The Olds High School Spartans were defeated 31-20 in the team's first match of the Central Alberta High School Rugby League season by the Rimbey Junior-Senior High School Spartans on May 1.
The Rimbey squad scored two tries in the first quarter before Olds responded early in the second quarter with a try of their own. The two teams then traded tries before the end of the half. In the second half, Olds scored three more times, including once just before the final whistle, but couldn't catch up to the visitors as Rimbey added two tries to put the game out of reach.
George Grant, the OHS coach, said despite the loss, he was pleased with the way the girls played. The girls previously played in tournament a month ago in Strathmore, but the team has made great strides since.
“We have improved immensely from that time. It's just a matter of us getting a little more experience, a little more confidence in our play and (getting) the girls to play together a little bit more often,” he said.
Grant also said the team needs to improve on its rucking and tackling, as the Spartans gave up too much ground to the Rimbey squad during the match.
“If we can shore up those two things, I'm really pleased with how we did offensively. It's just minor adjustments we have to do. The girls are in the right spot, they just need to react just a little bit quicker,” he said.
Grant said there are several members of the squad who played last year and they will be relied upon to help younger members of the team who will be playing their first games this year at the senior level.
“That's a big adjustment (for the younger players). They go from playing seven a side (to) now they're playing a full 15 a side. It's a faster game, there's more bodies out there, it's a larger field, so there's still that learning curve that's going to be there,” he said.
Grant said even the Grade 12 players on the squad are learning the finer points of the game.
“As long as they keep learning, we're moving in the right direction,” he said.