By Garrett Simmons
Westwind Weekly News
It was an unbeaten weekend of rugby for the Raymond Comets.
The biggest win of the weekend came in the final of a 15s tournament in Red Deer, where the Comets stormed off with a 32-0 victory in the final against a tough Sturgeon Composite High School team.
“It took us around 10 minutes to score our first try, so it was quite tight,” said Raymond coach Dan Bikman.
The score was only 15-0 at the half, as the Comets adjusted the game plan for the second stanza of play.
“They can match our speed and are very aggressive tacklers,” said Bikman. “We just had to mix up our offensive attack and find some holes.”
Raymond switched up its system to make its ball movement a little less predictable, and it paid off with a dominant second half.
The tough championship final was in stark contrast to the opening day of the event, when Raymond scored massive victories over Hunting Hills and Lloydminster.
“Pool play was not very strong,” said the coach.
Red Deer’s Notre Dame was Raymond’s semifinal opponent, as the Comets raced out to a 50-0 victory.
“They were a stronger team,” said Bikman. “It was a fairly systematic win. Our speed and our possession really got to them.”
The tournament win was only just one of the positives the team took away from the long road trip.
“I would say half of it is the rugby and half of it is building the team dynamic,” said Bikman. “Rugby is such a team sport, so one of the reasons we are so committed to traveling as a team is what is does for the group.”
Raymond junior varsity teams had a much shorter road trip into Lethbridge on the weekend for a JV festival. Raymond split its program into two teams, and both Comets squads managed to go 3-0 across all competition. Only Airdrie’s Bert Church and Lethbridge’s Winston Churchill were able to score on Raymond.
This week, Raymond’s 15 teams faced off against Catholic Central, while the 7s team prepares for zones this weekend, which start Friday at the Lethbridge Sports Park. Raymond opens play at 11 a.m. on Friday, as all eyes will be on another potential match-up with Lethbridge Collegiate Institute.
“We’ll see if we can get them in our last opportunity to play them,” said Bikman.
Raymond has dropped three contests to LCI, as the teams will likely meet again to determine rugby 7s zone supremacy.