Jan Vreys of the Vernon Jackals handles the ball with DJ Warkentin of the Penticton Harlequins in pursuit in a previous meeting. (Western News file photo)

Okanagan teams to meet in rugby final for fourth time

The Penticton Harlequins and Vernon Jackals to meet in Okanagan Rugby Union final

The Penticton Harlequins RFC and arch-rival Vernon Jackals, for the fourth time in as many years, will be going head-to-head to determine the Okanagan Rugby Union champs.

The Harlequins were to have played Salmon Arm Manthers in the semi-final playoff match this weekend, however, the Manthers conceded the match moving them into the finals against the Jackals in Vernon, July 6.

Last weekend, the Harlequins gave up their first loss of the season to the Jackals in Vernon, a 55-34 setback sending them to the semis.

“We were short on numbers, having only two subs,” said Penticton playing coach Brenden Ferreira. “Vernon has a large game-day squad and that hurt us near the end of the game.”

With just 20 minutes to play, the Harlequins were still in contention, trailing by just two points when they lost another player due to injury. According to the coach, things went downhill from there.

Up to that point, it had been a close game, hard as usual,” said Ferreira.”The combination of the heat and lack of subs proved a little too much for us. It is what it is, and we now have a couple of weeks to get everyone fit and healthy again so we can give the final a good shot.”

READ MORE: Okanagan rugby tournament a sudsy success

In their only other meeting this year, the clubs played to a draw in the season opener.

This time around, the Harlequins will be looking to put the past behind them and win the league title for the first time in four years.

READ MORE: Penticton Harlequins remain undefeated in Okanagan Rugby Union

Vernon won last year with a hard-fought 24-22 decision.

The winner will advance to the Saratoga Cup which is usually hosted by Penticton, the date and location to be confirmed by the B.C. Rugby Union in the near future. It is contested by teams from three regions, the Okanagan, Interior and the Kootenays. Penticton last won the cup in 2015.



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Michael Deboer, left, of the Vernon Jackals, and Parker Thompson of the Penticton Harlequins eye a loose ball in a prior match. (Western News file photo)

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