The Clayton Heights Night Riders girls rugby team won a Tier II provincial championship.

Night Riders win B.C. rugby title

Clayton Heights top Alberni 31-5 in championship game

Undefeated in three games, the Clayton Heights Night Riders outscored the opposition 130-13 to capture the Tier II B.C. high school girls rugby championship May 23-25 in Vancouver.

Clayton Heights, seeded second for the tournament, began play at the provincial championship with a 46-8 win over Salmon Arm Golds, then won a semifinal clash with the Semiahmoo Totems 53-0. In the final against the defending champion Alberni Armada, the Night Riders got tries from Mackenzie Adam, Elycia Thomas, Sydney Keeley, Emma Dennis, and Aiya Benaso and three converts from Chantal MacLean in a 31-5 victory.

“Ruth Landicho, Bea Duguran and Brooklyn Bilous played extremely well for us in the final,” said Glen Sandve, a co-coach of the Night Riders along with Marc England, Lara Hayward and Joe Gray. “We definitely set the tone from the opening whistle, and played punishing defense against a very strong team from Port Alberni.

“In the end I think our speed and fitness won the game for us, and we capitalized when we got the ball out wide.”

Grade 12 captains Cailey Smigel and Reanna Walton were selected as Presidents 15 Team all-stars.

Having watched Alberni play during the first two rounds, the Clayton Heights coaching staff had a game plan for the championship game, one the players executed on their way to a convincing victory.

“The girls definitely supported the ball well, and stuck to the game plan of pace-and-chase,” said Sandve. “They played their hearts out for one another, and I am so proud of what they accomplished this year.”

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