With the international sporting scene transfixed on the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, the Vernon Jackals tried to create a buzz of their own last weekend at the Saratoga Cup in Penticton.
The Jackals, winners of the Okanagan Rugby Union title, settled for silver as they fell 10-7 to the Kitsilano Kats in the gold-medal game of the B.C. senior C men’s championship Sunday.
It was a tough final, with the two teams evenly matched in most aspects of the game.
The Kats struck first after a well-placed kick and exceptional hustle to score the opening try.
Shortly after, Kitsilano earned a second score (both were unconverted) to take a 10-0 lead at halftime.
After a motivating pep talk by player-coach Garth Cook, a former Team Canada member, the Jackals came out fired up for the second half.
“Their forward pack was tough and hard, and our boys answered the call to step up the physicality of the game. Kiwi Dan, and Garth Cook had their most physical games of the season,” said the Jackals’ Bryan Bateman.
Pierce Wylie picked off a pass which put Vernon in scoring position. After a Kitsilano penalty, Geoff Cranton ran in a 10-yarder to score Vernon’s lone try, converted by Rob Miles.
The Jackals made a late push for the go-ahead try, but ran out of time.
Kiwi Dan and Cook shared Jackals’ Man of the Match honours.
Vernon earned a berth in the finals with a 35-7 win over Trail Colonials Saturday.
“They played a tough game, really hard and physical, but we were able to squeak out a win. The game was allot closer then what the score told,” said Bateman.
“The team is excited about the potential for next season and agree that the (corps) is there to return to the finals next year,” said Bateman.
The ORU season begins again in March. The Jackals are always looking for new members to come out and play the great game of rugby.