Arlen Fifield of the Vernon Jackals chases a Dragon ball player at the Penticton Sunfest. (Emanuel Sequeira/Black Press Sports)

Jackals third in Sunfest

The Vernon Jackals took third place in the Penticton Harlequins Rugby Sunfest last weekend.

The Bearnaked Dragons of Vancouver/Maple Ridge stopped the Williams Lake Rustlers in the final.

The Jackals kicked off the tournament by playing the sturdy Merritt Barbarians who were getting their first rugby action of the season.

Merritt lived up to their reputation of being a hard-hitting and determined team but couldn’t slow down the Jackal backs Travis Beck and Clay Coles who scored two tries apiece in a decisive win.

Vernon then lost a close one to the defending champions, a team made up of Ridge Meadow players and SFU alumni.

The Jackals found themselves down big early and spent the rest of the game trying to claw back but a last-minute serge led by veteran Aussie Rich Rankin wasn’t enough to overcome the poor start.

Vernon went to the consolation final Sunday morning where they played against an amalgamation of the host Penticton players, Merritt and even a few Williams Lake enthusiasts who were looking to join in. The Jackals pulled it together one more time and squeaked out a tight win.

The Vernon Lady Jackals, meanwhile, made the trip down and played a team from Kelowna mostly made up of Division 1 players from the Kelowna Crows Rugby Club.

A fairly new squad from Vernon was in deep against their seasoned opponents who quickly took a sizable lead.

“The girls, all of which seeing their first tournament rugby, never quit and led by captain Jen Schneider, they firmed up their defence and were able to come up with multiple goal-line stands, which eventually led to a Jackals try off a long run,” said acting Vernon coach Bryan Cragg. “The social tournament was won by that same Kelowna team on the women’s side.

“As far as social rugby, Sunfest is the one to go to; its just nice to have so many rugby minded people out having a great time” said Cragg, who also awarded Coles with the Forge Valley Fitness tournament MVP honors.