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Avon View's annual rugbyfest a fun, muddy day of competitive games

WINDSOR, N.S. — Rugby fans were in for a treat May 5 as Avon View High School hosted its annual rugbyfest.

Jim Bryan, the athletics director at AV and head coach for the senior girls' rugby team, said they host the full-day event for a number of reasons. Due to the short season in which to play rugby, the festival allows for some regular games to take place.

The second reason is to highlight rugby in the Valley, giving players the chance to celebrate the sport.

Although Avon View participates in larger scale tournaments — like the one they recently won in New Bruswick, not all teams do.

“Some of the teams are more beginner teams or they don't go to any tournaments. This is as close to a tournament as they'll get. They'll get that experience of playing a couple of games in a day,” he said.

Teams from Avon View, King's-Edgehill, Central Kings, West Kings, Park View, Horton and Northeast Kings Education Centre, plus a visiting squad from Oromocto competed.

The field conditions were mucky at the start of the day, and the intense winds made conversions much trickier. Bryan said no one was anticipating the heavy rain the night before, which left a few large mud puddles on the pitch.

“The field was just a swamp, which really changes things,” said Bryan.

Despite the field conditions, Avon View defeated their Hants County rival 17-0 in the first match of the day. However, Bryan said the game with KES was more competitive than what the score indicated.

“It was two equal teams, for the most part. Today was our day in this kind of weather. I'm expecting them to come out twice as hard next time and definitely come back at us,” said Bryan following the game.

Bryan said the field conditions turned out to be in their favour.

“A lot of their best players are in the backs, which is more running and open space. This was more of a smash up the middle, pick and run, pick and run (game) and that kind of helped us,” he said.

Bryan applauded the play of Haley Verge, the team's scrum half who “ really played at another level,” Brianna Hennigar, and Grade 9 newbie Claudia MacDonald, who seems to be “playing like she's played for 10 years.”

Bryan said the team really gelled and had “no complaints” about their performance.

“As a team, collectively, the forwards played amazing. I couldn't have asked for more. I had no complaints the entire game.”

In other play, Horton beat NKEC 45-17 and West Kings beat the KES junior team 35-5. Central Kings beat Avon View's B team 15-10 and forfeited their game against Parkview. The combined AV girls' team beat Oromocto 25-0, but the boys bout saw Oromocto defeat Avon View 25-15.

Photos by Carole Morris-Underhill/Valley Journal-Advertiser

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