NANAIMO — The Hornets Rugby program is up and running for the season with both the Men’s and Women’s sides two weeks into their competitive matches.
The Women’s squad is off to an 0-2 start but optimism is high that the Hornets will be going to the playoffs.
Team captain Kayla Fenrick says the team is in a development year but with lots of training still to come the outlook is bright.
“We have some great girls with a lot of experience, new girls coming in that are already showing a lot of potential on the field. I think it’s just a matter of bringing everyone together,” said Fenrick.
Women’s coach Chad Pinda says there’s a strong history with the program going back to the 1990’s.
In 2005 the Hornets won the Premier Division title and he has a strong connection to that team with his wife and sister in law both playing on the squad.
The 2018 roster is about 25 players with ages ranging from 18 up to some veteran players in their mid 30’s.
Fenrick has played in a few different places in her career, including New Zealand, but says there’s something special about the Nanaimo Hornets Club.
She’s heard the same thing from other teams when they come to May Bennett Pioneer Park to play the Hornets.
“We pull everyone in and have really great interaction, the Men’s team, the Women’s team, the U-18, the Seniors, the Old Boys, everyone works really well together and supports each other, explained Fenrick. "It’s tons of fun and the sport itself is amazing”
The Women practice twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays and in a show of dedication at their practice on September 17th they were battling through on field drills even after the sun went down.
Here’s a short video of the Monday practice.
One of the returning players Megan O’Neill says the team is starting to get their numbers up now that the season has begun.
“We started training in August and we had some low numbers to start. I’d say our first two games have gone really well. We’ve been a little bit short on people but this weekend at home we have a full squad” said O’Neill.
On Saturday the Hornets play the Castaway Wanderers from Victoria.
They are a Premier Division side while the Hornets are ranked as a Division 1 team, but with the rosters that both teams are expected to have this weekend the Hornets are confident they can get their first win of the season.
Coach Pinda says game days are very competitive on the field but there’s a lot of camaraderie off the field.
“Game day you’re grumpy, you’re crusty, anything will set you off. You’re just building for that kickoff. You’re going to do everything you can to beat your opponent but then afterwards you’re going to come inside, have a drink, and talk about it,” said Pinda.
This Saturday is a typical match day with the Hornets teams all playing.
The Women play at 11:15 a.m. followed by the Reserve squad at 12:45 p.m. and then the Men’s Premier team at 2:30 p.m.
Both Fenrick and O’Neill say game days are a real family atmosphere with all the teams either coming early or staying late to support each other.
There are a lot of friends and family throughout the different levels of the Hornets and the one constant on match day is the young kids at all the matches having a great time.
For information about the Hornets and the game schedule you can check out their facebook page.
On twitter: @danmarshall77