Pa’kit a good warm up for rugby teams

Penticton Secondary hosts rugby tournament that helps the athletes learn how to play the game

PHONG LEE of the Princess Margaret Mustangs

PHONG LEE of the Princess Margaret Mustangs

Pa’kit is about learning to play rugby.

Pen High Laker senior girls coach Ian Butters described it as an early season shakedown as opposed to the on-going practices that precede it. With a team comprised of mainly rookies, Butters watched his players perform better than expected going 3-0. They defeated Kamloops’ Valleyview 42-7, dumped North Surrey 36-0 and beat Surrey’s Clayton Heights 10-7. The last game was won on a last minute try by Anika Holowaty.

Butters said he wanted to see his rookies get a sense of competitive rugby with flow and action. They wanted to see their veterans get a chance to provide leadership and maturity.

“We saw both in spades,” said Butters in an email.

The Princess Margaret Mustangs played their final game against the South Delta Sun Devils. Darren Grant, coach of the Sun Devils, felt the junior team played well and are learning how to play with class and be gentlemen.

“When our seniors ran into injury problems our juniors stepped up and not only filled in but played strong rugby,” said Grant. “In the final seniors game, we had nine juniors on the field at one time.”

Grant said they have an athletic team and he wanted them to go beyond just individual effort and play as a team. He added that the time they spent at this tournament went a long way towards them coming together on and off the field.

“They had a lot of fun doing it too, we’ll be back,” he said. “I think the boys learn as much or more off the field as on and they really enjoyed being in Penticton together. I think when all the fields are ready next year and more junior teams attend it will be even better.”

The Lakers senior boys tied a game and lost twice. While coach Ken Sommerfeldt said on the field success wasn’t what they wanted, the learning process was good.

“We put a lot of players in the game regardless of their experience because it was more important to get everyone playing than worrying about putting the best side on to win,” said Sommerfeldt. “The boys got valuable playing time in prior to the real season. It’s easier for them to understand what we are trying to do in practice when they’ve had a chance to deal with it in a game. What was important for them is that they showed definite improvement from game to game.”

Sommerfeldt said he was happy with the quality of teams in the boys’ senior draw. He also noticed that no team was significantly better than the rest.

“I thought we had a good mix there and the players all showed lots of respect on the pitch for the game officials and their opposition players,” said Sommerfeldt. “That mindset will change next week when our league season starts.”

For the Lakers senior boys team,  their season started Wednesday in North Kamloops. The Lakers earned a 29-13 win as they returned to the AAA level after a four-year absence. Sommerfeldt was quite happy.

“It was a strong win,” he said. “We dominated early and it was clear within the first 15 minutes that we were the stronger team.”

What Sommerfeldt discovered is that the fitness levels of his players need to be better. Scoring for the Lakers were Parker Berry, Wes Van Camp, Kyle Patton, Nakai Penny and Will Hardy. Scoring two conversions for the Lakers was Nico Carboni.

The girls host South Kamloops on April 15.

Interior 7s rugby

The Kelowna Owls will look to defend their Interior 7s rugby title on Friday at KSS.

The eight-team tournament will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature eight teams from Kamloops to Penticton.

One other local team, the Kelowna Christian Knights, will be competing.

The games are brief, each just 15 minutes in length, and feature seven players per side. The tournament champion will represent the Interior at the B.C 7s championship April 26 and 27 at UBC in Vancouver.

— Story written with files from the Kelowna Capital News.