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Squamish's rugby team makes a comeback after COVID-19

Axemen Ruby Club score a win during an exhibition game against the Vancouver Rowers.
Following about a year and a half of no games, Saturday saw an emotional return to rugby action for the Sea to Sky's Axemen Rugby Club.

"This was a great club day; we had 30-plus kids and dads playing community touch, then two great efforts from our guys," said head coach Keith Reeves in a news release.

It was a rugby extravaganza on Sept. 11 in Brennan Park.

That morning started with a game of community touch, followed by matches where the Axemen's 1st and third division teams played their first games since COVID-19 closed most sports down — and it was quite a celebration.

The third division team was a mixture of young and old ranging in ages from 16 to 44, and under difficult circumstances showed brilliant commitment in going down 17-0 and 12-5 to Vancouver teams Kats and Rowing Club,  Ed Harrison bagging their only try.

The main event was a full-blown 80-minute exhibition game against the Rowers' Premiership team, and the Axemen emerged victorious with a score of 26-12.
B.C. representative full back Blake Mahovic got the ball rolling with a 70-metre run, but the Rowers soon levelled to make it 7-7 at the break.

However, the Axemen's fitness began to tip the scales.

Short-range tries from Jeff Nugent and skipper Neil Irwin gave them an unassailable lead, while a-70 metre interception try from assistant coach Steve List was the icing on the cake.

Nugent added three conversions.

"For me the most pleasing thing was how after an 18-month lay off we came back as a club looking stronger. I was quite emotional, and consequently gave my shortest team talk ever," said Reeves in the release.

"The Axemen are back."


**Please note, this story has been corrected since it was first posted. The Chief was originally given incorrect scores.