Morning Star Staff
For four years, the Penticton Harlequins figured the Vernon Jackals were dressing in a phone booth. The Jackals appeared to be super heroes as they found different ways to beat the Harlequins.
Well, the Harlequins finally brought the Jackals back down to Ground Zero with a 32-19 Okanagan Rugby Union victory Saturday at Grahame Park.
Mitch Davis supplied a pair of tries, both in tight, for the Jackals, while Josh Cooper added one and captain Rob Miles was 2-for-3 on conversions.
“Congratulations to Penticton on their victory over us,” said Vernon veteran Mike Scheller. “They were simply the better team, and while the match was close, they held the majority of the play.
“They had territorial control for a good portion of the game, and they scored on some nice runs. We did not tackle well enough to win the game, missing some key tackles which they used to score some key tries.
“We have not lost to Penticton in about four years, so it was big victory for their club over us. They are our biggest league rivals.”
It was the season opener for both teams in the five-team union which includes the Kelowna Crows, Merritt and West Kelowna.
Scheller said the Jackals were below average on their rucks and mauls.
“We played high in contact, and that needs to improve. We just did not play that well, and we will get better. Our scrums were quite good, and we were able to push them off the ball in those set pieces. Mitch Davis had a very good game at scrum half in his Vernon debut. He had a high work rate throughout the game, and was very aggressive in defence.
Geoff Cranton pumped up the intensity meter and was named Man of the Match for Vernon with a series of punishing hits and some very aggressive attacking runs. Cooper turned in a solid effort at inside centre.
“Bryan Berrecloth made his rugby debut and played pretty well for his first ever game. He stuck his nose in there, and will develop for us.”
The Jackals visit Kelowna for a Saturday 11:30 a.m. tilt.