Harlequins get forfeit win against Grizzlies

Lack of practice shows in Harlequins against West Kelowna Grizzlies

Penticton Harlequins Ben Gorrod tries to break the tackle by West Kelowna Grizzlies defender during Sunday’s Okanagan Rugby Union league contest at McNicoll Park. The Grizzlies won the match but forfeited the game due to a lack of regular team players. Below

Penticton Harlequins Ben Gorrod tries to break the tackle by West Kelowna Grizzlies defender during Sunday’s Okanagan Rugby Union league contest at McNicoll Park. The Grizzlies won the match but forfeited the game due to a lack of regular team players. Below

A forfeit by the West Kelowna Grizzlies improved the Penticton Harlequins to 5-0 in Okanagan Rugby Union league play.

The matchup between the two was held at McNicoll Park on Sunday during the conclusion of the Harlequins’ annual Sunfest tournament. Because the Grizzlies had only 10 players (need 15 to play), they forfeited when the Harlequins lent them players as did Enderby and Kelowna.

“It’s our policy with the Okanagan Rugby Union to make the best of every fixture date we have,” said Grizzlies coach Buck Klassen.

With loaned players, the Grizzlies took the game 38-10.

Brandon Messier, No. 8 for the Harlequins, said they could have played better. Messier said the team has lacked practices the last two times because some players failed to attend.

“We were 4-0 so I think it went a little to the guys’ heads. ‘Oh, maybe I don’t need to show up to practice,’” said Messier. “They got the better of us. It was good for us. You have to be knocked down to keep on our “A” game. We can’t just coast.”

Klassen, the founder of the Grizzlies, said it was a great little game.

“They are great,” said Klassen of Penticton. “They play a real energetic game.”

With the Grizzlies being a second-year team, Klassen said they are still in their growing stage. Despite the letdown, Messier said the Harlequins will be ready for their next game against Kelowna this weekend.

Sunfest

The Enderby/Salmon Arm squad defeated the Vancouver Scribes in the tournament final. Gibsons placed third, Williams Lake was fourth, while Simon Fraser University and the Vernon Jackals rounded out the standings.Messier said that Enderby/Salmon Arm came out of nowhere.

“They just stomped over everybody,” said Messier.

On the girls side, the Prince George 101 Whooping Lamas won because Kelowna didn’t show up on Sunday. The Harlequins said it was one of their best tournaments.

“Friday night we had a huge gathering at the rugby clubhouse, we watched the New Zealand/Ireland game,” said Messier. “At the field, we had good games. Saturday was good, we pushed through the rain. We had the dance at the soccer club Saturday night (which included everyone singing plenty of rugby tunes). Sunday people showed up a bit later but they got their games in.”