The Williams Lake Rustlers

The Williams Lake Rustlers

Lakecity teams sweep Stampede rugby

History was made Sunday at the Williams Lake Stampede Rugby Tournament.

History was made Sunday at the Williams Lake Stampede Rugby Tournament when Williams Lake teams, for the first time in the event’s 33-year existence, swept all of the tournament’s divisions.

For the Williams Lake Rustlers men’s side the tournament win signalled the end of a 30-year drought — they first won it in 1983 — and also the club’s second championship buckle in its storied history.

The Williams Lake Hustlers ladies’ squad also etched its name on the division’s championship trophy for the fourth consecutive time — a feat never before accomplished at the tournament.

And, in the 40-plus Old Boys Division, Williams Lake survived a brutally physical matchup against Abbotsford to win 10-5 and take the championship.

The Williams Lake Rustlers men’s team battled through two days of gruelling play to remain undefeated heading into Sunday’s playoff matches, setting up a meeting with Vancouver’s Meralomas Rugby Club in the final.

After Williams Lake went up 14-0 in the first half, the Meralomas gave the Rustlers just about everything they could handle in the second frame, scoring three consecutive times to go up 19-14 with time winding down. The two clubs then traded tries — Williams Lake scored its final two tries off of kick returns — to tie it 24-24 in the dying seconds of regulation.

In overtime, a better ending couldn’t have been written when the Rustlers’ Anthony Faggiani pounded the ball to the Meralomas’ line and through a sea of bodies on the final play of the game to score and give the Rustlers a 29-24 win.

Rustlers player Riley Ilnicki said it was one of the toughest and most special games he’s been a part of.

“We started really well then full credit to the Meralomas,” Ilnicki said. “They had a really good side and they came back well and pushed us to the limits.”

Rustlers captain Nathan Stewart said the Meralomas got back in the game by switching up its defense in the second half to open up the pitch.

“They really stepped it up there and they started flooding one side, then our defense was going in the opposite direction, so that’s how they scored,” he said.

Rodger Stewart, president of the Rustlers, said the final sequence of play was a beautiful thing to witness.

“We asked the guys to be able to focus on the discipline and structure, to be able to keep their minds going on defense and use all the strategies on offense and it worked to a tee,” he said. “We drove it up to the line through a series of phases, got it setup and then Anthony manages to make the roll around the end to put it on the ground. Phenomenal.”

Men’s most valuable player went to the Rustlers’ Kane Wyatt — a University of Victoria Vikings rugby player here working for the summer. Wyatt scored once in the final for the Rustlers.

“Kane Wyatt — I don’t know what that guy is built out of,” Rodger said following the final.

Ilnicki added the Rustlers wouldn’t have been successful if it weren’t for everyone who came out to play for the team on the weekend.

“We wouldn’t have got here without our full squad,” he said. “We had lots of subs and lots of local guys come out.”

“It was a full team effort,” added longtime Rustlers player and coach, Todd Pritchard. “Everybody had to be at their best for us to succeed and they were.”

The Rustlers beat Capilano (26-10), Grand Prairie (35-12), Burnaby (20-5) and Abbotsford (57-0) en route to the final.

In the ladies’ final the Hustlers used speed to overcome a strong Capilano side, 10-5, to win the buckle.

The Hustlers said this year’s final was one of the most competitive in recent history. Capilano cut a 10-0 Hustlers lead in half and continued to pressure in Williams Lake’s end when the final whistle sounded to end the game. Sheridan Davis scored the winning try for Williams Lake.

Paul Carnes, head coach of the Hustlers, said the key to the win was getting on the scoreboard early.

“They out muscled us and everything but the girls had grit and I think by scoring a couple of tries early they were able to cement the victory,” Carnes said. “The game started to slow down there toward the end with the scrums and it was favouring them so we had to try to keep the ball moving. It was close.”

He said winning the championships four years in a row is no small feat and one the team is proud of.

“It’s well deserved,” he said. “We had some smaller numbers this year but four in a row is quite an accomplishment. They’re a special group of girls.”

Women’s most valuable player went to the Rustlers’ Kelsey Bisaro.

The Hustlers path to the final consisted of wins over the Vixens (46-0), the Scrumbags (19-0) and United (46-0).

Just Posted

The Williams Lake Stampede Association will crown a new queen, and potentially a princess, during the Williams Lake Stampede Royalty coronation on Saturday, June 26. Vying for the title are Miss Williams Lake Lions Kennady Dyck (from left), Miss Peterson Contracting Ltd. Karena Sokolan and Miss MH King Excavating Bayley Cail. (Photos submitted)
New Williams Lake Stampede Queen to be crowned June 26

“It was jump in right away all the way,” Wessels said of getting the program up and running

As the province moves to lift some COVID-19 restrictions, the city of Williams Lake will be opening up its city council meetings to the public, beginning June 22. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Public attendance on the agenda once again for Williams Lake city council meetings

Residents will be permitted to attend meetings in person beginning June 22

The Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society invites residents in 100 Mile House, Williams Lake and Quesnel to participate in “Free Your Things” taking place over the Father’s Day weekend. (Mary Forbes photo)
Cariboo Conservation Society co-ordinating “Free Your Things” Father’s Day weekend

Residents can sign up if they have items they want to give away

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake Campus. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake high school teacher valedictorian for TRU virtual graduation ceremonies

Jonathan Harding is graduating with a master of education degree

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

Most Read