Upend defending champ Medway Cowboys in WOSSAA AAA girls' rugby final
Thursday, May 23, 2019
LONDON, ON. - The Parkside Stampeders have broken through to OFSAA girls' rugby.
In their fourth year competing in the sport and first at the AAA level, the Stampeders are the Western Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association (WOSSAA) and Thames Valley Regional Athletics (TVRA) AAA champions, following a 19-7 win against the Medway Cowboys, at St. George's Fields.
"First time to OFSAA and I'm so, so excited," Parkside co-captain Aly Cole said. "We wanted to give it all we got. We've been working hard all season. We never thought we would get this far and now we're ready to keep digging hard at OFSAA."
Cole, Haley Cockrill and Maggie Gordon each scored a try (five points), while Christine Baxter made one two-point convert.
"So crazy. It's unbelievable. I started crying right away," said Stampeders' co-captain Haley Cockrill, the team's lone fourth year player. "I'm so excited. We've been working for this for four years and that second try got us ahead and it was smooth sailing."
Parkside led 12-0 at half, but Medway showed why they were the defending champions, by making it 12-7, on a try from Abby Anderson, converted by Ashley Edgeworth.
"We were always in their half (first half). They got into our half maybe twice that entire half," said Cockrill, "We did expect it (a Medway push). We had to come out with 100 percent of our skills and all of our tackling."
Adds Cole, "We had to go back into the game like it was zero-zero. Medway wanted it 10 times more so we had to go in the second half even harder. We had to keep our defensive line straight and flat, and just keep giving it our all on defence and creating turnovers for our offence."
Defence has been a Stampeders' strength all season, never surrendering a point until London Oakridge squeezed out a try in the semifinals.
"This year we really have taken the step to work on our defence," said Gordon. "We can score points but we know how to get back and support each other and we're like a brick wall. We call ourselves a blue wall."
Gordon will be making her second OFSAA appearance, also a member of Parkside's field hockey team that won a silver medal in November.
"To go twice in my Grade 12 year I'm so proud," said Gordon. "I'm so shocked. It's unbelievable. The thing with us is that we only started our rugby program only four years ago. So to come up against a team that is strong and well known as Medway, I am shocked and so proud. To make it to OFSAA for the first time in Parkside history is crazy. I'm so proud of everyone.
Gordon's last minute try in the second half secured a Parkside victory.
"I was so happy," said Gordon. "I saw the open space and leaped over the line. Then Allie jumped on my back and she was screaming and tearing up. It was pure joy."
The Stampeders bring that joy and their blue wall to OFSAA is June 3-5, in Courtice.
Parkside rugby had progressed in each of the three previous seasons, including advancing to the WOSSAA AA final a year ago.