Clay Cole reaches to try and make the tag on his opponent. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Okanagan rugby tournament a sudsy success

The Penticton Harlequins hosted their annual 14-team Sunfest Tournament on the weekend

Salad. It really was salad in that cooler.

Penticton Harlequins Sunfest tourney chair Brandon Messier was spotted pulling a large wheeled container across the rugby pitch at McNicoll Park during a fun touch game after the final of the annual event Sunday.

Stopping along the way amid the players running past him he offered up the contents to anyone interested.

Needless to say at this 14-team event, which attracts entries from as far away as Alberta and Vancouver Island, this was one of the few coolers that didn’t contain the beverage of choice for most players.

“It is a full social tournament and is about the spirit of rugby, playing hard on the field, friendship, songs, dancing and a bunch of beer,” said Messier afterwards. “To win Sunfest you must not just be best on field but good on and best off field, in full rugby spirit.”

Divisions included the regular mens’ side as well as womens and old timers.

While the Harlequins did field a couple of teams in the competition the players’ main focus is to make sure everyone has a great time so finishing last was actually a sign of a tournament well played according to organizers.

When the suds cleared it was the Barenaked Dragons of Vancouver/Maple Ridge taking first place in field play while the Williams Lakers Rustlers claimed the title of the ultimate on and off the field champs.

READ MORE: Penticton Harlequins remain undefeated in Okanagan Rugby Union

Victoria’s Ebb Tide took home the old boys trophy and the Kelowna women emerged winners.

The Harlequins will get back to serious business Saturday when they travel to meet their arch rivals, the Vernon Jackals in Okanagan Rugby Union league play.

READ MORE: Okanagan rugby titans battle it out in season opener

The two teams have met the last three years in the league finals, the Jackals winning all three games. In their only meeting this year, the teams played to a 15-15 tie in the season opener. Both teams remain undefeated and tied for first place in the standings.

The semi finals are scheduled for June 22 and the final July 6, the winner of which goes to the provincial championship in September.



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Chairman Brandon Messier of the Penticton Harlequins Sunfest Rugby tournament pulls a cooler containing - salad - across the pitch during the fun game at the end of the event. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Lucas Stubbins tries to avoid opponents Josh Freisen, centre, and Rob Gajda at the Penticton Harlequins Sunfest Tournament Sunday. (Mark Brett - Western News)

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