Last year, Bradford District High School had a girls’ rugby team, but it wasn’t part of the sanctioned school league, and all of the games played were exhibition games.
This year was different.
“We joined the Simcoe County District School Board-sanctioned league this season for the first time in years,” said Coach Debbie Kilfoyle.
The young team not only played against seasoned squads fielded by high schools across the county, they managed to “stay strong, put some points on the board,” said Kilfoyle. “No injuries, just a few bangs and bruises!”
The BDHS Girls played their final game of the season on Tuesday, against Eastview Secondary School. They were playing for a chance to go on to the League Final. And despite playing with only two subs, they kept the score close, in a game of strategy, speed and strength.
With so few players signed up, “we weren’t sure at the beginning of the year that we could field a team,” said Kilfoyle – but all of the young players were dedicated to their sport. “Everybody played every game, all year.”
It also meant that every player had to work hard for a full game, building strength, stamina and determination.
In the game against Eastview, the girls came back from a deficit to score a last-minute try and conversion, making it a close and exciting 35-24 match for the roughly 50 fans watching from the bleachers.
“It was good captaining an amazing team,” said Alexa Geertsema, one of four captains. “It’s a new team, very dedicated.”
“I hope you guys are proud,” said Kilfoyle. “Great commitment all year!”
Coaches Kilfoyle, Patti LaRose and Emily Mclean encouraged the girls to keep engaged and in practice by signing up for Club Rugby play over the summer – and coming back in the fall.
“It’s a real sport. It’s a sanctioned sport… and it’s fun,” said Kilfoyle. “We just need more players.”