NANAIMO — After one of the best seasons in the history of the Hornets men's rugby program, the team is moving up to the highest level in the province.
In the 2016-2017 season Nanaimo won the Times Cup, and the Cowichan Cup, before coming up short of their goal of a provincial crown.
Manager Drew Fisher, who was captain of the Division 1 team last year, says the Times Cup victory in February was the season highlight for him.
"That was a big monkey off the back for the club and for a lot of the guys involved. A lot of guys had played quite a few years without ever getting one of those. Once we finally put that on the mantle - that was a good one for us," said Fisher.
The move up from Division 1 to the Premier Division wasn't mandatory but according to Fisher it was the best way for the Hornets to continue playing at the highest level possible.
"If we were to stay at Division 1, the league lost a few teams - so we made the move. The guys we're playing against, a lot of them, this is what they do. They're guys that are coming in from UBC, or from out of town at different universities, or have played at the pro level, or they're trying out for Canada internationally. It's going to be definitely a step up from where we played last year." said Fisher.
Hornets rugby has a more than 125 year history in Nanaimo and Fisher says this fall the entire Hornets program is looking strong at all levels.
"The women are getting some numbers back out, and the guys are getting there too, and U-16's are starting up as well," said Fisher. "We're getting there, we're not fully flush but we're looking good."
This weekend the Premier Division men open the season at home against Westshore at 2:45 p.m.
It's part of a triple header at May Bennett Pioneer Park that starts at 11:15 a.m. with the Women's First Division team and then the Premier Men's Reserves have a game at 12:45 p.m.
On twitter: @danmarshall77
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