Lions make first roar on the pitch

Rugby: Ladies make history for Foothills program

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jul 09, 2014 12:58 pm

Foothills Lion Ashley Lamoureux streaks down the sideline for a try in the Foothills Lions 25-5 victory over Banff at the Stampede Sevens rugby tournament in Calgary
Foothills Lion Ashley Lamoureux streaks down the sideline for a try in the Foothills Lions 25-5 victory over Banff at the Stampede Sevens rugby tournament in Calgary
Bruce Campbell/OWW

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Some Foothills women rolled sevens making a historic pitch for rugby in the Okotoks area.

The Foothills Lions finished with a 2-1 record in the Women’s Social D division of the Stampede Sevens Rugby tournament Saturday at the Calgary Rugby Union.

They were the first games for a women’s team in the Foothills Lions program.

“We went from just two players — Vicki Gallant and I to being a team,” said the Lions coach Ashley Lamoureux. “Some of our girls were new this week and it’s just taken off.”

The Lions got a bad draw in their first game in history when they opened against the LT’s early Saturday morning. They dropped a 35-0 decision to the LT’s.

“They had some Team Alberta players, but it was good starting game for us,” said Lamoureux, a former Foothills Comp Falcon and Calgary Irish. “Some of the girls had not ever been hit before. We learned from it, said that was pathetic, and we won the rest of the games we played.”

The Lions got their first win when they beat the Gold Diggers 10-5 in their next outing. Lamoureux scored both trys.

They capped off the tourney with a 25-5 victory over Banff on Saturday afternoon. Lamoureux had three trys while Samantha Westhaver had two.

It was a new experience for most of the players.

The Lions’ Jackie Mior was playing her first games of rugby. However, she has plenty of knowledge about the game — her daughter Brogan, son Kaden and husband Jamie are all with the Lions program.

“I got involved because my family has been trying to talk me into it,” said Mior with a laugh. “It was great — a good adrenaline rush.”

Several Lions had only two practices — both of them the week before the tournament. However, they were able to pull it together, with the help of Lamoureux and Lions men’s team member Kevan Yeats.

Candace Bespalko said she believes women’s rugby will start to take off in Okotoks and the surrounding area.

“Oh definitely,” said Bespalko, whose son Braedan plays for the U-16 Lions. “I think once they (women) come out and see us play, they will see how much fun it is.”

The Sevens game has seven players rather than the traditional 15. It is played on the same sized field as 15, meaning it is a much faster game with fewer rucks and scrums. If you plan to watch a game don’t be late. Games are 15 or 20 minutes long.

Foothills Lion Sarah Campbell, a former Oilfields Driller, said the team did well.

“There are some moms who have never played before but they watched their kids so they did very well,” she said.

Lamoureux is looking forward to the future.

“This is just the first year,” Lamoureux said. “I can’t wait to see how many more will come out.”

The Lions are tentatively planning to play in another sevens tournament in August.

Anyone interested in playing with the women’s team can go to foothillslionsrugbyclub.com.


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