Garth Cooke of the Vernon Jackals shakes off full back David Bellomo of the Penticton Harlequins in the men’s rugby final Saturday at Grahame Park. Lisa VanderVelde/Black Press

Harlequins can’t tame the Jackals

The Penticton Harlequins challenged the Vernon Jackals for the championship title but came up short.

In their last rugby game the Jackals pulled out a last second three point victory, so this time they didn’t want to put anything to chance defeating the Harlequins 53-10.

“The Jackals knew we had to come out hot for this game and put up points early and that is exactly what we did as we went to a kick and chase strategy early and capitalized off field position and a couple lucky bounces,” said Jackals coach Bryan Cragg.

Inside centre Kyle Richardson had his best game of the season scoring two try’s and running the back line which scored almost at will. At the halfway mark of the game Vernon had a 23-5 lead but the Harlequins have a habit this season of being a second-half team and making some big comebacks.

Penticton stayed true to game and as expected came out hard and scored within minutes of the restart, flipping momentum as Vernon put themselves down by two players by taking penalties. After giving up another score, veteran Jackals players Garth Cooke and Josh Cooper settled the young team and got things back on track as the home team coasted to a 53-10 victory and a chance to play for a provincial title July 29 hosted in Penticton, in which Vernon placed second last season.

In the women’s draw, the Vernon Lady Jackals lost 34-10 to the Salmon Arm Yetis.

“The whole day went perfectly, the progress our girls have made in the last month is mind blowing, they looked extremely sharp out there” said Cragg, “And our guys came out and played our most complete game all year, we look forward to taking that next step and becoming provincial champs”

Both the men and the women play in the Saratoga Cup on July 29.