DJ Warkentin of the Penticton Harlequins tries to push through a crowd of Vernon Jackals during the Harlequins home opener of the Okanagan Rugby Union on Saturday at McNicoll Park field. The two teams ended the game in a deadlock, tied 15-15. (Jordyn Thomson – Western News Staff)

Okanagan rugby titans battle it out in season opener

The Penticton Harlequins and Vernon Jackals played to a draw in rugby season opener

The initial season battle of the Okanagan rugby titans, the Penticton Harlequins and Vernon Jackals, ended in a 15-15 deadlock last Saturday.

The same two teams met in last year’s Okanagan Rugby Union playoffs in Vernon with the Jackals prevailing in a 24-22 final and went up to finish runner’s up in the provincial finals.

READ ALSO: Jackals have last laugh on Harlequins

Harlequins’ playing coach Brenden Ferreira described the first match of the season as “another hard-hitting encounter” which he added is the usual kind of play when the two clubs do battle.

“No one really likes a draw, but I am happy with the marker we laid down today,” said Ferreira.” As the season progresses I know we will improve. We have a bigger squad this year and have built on the structures we implemented last year.”

The Harlequins came out as expected and used their larger forwards to grind down the Jackals defence and took advantage of a handling error by Vernon in their own end and before the 10-minute mark, Harlequin captain Nigel Dixon plunged in for the game’s first score.

The early game jitters continued for the defending champs as they committed turnovers and penalties for the remainder of the first half and allowed another forward try for the home side and the Jackals going down 10-0.

It took until the final play before the halftime whistle for the Jackals to show signs of life when Bryan Cragg took a three-quarter field scamper to get on the board and cut the deficit to only five points.

Halftime adjustments were key to getting back in this game for Vernon as just minutes after kick off Jackals east coast rookie Trey Horton sidestepped a defender on his way to a 30-yard score on the sideline to even things up.

The next 20 minutes were fairly back and forth with the Harlequins stealing multiple scrums and benefiting from some timely penalty calls which allowed them to grease in one more try with a goal-line push.

With time winding down and the Jackals needing to make something happen, big bodied back Travis Beck carried four Harlequins into the end zone to square things up late, and with neither team converting any kicks the game ended with a rare 15-15 tie.

There are a few new players on the Penticton squad this year and he said they turned in strong showings.

READ ALSO:Harlequins back with a murder of Crows

“We are optimistic for the year, and early signs are good,” said Ferreira.

The Harlequins will be back in action Saturday when they host the Kelowna Crows at McNicoll Park Oval with kick off at 1 p.m.



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Send Mark Brett an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Penticton resident’s dog found safe

Nicholas Bozak thanks the public for finding his 17 month old mastiff chow

Survivorship Dragon Boat Team wins in Vernon

Team takes top spot in A division at festival

RDOS contributes funds to arts centre workshop

South Okanagan Performing Arts Centre Society wants input into proposed facility

Great horned owls returned to the wild in the South Okanagan

Great horned owls plucked by crows from their nest last April have been released back into the wild

Youth Wellness Gathering aims to empower, educate South Okanagan youth

The event is hosted by a non-profit located on the Penticton Indian Band (PIB) reserve July 22 & 23

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Kelowna car thief’s sentencing delayed

Stanley Nickason pled guilty car theft charges in B.C. Supreme Court

Development gives Kelowna community garden the boot

Glen Valley residents given a few days to break it down before land development

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

World-famous sopranos to hold concert in Okanagan

Two Canadian sopranos are bringing their world-famous voices to the Okanagan for one night only

Kelowna RCMP release video of reckless theft out of Southwest Mission

“Their tactics were anything but subtle,” states Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Most Read