While the Highway 4 closures have become something of a magical mystery tour for Alberni Valley drivers, the road presented a different type of tour for members of the Kelowna Crows men’s rugby team last week.
The Crows were in Port Alberni to play an exhibition rugby “friendly” on Friday, July 21, hosted by the Port Alberni Black Sheep. The trip was a mystery for the Kelowna team, many of whom didn’t know until they got on the bus very early Friday morning where they were headed. They caught a 6 a.m. ferry and made it to the Cameron Lake closure in time for the 11:30 a.m. opening.
Highway 4 has been closed for several hours during weekdays as crews conduct rock scaling after the Cameron Bluffs wildfire that burned through June and July.
The two teams kicked off their game at 5 p.m. Friday, and it ended with a 38-17 win for the hosts.
“It was a game of two different styles,” Black Sheep head coach Jas Purewal said. “Kelowna was very big and strong in the forwards and…very physical, and we were a little bit quicker—which is unusual for us to say.”
The Sheep had two young players compete in their first men’s game: “Cameron Maher had a very good day, and Duncan Richardson played really well today,” Purewal added. Maher just graduated from high school at Alberni District Secondary School and Richardson played last year with the Sheep.
Sean Terepocki also played a solid game as a forward for the Black Sheep, making big tackles for the team.
Scoring came from John Symington, Ty Shannon and Aaron Badovinac with two tries apiece, three conversions from Francois Britz and one conversion from Todd Daradics.
Once the game was over the teams sat down for a shared meal, and spent part of Saturday at Sproat Lake. The trip was a team-building activity for the Crows, whose head coach is related to one of the Black Sheep, Purewal said.
The Black Sheep start their regular season training on Tuesday, Aug. 8.