Ten visiting rugby teams are converging in Penticton this weekend as the Harlequins Rugby Club hosts their annual Sunfest tournament.
The Harlequins are represented by a men’s and women’s team.
“We were hoping for a little bit more,” said Harlequins coach Ken Sommerfeldt on the women’s side, which has three teams. “Having nine men’s teams in the tournament is a step up from previous years so that’s good. We’re moving in the right direction there.”
Teams are traveling from the Lower Mainland, Trail, Williams Lake and Merritt. Sommerfeldt said there is a lot of excitement within the club for their biggest fundraising initiative. In years past, because of the time required to organize and a lack of players, the Harlequins men’s team hasn’t played. This year the group decided to join the fun.
“This is as good as any year as we’ve had to actually win our own tourney,” said Sommerfeldt, adding that in the 33 years he has been in Penticton he can’t recall when the Harlequins won it. “The feeling is that we do have the team if we put it all together, we can actually do that. That’s a goal right now.”
The Harlequins last played May 31 defeating Salmon Arm 29-26 and improving to 4-0 in the Okanagan Rugby Union.
As for ensuring the tournament is run smoothly, the Harlequins have received lots of help from players, friends and alumni.
During the tournament there will be a beverage garden and food for players and spectators. On Saturday evening, there is an outdoor party at Skaha Lake across from the Barefoot Beach Resort until 10 p.m.. It’s a new addition to the weekend for the Sunfest tournament that also includes dinner.
“I’m hoping that turns out really well,” said Sommerfeldt, adding that they want a large group of the rugby community to attend.
The tournament begins Saturday morning at McNicoll Park and concludes early Sunday afternoon.