Lakers earn convincing win

Lakers crush past Bears to advance to B.C. Rugby Union High School provincial championship

The AAA Okanagan Valley rugby tilt between the Pen High Lakers and Mt. Boucherie Bears didn’t lack a physical presence. Above

The AAA Okanagan Valley rugby tilt between the Pen High Lakers and Mt. Boucherie Bears didn’t lack a physical presence. Above

Emily MacKay’s try early into the Pen High Lakers AAA Okanagan Valley rugby match clinched a victory over the Mt. Boucherie Bears.

MacKay’s score wasn’t the only offence the Lakers received. It was the first of seven in the opening half to give them a 39-0 lead. The final was 61-0 as Kendra Penner, Adrienne Penner and Sabrina Warkentin each scored two tries. Warkentin also kicked two conversions and Teesha Jung had the other.

While trying hard to bring down the Lakers and correct mistakes, the Bears couldn’t contain the Lakers attack.

“We’ve got a really balanced attack,” said Lakers coach Ian Butters. “We have very, very fast players. Adrienne Penner, one of the fastest rugby players male or female I have ever seen, when she gets the ball in hand with any kind of space, she’s gone.”

Her speed was evident as twice she blew past Bears defenders to score easy tries. The Lakers scored at will once they broke tackles.

Kendra Penner was described by Butters as “just about unstoppable.”

“Our forwards are big and strong and brave,” said Butters. “Their technique is getting better all the time. We are able to ruck over the ball and win possession. They have good technical skills. There isn’t a weak sister on this team.”

To start the second half,  the Bears walked back on the field feeling motivated. One player was being encouraging by saying they were starting 0-0. While they played better defensively, the Lakers still managed 22 points. The Lakers’ Mel MacKay said the Bears gave a good effort and played better, but felt they did too. While the Lakers did good things, MacKay said there is room to improve. Lakers captain Kaitlin Kennedy was proud of her teammates.

Butters agreed they didn’t give the Bears much opportunity to generate offence, but added that it will be interesting to see how his players react against more sophisticated attacks.

“We haven’t been having to defend against a very sophisticated offence,” he said. “In provincials, we are going to see teams from the coast who play a lot of rugby. It’s not going to be as easy.”

The Lakers next game is Monday at McNicoll Park starting at approximately 4 or 4:30 p.m. against the winner of North Kamloops or Salmon Arm. The B.C. Rugby Union High School Girls Provincials will be at the University of British Columbia from May 23 to 25.