Morning Star Staff
The Fulton Maroons have already qualified for B.C. Senior AA Boys Rugby Championships, but there is still some Valley hardware up for grabs.
The Maroons, who clinched a provincial berth with a 38-7 win over the host Merritt Panthers in the Okanagan playdowns Monday, visit the Kalamalka Lakers Thursday (4 p.m.) in the Valley final.
The B.C. championships go May 29-June 1 at Rotary Stadium in Abbotsford.
Austin Richardson, making a stellar debut at eight-man, powered the Fulton attack with three tries against Merritt under challenging weather conditions. Connor Mackus had two tries and Clark Richardson supplied one and booted three-of-four converts.
“Austin Richardson was dominant off the back of the scrum and is a load to tackle,” said Head coach Mike Scheller.
Layne Greene kicked the other convert for the Maroons, who led 10-7 at halftime.
Fulton controlled possession in the first half, but Scheller said poor decision making cost them some early points.
“We did not play an intelligent first half, and should have been up by more. We were too sideways in attack, and Merritt has some gritty tough kids that tackle well.
“The second half was much better – we played with a straighter attack and smarter play around their try line.”
There was no rugby at Fulton last year, so Scheller was pleased to see the program rebound straight into a provincial berth.
“This is special for our guys in Grade 12 this year; they have competed well and deserve the chance to compete at provincials.”
Scheller noted the play of the Greene brothers – Layne and Sean – who were solid and smart in attack and aggressive on defence.
“They carried the team during a lacklustre first half,” said Scheller.
Hooker Adam Woods continued to do all the dirty work in the scrums.