For the second year in a row the BC Banshees, including Williams Lake’s Sheridan Davis and Anne Butters, took second place at the prestigious Las Vegas Invitational rugby tournament this past weekend.
After strong pool play that included dominating wins over teams from Lowland (Utah), Glendale (Colorado) and Castle Rock (Colorado), the Banshees had their first tough test against the Notre Dame Hounds from Saskatchewan, who used their size and speed to beat the Banshees 22-5. The loss left the team with a 3-1 record, good enough for second place in Pool A and a place in the tournament semi-finals.
In the semi-final, the Banshees overcame a strong B.C. rep side who had finished atop Pool B, also with a 3-1 record. With an unseasonably cold and strong wind affecting the play, the Banshees rallied for two tries in the second half to defeat B.C. 10-5 and advance to the final. In the other semifinal, Notre Dame defeated Bishops College of Quebec to set up a rematch of the 2012 tournament finale.
The championship game was an epic battle between two very skilled and evenly matched teams. The Banshees again clawed back from an early deficit to tie the game in the second half with tries from Tiffany Picketts and Alex Mueller. Both sides had chances to finish things in regulation, but strong, disciplined defence from both teams eventually saw the game forced to extra time tied at 10. On the ensuing kick off the Hounds shot through a small gap and with a wonderful open-field sprint, secured the 15-10 sudden-death win.
While disappointed with the loss team captain Samanthä Jory was proud of her team’s performance.
“We looked forward to playing Notre Dame from our very first team practice last fall.They are an excellent team and we knew we would have to bring everything we had to beat them. Although we fell a bit short, we couldn’t be happier with our performance.”
The Banshees are a self-organized team comprised of players from clubs and high schools from around B.C. Butters and Davis were the only two players who competed from outside the Lower Mainland. The team is coached by Canadian national team veteran Julia Sugawara.