Westwind Weekly News
It has been a season of dominance for the Raymond Comets rugby team.
The girls ran the team’s record to a perfect 15-0 with a 3-0 weekend at the tournament in Red Deer, capped off with a 44-0 win over a familiar opponent.
As the team cruised through its two opening games, Notre Dame, Saskatchewan stood in the way of a tournament championship. It was a team the Comets battled tooth and nail with the last two years but this time, it wasn’t even close.
“They’ve beat us the last two times,” said Raymond coach Dan Bikman, who added the Comets seniors remembered those losses well. “We got a quick score and that kind of got them back on their heels, and then we got another quick score.”
That lightning-fast start allowed the Comets to seize control the rest of the way, as Raymond’s defence shut the door and recorded another shutout.
“We’ve never had a game where we’ve scored first on them,” said Bikman, as he added every game against Notre Dame, with the exception of last weekend’s game, where contests which could have gone either way.
It was another weekend in which the Comets did not allow a single point, as the weekend began with a 65-0 over Red Deer’s Lindsey Thurber.
“Thurber is a tough, hard-hitting team,” said Bikman, who added it didn’t take his team long to break through the opponent’s defence after a bit of back-and-forth play. “We just started finding holes in their defence and ran it in.”
The semifinal featured a 55-0 win over Sexsmith.
“They have a good program,” said Bikman of a Sexsmith squad that is annually in the Tier 3 mix provincially. “They were tough tacklers but they just couldn’t manage the speed we had.”
Raymond now prepares to put the team’s undefeated record on the line Thursday in Taber. The zone final is next, as the Comets will face the winner of the Lethbridge Collegiate Institute and Medicine Hat High semifinal.
Hopes are high for another zone championship, and a long Tier 1 provincial run.
“Across the board, this is a pure team,” said Bikman. “You couldn’t pick one star player on our team. We have every skill and everyone has the right attitude.”
As the wins have piled up, and most of those victories have been blowouts, the challenge becomes keeping the group challenged and focused on the ultimate goal.
“They have the talent but they have to stay humble,” said Bikman. “The fear with a team like this is they don’t finish. We’ve all seen big upsets, and that’s the danger. We focus on being the best team they can be, not just on beating the competition, and how good of a system we can run.”
The team is working on not becoming complacent, and Bikman added the team’s seniors do not have to look far for motivation.
“This group lost in the provincial final in Grade 10, and they know what it feels like and they definitely don’t want that.”