Harlequns win Okanagan Rugby Union by default

The Penticton Harlequins win ORU after the Vernon Jackals concede due to roster problems

The Penticton Harlequins rugby club won the Okanagan Rugby Union without having to play for it.

The ORU was decided by default because Salmon Arm/Enderby Manthers and the Vernon Jackals ran into roster issues after trying to change the schedule since they missed a game. The ORU championship was originally scheduled for Penticton’s McNicoll Park on July 5.

Sommerfeldt said they were told Tuesday the Jackals were conceding the ORU.

“It’s not the way we wanted to win the league, but I guess we will take it,” said Harlequins coach Ken Sommerfeldt. “We had lost a few players as well, but we had enough to have a viable squad out.”

In an email, Jackals coach Mike Scheller said it was a tough weekend for the team with several players out of town working. Several Jackals work in Alberta or up north.

“We just did not have the commitment to play from them and other members of our squad,” said Scheller. “The Harlequins were the class of the ORU and are fully deserving of the league championship.”

Next up for the Harlequins, who went undefeated at 4-0, is the Saratoga Cup, which they host in mid September, which they have hosted the last four years.

“We wanted to get back in the Saratoga Cup,” said Sommefeldt, adding that they won it two years ago. “We would like to get it back again.”

The Penticton has hosted the Saratoga Cup because the British Columbia Rugby Union, which sponsors the championship, has been pleased with the job Penticton organizers have done in hosting.

“They said as long as we want to host it, and there’s no big objections from other clubs, that we’ve got it,” said Sommerfeldt. “Every year the Harlequins say yes.”