Banff rugby players hit Lions for first win since 2019

“If the guys come to training regularly and they come to games regularly… I think we will dominate this season.”

BANFF – With a suffocating and intense defence, the Banff rugby players secured their first win in nearly three years.

Carter White scored two tries and the Banff Bears shut out the Foothills Lions, 24-0, in the home team’s third game of the season at the Banff Recreation Grounds on Saturday, June 11.

Bears veteran Jeremy Woodcock and rookie Alfie Phillips each had a try.

“Our defense held them back and every time they made that little mistake, we took advantage of it,” Bears captain Frank Dwyer said.

“Once we had a few tries we got that rhythm to play simple rugby, play great defence, play set pieces and we all started to come together.”

Organized, communicative and engaged with every tackle, Banff’s effort improved a lot from the previous week when the Red Deer Titans came into town and stole a win from the Bears in the dying seconds.

Dwyer added that the Bears’ intensity on the court was never in question, but this week they played as a team rather than individually.

“It means the boys are paying attention, they’re learning, they’re on,” he said.

“If the guys come to training regularly and they come to games regularly… I think we will dominate this season.”

Saturday’s win marked the first time the club have beaten a team since pre-pandemic.

After pulling out of the 2020 and 2021 seasons due to COVID-19 uncertainties, Banff’s last win was on July 20, 2019 in Calgary when the team smashed Saracens 64-0. The Bears’ last home win was on July 13, 2019, when they crushed Lethbridge RFC 75-7.

Looking to keep the momentum going, the Bears, who are now 1-1-1 in Calgary Rugby Union action, sit out this weekend against the Lions in Okotoks.

The home team returns to the field in Banff on June 25 and takes on the Bow Valley Grizzlies. Kick-off is at 2 p.m.

“We faced them in the first game of the season and we’re also looking for a bit of redemption against them,” Dwyer said.

The Bears must win against the Cochrane Grizzlies in order to play for the newly formed trophy cup between the two clubs. The teams play twice in the Calgary Rugby Union, with the Grizzlies winning the bruins’ first meeting. If Banff wins the June 25 showdown, a third friendly will decide which team wins the All Bears Cup.

Charles P. Patton