The Penticton Harlequins opened the Okanagan Rugby Union season by pounding the Salmon Arm Manthers 49-5.
“We kind of put the foot down from the first minute and kept on going,” said Harlequin Danny Hatch. “I think we played very well. Our game plan from the get go was just to keep things simple. We’ve definitely got the athletes in place that is all you really need to do.”
Scoring tries for the Harlequins, the defending ORU champions, was Jesse Conibear and Ropati Faoa with two, Hatch, Brandon Messier, Brenden Ferreira, Glen Burlingame and Connor MacKay-Dunn with one each.
Hatch said their forward pack dominated all over the field. He praised the play of Messier and Brad Martin, who returned to the club after a year off.
“Messier was an unstoppable force on both sides of the ball; and Martin, our scrumhalf and captain, provided the veteran leadership and cool structure that’s needed to be a great scrum half,” said Hatch.
Hatch said the Manthers were a good opponent with some big bodies.
“They were strong. They had a few new faces,” he said. “They definitely never quit.”
However, the Manthers weren’t able to score their lone try until midway through the second half. Hatch said the Harlequins had a bit of a lapse, which can happen when a game is out of reach.
Other players having strong performances for the Harlequins were flanker Chris Hanon punishing the opposition offensively and defensively, which earned him man of the match honours for the forwards. Sophomore fly half Spencer Adams was also named man of the match in the backs, continuing the huge strides he made last year.
It was a big win to start the season. While the score line was important, Hatch said doing things the way they wanted to was moreso. They made tackles, played strong defensively and didn’t take many penalties.
Their next match is April 25 in Vernon against the Jackals.