The Elk Valley Bulls are charging towards provincials after reclaiming the Kootenay Cup in a hard-fought final on the weekend.
The Bulls hosted the Rocky Mountain Rogues on Saturday at Fernie’s Prentice Park, where dozens of supporters cheered from the sidelines.
The game was nail-bitingly close, with both teams only making it across the try line once and Cranbrook failing to convert.
Bulls’ Captain Morgan Butler said James McKay scored Fernie’s only try for five points running out of inside centre before Somhairle Greene made a “brilliant” conversion kick to secure the extra two points needed to win.
It was the lowest scoring game Butler has played against Cranbrook in his six seasons with the club.
“It was an extremely physical game and neither team really shone out in attack, but the defensive effort was monumental on both sides, which is great for finals rugby,” he said.
“I was very happy to see that the team really focused on the training points that coach Andy McFarlane had them working on over the last two weeks since we last met Cranbrook. The aggression, on and off the ball, was really lifted this game and we did a much better job of protecting our own ball in attack.
“Everyone stood up for their teammates either side of them and got their individual jobs right, so I couldn’t be more proud of the team.”
Since the Kootenay Cup was founded in 2013, the Bulls have dominated the competition, taking home the silverware in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 before handing it over to Cranbrook last year.
Butler said it felt “unbelievable” to have the Cup back in Fernie. He believes having a home field advantage for the final this year made all the difference.
“I know the Fernie crowd really energized the guys to get the job done,” he said.
“I’m hoping that the increase in turnouts we’ve had to home games this year continues next season and gets some new players out to training as well.”
Butler added 2020 will be a big year for rebuilding the club after they lose some key positions to visa and work changes.
The Cup win marks the end of the regular season for the Bulls, who have a few more friendly games at home against teams from Nelson and Calgary before heading to Penticton for provincial competition, the Saratoga Cup, in September.