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Flyers swoop into city to win sevens tourney

F.P. Walshe Flyers

Pirates Sevens Tournament champion F.P. Walshe Flyers. Back row, from left: coach Andrew Walmsley, Ruby Kinsella, Jane O’Connor, Sarah Gregory, Kaitlin Quinlan and Chelsey Joel. Front row: Eden Hoff, Bella Gunderson, Ashley Gunderson, Shannon Chisholm and Bailey Perry. Photo by Robin Chisholm.

A group of small town girls made their mark Saturday in the big city.
F.P. Walshe Flyers went undefeated to win the Pirates high school girls’ sevens rugby tournament at Edmonton.
Senior varsity players Bella Gunderson, Jane O’Connor, Eden Hoff, Bailey Perry, Shannon Chisholm, Ashley Gunderson, Ruby Kinsella, Kaitlin Quinlan, Sarah Gregory and Chelsey Joel made the trip to the provincial capital.
The Flyers served notice early they were a force to be reckoned with, going undefeated in their pool.
“We improved greatly every game as the tourney went on,” Flyers coach Andrew Walmsley said. “Sevens requires a different mentality than 15s and it took the girls a game or two to get used to using the whole field and to using the amount of space available in the sevens game.”
The Flyers beat Matthew Halton Hawks from Pincher Creek 22-0 in their first game.
Ruby Kinsella scored two tries and kicked a convert to lead F.P. Walshe with 12 points. Single tries were scored by Bella Gunderson and Eden Hoff.
The Flyers lined up against Bellerose Composite from St. Albert for their second game, winning 32-0.
“Both teams were 1-0 coming into the game so we knew this game would decide who won our pool and made it into the semifinals,” Walmsley said.
Ruby Kinsella and Kaitlin Quinlan each scored two tries. Eden Hoff scored a try and added a convert. Jane O’Connor scored a try.
The Flyers final game in their pool was against J. Percy Page school from Edmonton.
The Edmonton team hadn’t won a game and the Flyers cruised to an easy 39-0 win.
Sarah Gregory scored three tries and Eden Hoff and Kaitlin Quinlan each had two tries and one convert.
Winning their pool put the Flyers into the semifinals against Matthew Halton, who had come through the back door.
“By now our girls had found their stride and we left no doubt as we ran to a convincing 46-0 victory,” Walmsley said.
Ruby Kinsella led all scorers with three tries and two converts for 19 points.
Jane O’Connor scored one try and added a convert and Chelsey Joel, Shannon Chisholm, Eden Hoff and Kaitlin Quinlan each had a try.
That win advanced the flyers to the final against Bev Facey school from Sherwood Park.
Bev Facey is a provincial power in rugby and had cruised through their pool games.
“It was a repeat of the final game last year, which we won, so we knew Facey would be out for revenge,” Walmsley said.
Bev Facey scored the first try early in the game, but the Flyers took the ensuing kickoff and after some beautiful teamwork Shannon Chisholm scored.
Walmsley said the Flyers took control of the game on the ensuing kickoff when they devastated the Bev Facey team with three crushing tackles from Ruby Kinsella, Jane O’Connor and Eden Hoff, which led to a turnover on which the Flyers capitalized.
The Flyers relied on tenacious defence, hard tackling and great passing to win 27-10.
In addition to Shannon Chisholm’s try the Flyers got two tries from Kaitlin Quinlan, a try and a convert from Ruby Kinsella and a single try by Eden Hoff.

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