Jamin Hodgkins and his Shawnigan teammates earned another coveted banner as the 1st XV defeated St. George's School 47-15 in the Provincial AAAA Boys Rugby Championship.
An emphatic win over Earl Marriott in their Semi-Final set up the title game, marking the 10th consecutive top-tier finals appearance for Shawnigan and the 5th straight final against St. George's.
It was St. George's that unearthed the first scoring opportunity, when a penalty 18 yards from the Shawnigan line led to a kick launched just wide from Saints' Jack S.
Shawnigan finally drew first blood in the ninth minute, as the forwards won a St. George's scrum deep in Saints territory and Dean M. ran the ball into the far right corner.
By the end of the first half, Shawnigan led 33-3, after tries from Jack S., Carter M., Evan N., and a second from Dean M. From a Shawnigan perspective, the game seemed to follow a dream script, with forwards winning scrums and rucks and backs darting exuberantly into space.
"I think, overall, we were better prepared," Shawnigan Coach Tim Murdy said afterwards. "They are fit, strong boys, and because of all the training we've done, they were able to use it when it counted."
The second half proved somewhat more even, as St. George's forged two tries from strong positional play and Shawnigan began to take starters off the field and allow graduating players to taste the action.
Shawnigan added a pair of tries in the second half, while kicker Jonny H. was successful on six of his seven conversion attempts, including several from distance.
As the final whistle sounded, the squad erupted in a rare display of emotion, with several players in tears as they saluted the two busloads of supporters that had travelled to Abbotsford's Rotary Stadium.
"We've been a really emotional team all year – the way we've defended and the way we've attacked," says Shawnigan Captain Seth P. "I think that's what made us a good team; we've played with heart and we've played as a team."
Shawnigan has now won three straight top-tier rugby titles, and has reached the top of the BC Boys rugby podium in eight of the past nine years.
"It's tough being on the 1st XV at this School," admits Coach Tim Murdy. "It is always a very talented team, but also there's a lot of expectations for them based on past results." Murdy stressed that the victory was a "15-man performance," something he and his coaching staff had stressed all year long. "They're a great group of kids who met all of our challenges and were a lot of fun to be around," adding "It was a very rewarding experience."
The team was presented with the blue championship banner at an awards ceremony at the end of the day. In addition, Ian L. was named to the 'Commissioner's XV' while Teddy Z. received a Derek Hyde-Lay Scholarship.
The 1st XV's championship came a day after Jonny Hodgkins and his Shawnigan's Junior Boys – the Colts teammates won the Provincial Junior Boys Title.