Ardens rugby squad enjoys early success

Steven Mah
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In their sophomore campaign the Swift Current Comp. Ardens rugby team opened the season with a somewhat surprising result in Brandon over the weekend with three wins and a single loss.

Ardens rugby squad enjoys early success

In their sophomore campaign the Swift Current Comp. Ardens rugby team opened the season with a somewhat surprising result in Brandon over the weekend with three wins and a single loss. Friday the Ardens opened their season with a 48-0 win over Springfield Collegiate led by a trio of tries from Shelby Beisel. Lisa Campbell, Ammaysha Banman, Kelsey Beisel, Larissa Wegren, and Tamia Nickel each added tries. Kelsey Beisel and Banman both added a pair of converts in the season opening win. Saturday morning the Ardens made it two for two with a 12-5 win over Brandon Vincent Massey. Kelsey Beisel paced the Ardens with a pair of tries, while Banman added a convert. In their third match the Ardens suffered their first loss with a 21-5 defeat to the defending provincial champions from Swan River. Kelsey Beisel scored the lone try in the loss. Sunday the Ardens rebounded for a 37-5 win over Crocus Plains led by three more tries from Kelsey Beisel as well as a convert and a penalty goal. Nickel, Shelby Beisel, and Amanda Farnsworth all added tries, while Banman chipped in a convert. Ardens head coach Chris Chapman said it was nice to have some early season success. "Even the victory in the loss was that we lost to the defending Manitoba champions from Swan Valley where we lost 21-5 but we were in the game all the way which was nice. What an improvement from these girls though, they get the game now which is really nice." Approximately two-thirds of the Ardens' thirty players have returned this season allowing the Ardens to focus on some more complex areas of the game. "That is where we are right now is that the basics we don't have to worry about it," said Chapman. "The basics for those girls that are new are being taught by the other girls. So we are going from all rookies to some sophomore girls that know the game a little bit and that is making a world of difference." Grade 12 Shelby Beisel, a second-year outside centre and fullback, described the opening weekend saying it was, "Oh breathtaking, it was shocking, just unbelievable, and a surprise. I couldn't really believe it, I didn't think it was going to come but we all pulled together pretty good." She says the team has come a long ways since its inception last season. "Well like Chapman said we were four years old throughout the whole season and out of this one tournament we made it up to 10 years old so it was a huge improvement." As for what attracts her to such an unfamiliar sport, she says, "Just the adrenaline rush, the power, and just being able to take people out pretty much." Younger sister Kelsey Beisel, a grade 10 rookie who plays four different positions, shares her sister's sentiments. "Just having the power and the ability to run with the ball and take people down." The rookie Beisel sister is quickly adjusting to the sport. "It has been really good, it seems confusing at first but when you get on the field and play it just all comes together and is really fun." As for the her hopes for the team Kelsey Beisel says, "Just do the best we can and try to get more wins, and just better ourselves every year." The Ardens will be back on the field this Saturday for a pair of exhibition games against visiting Lethbridge at 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. at Riverside Field. The Ardens have also joined the Regina league where they will be playing regularly in Regina on Wednesday nights. The Ardens rugby team also has plans to host a home tournament in May, as well as attend tournaments in Lethbridge and in Lloydminster. smah@swbooster.com

Geographic location: Brandon, Swan River, Manitoba Swan Valley Lethbridge Regina Lloydminster

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