Harlequins rugby club falls short of third place finish

Penticton Harlequins battled hard in B.C. Rugby Independent Club Division 3 championships

PENTICTN HARLEQUINS SVEN Leisegang makes a tackle with Nigel Dixon

PENTICTN HARLEQUINS SVEN Leisegang makes a tackle with Nigel Dixon

The Penticton Harlequins rugby club gave everything they had in two tough losses in the B.C. Rugby Independent Club Division III Saratoga Cup championship.

On Sunday, the Harlequins fell four points shy of finishing third after losing to the Cranbrook Rocky Mountain Rogues, 36-33.

“We ran out of time,” said Harlequins coach Ken Simpson.

The Harlequins, playing short with only 16 players, led with 2.5 minutes remaining then the Rogues scored a try to go ahead by three. With 30 seconds remaining, the Harlequins had a chance to pull out a victory with a line out play, which they dominated on all year.

“We were throwing in on the 10-metre line from scoring. They won the line out and killed off the time.

“They stole it on us,” Simpson joked.

Despite the loss, Simpson said he is happy how they finished. He felt the weekend was a success, especially with more bodies things could have been different.

The Harlequins ended up playing for third after losing their first match to the eventual Saratoga Cup champion Terrace Northmen 31-5.

Simpson said his group played with a lot of heart and guts. Simpson said his front pack played better than the Northmen, who felt the same. The problem for the Harlequins was their tackling in the back.

“Their backs had some long runs. They had the best backs in the tournament,” said Simpson, whose team trailed 10-5 at half. “Strong running and they had good coaching.”

What impressed Simpson of his team’s performance was the support the players gave each other up front.

“They gave it their all,” said Simpson. “They were dead tired. I’m pretty happy with how they played. They kept playing and stayed positive. They left everything on the field.”

The Northmen defeated the Vernon Jackals to win the championship.