We started from the bottom… literally. Four seasons ago, the oldest active rugby club in North America was struggling to make all of its games. Four seasons ago, the club only had one team composed of some players who had never played before, some experienced players, and a bunch of lads looking to have a good time. Fast forward to 2013, the Westmount Ravens Rugby Football Club now has 2 senior men’s teams, a women’s team, and is expanding its U18 and mini-junior programs. The progress of the club has been astounding, winning the 3rd division in 2011, losing by one point in the final championship game of the 2012 season, and arriving to the semi-finals in the 2013 season.
It’s been a development year for the women’s team and with that comes all the trials and tribulations that one can imagine. Rugby is a unique sport; recruiting can be difficult and therefore fielding a full team per game was not always feasible. Despite the difficulties, one thing is undeniable: this team has heart. The women played games where they were only 12 against 15, a battle not many could survive without a few war wounds. Somehow, however, they still kept coming back for more. Each hurdle proved fruitful in some respect, and with it they’ve grown to know their full potential. Rugby 7′s season has already begun and the women are putting together an impressive team. Get ready for next year, Westmount fans – they’ll be bigger, faster, and those war wounds will be a thing of the past!
The 2013 men’s season proved to be a turning point for Westmount. Having been the top club for two years running in the 3rd division, the Ravens were promoted to the 2nd division. Needless to say, the level of competition went up. The first half of the season was a huge wake-up call for the club. Gone were the games where the boys would dominate matches from beginning to end. As the season got underway, the Ravens had to completely re-evaluate what it meant to play in the 2nd division. The Ravens started from the bottom,but they never gave up. Regardless of injuries and other difficulties, the Ravens always strove to field its two men’s teams and to bring the fight to the opposition.
Halfway through the season, the Ravens started turning things around, and got their bearings with the caliber of rugby the new division presented. Through hard work and perseverance, Westmount reached the semi-finals, having beaten the Montréal XV in the quarter-finals. The semi-final playoff game was played against the Ottawa Beavers, a team that had soundly beaten the Ravens twice during the regular season. As they say in football: on any given Sunday, any team may win. The game was played at the Beavers’ home field, and the Ravens showed up ready to play, with a fine delegation of fans having made the trip from Montréal to support their club.
The match was a tightly contested affair. From the get-go, the Ravens didn’t give an inch, and worked on executing the pre-established game plan. The Beavers got on the scoreboard first, and shortly after the Ravens replied. Again, the Beavers scored, but the Ravens, unfazed, replied to the attack and by half-time, the score was Westmount 12 – 10 Ottawa. The second half of the game would prove to be an even tighter contest, with the Ravens relentlessly pushing the attack, having two tries disallowed, and Ottawa scoring the only try of the half. Regardless of the final score, the match was a victory for Westmount, who, after a rough season, had still made it to the semifinals during its first year in the 2nd division.
The social aspect of the club was another great success. Family day was a fantastic day, with old boys, juniors, family and friends coming out to enjoy a perfect summer day. The festivities kicked off mid-morning with the juniors putting on exhibition matches. This was followed by the Old Boys taking the pitch and putting on a clinic of skill and having a good time all around. By lunch time, the barbecue was fired up, the burgers and hot started flowing and the both men’s teams prepared to face off their opponents. By the end of the day, the Ravens had beaten their opposition. This year also saw Brutopia Brew Pub become the home pub for the club. Rookie night, beginning of season kick-off, post-game beers all happened at Brutopia, and the lads bonded off the pitch as well.
Now, the club looks to regroup, recoup and recruit. During the off-season, the Ravens will be looking at preparing for next year, participating in the 7’s League and getting a well-deserved rest after a grueling summer. The Ravens would like to thank their spouses, girlfriends and boyfriends, families and friends, old boys and not so old boys, and every single person who cheered on and supported the club throughout the season. We couldn’t have made it without you, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.