against Cowichan Secondary from Vancouver Island.
Results of that game – which were not available by Peace Arch News’ press deadline – determine who Marriott would play today (Friday).
Regardless of how this weekend’s action shakes down, coach Davinder Deol deemed the season a success. Last year, the team – made up of many of the same players as this year’s squad – finished with a 1-7 win-loss record. This year, their record was reversed, with the team’s only loss coming in the Fraser Valley championship game, which they lost to Abbotsford’s Yale Lions.
The Mariners went undefeated and finished first in the Fraser Valley’s south zone, Deol added.
“It’s been a great season, and they’re looking pretty good, considering where they came from last year, being 1-7, so I’m pretty proud of the girls,” he said.
Deol – a member of the Semiahmoo Old Boys Rugby Club – credits the one-year turnaround in large part to experience – a key ingredient to any winning team, especially one that’s as young as the Mariners’.
“They went through a lot last year, so this is pretty great for them,” he said, adding that team manager Andrew Fiddis was also a key component to the team’s success this year.
“To say they have had a successful season is an understatement,” Fiddis said in an email. “The EMS girls rugby team has never achieved this level of success in the school’s history.”
In addition to their provincial appearance in Williams Lake, a dozen members of the team were on Vancouver Island earlier this month for rugby sevens provincials, where they finished third.
And as successful as they’ve been this season, the future is looking bright as well, Deol pointed out.
“The younger players are really starting to come up (and play well), and we only graduate three players this season, so most of them will be back.”
The provincial tournament wraps up Saturday.