Whistler Rugby League: Who are the Whistler Wildcats?
Gibbons Life is proud to be the sponsor of the Whistler rugby league team – the Whistler Wildcats who stepped onto the pitches for the first time this summer.
Originally from Sydney, Australia, Daniel Loader and Darren Booth are the two rugby enthusiasts behind the Whistler Wildcats. Although it was the skiing and snowboarding that initially brought them to Canada, in the summer months they missed playing rugby, which had been a huge part of their lives back home.
As Whistler attracts people from the UK, New Zealand and Australia where the sport is predominantly played, it wasn’t hard for Loader and Booth to round up a group eager to take part in a regular league. They approached Gibbons Life with the idea of creating a formal Whistler rugby league team and hosting games throughout the summer months, but they needed the funds to get the team off the ground. Recognizing their passion for rugby and the community’s evident enthusiasm, Gibbons Life stepped up to support them.
This summer is the first time the Whistler Wildcats take to the fields, playing teams from the Sea to Sky, Vancouver and Seattle.
On Saturday, July 12 the Whistler Wildcats played their second game of the summer against the Coastal Cougars from North Vancouver at Whistler Secondary School in Alpine. With temperatures in the mid thirties the game started fast and furious with both teams giving little away. The Wildcats were out a few players due to injuries and it showed with some of the pacier Cougars finding gaps.
The Wildcats defense held strong and a near try close to the end of the first half was effectively held up. Things took a turn for the worse though when two Wildcat reserves came onto the pitch early with the referee coming down on them hard with the flash of a red card for both players.
This depleted the Wildcat’s already dwindled reserves and as the second half started it wasn’t long before the Cougars scored the first try of the match. Enraged, the Wildcats lashed back with a try of their own by their No.7, Taylor Sorensen, only they converted theirs edging two points ahead. Just when things were looking good their No.11, Darren Booth, was sent off the pitch for ten minutes for arguing with the referee, unsteadying the team yet again. Energy levels dropped and the Cougars pounced scoring two tries and converting one.
The Wildcats looked tried and frustrated, with the clock ticking down and the scores not in their favour. A valiant run by the fresh-legged Booth returning to the pitch led to a hand off to their quick-footed No.4, Daniel McInerney, giving the slowing game a new pace and leading to a much needed try scored by Ben Baggot, No.3 coming from a great pass by Sorensen.
Invigorated, the Wildcats were back in the game with minutes to go. The third Wildcat try of the match was scored by Baggot again after an off-load from the Wildcats’ Captain No.13 Daniel Loader, which was then neatly converted. The winning try then came from an amazing flick pass by Baggot resulting in a score by No.2, Ryan Hunt, winning the Wildcats the game.
It only goes to prove that when a wildcat finds itself in a corner it will battle a cougar to get out.