Harlequins lose in Sunfest finale

Harlequins men's team reach Sunfest finals for first time while women's team sees improvement

PENTICTON HARLEQUINS Jesse Conibear is taken down with the ball with teammates Jay Hacking

PENTICTON HARLEQUINS Jesse Conibear is taken down with the ball with teammates Jay Hacking

Williams Lake won the Penticton Harlequins Sunfest rugby tournament title game 19-5 at McNicoll Park, but the hosts were still happy with the finish.

“I think that’s one of the first times we’ve made it to the final,” said Harlequins coach Ken Sommerfeldt. “I’m relatively happy. I think the game was probably a little closer. There was two converted tries by Williams Lake that came off mind-freeze goof-ups.”

Had it not been for that, Sommerfeldt is convinced the final would have been 5-5. The Harlequins coached described the finale as intense with solid running and hard tackling.

“It was certainly good, hard hitting,” said Sommerfeldt. “A well-fought affair.”

Prior to the final, the Harlequins were 3-0 with wins over Gibsons, 19-17, Trail, 17-5, and Merritt, 17-10 in the semifinal.

On the women’s side, which featured Kelowna, Ridge Meadows and the Harlequins, Kelowna won both their games, but didn’t stay for the final. The Harlequins lost 35-7 to Kelowna. Adrienne Penner scored a try for the home side with Jana Clarke kicking the convert. The Harlequins also lost to Ridge Meadows 35-24 and faced them again Sunday, losing 17-12 while playing seven a side.

Harlequins coach Mike Bevan wasn’t sure what to expect heading into the weekend.

“They have improved a lot,” said Bevan, of the Harlequins, who he began coaching in May. “The talent is there.”

Bevan liked that his group played as a team and showed desire.

The Harlequins are looking for more players and anyone interested in trying is welcome to attend practices Monday and Wednesday at 7 p.m. at McNicoll Park.

As for the men’s team, they are to be returning to action on July 5 when they play for the Okanagan Rugby Union championship. The Harlequins finished first in the ORU and Sommerfeldt is waiting to confirm that date. Sommerfeldt said a small controversy has been created with a couple of teams missing games and trying to push back the championship for July 12.

“I told them that’s not acceptable,” said Sommerfeldt. “The Harlequins are geared up for July 5.”