Jeff Han was a beast with his feet.
Han scored one of his team’s six tries, and booted four of five conversions, helping the host Fulton Maroons beat crosstown rivals Kalamalka Lakers 40-17 in North Zone Senior Boys High School Rugby League action Thursday at Grahame Park.
“This was a very good result for our kids,” said Maroons coach Mike Scheller. “We have been playing good rugby all year and continue to improve. When we move the ball on offence and play within our team frame work, we can play great rugby. The boys have been working hard in practice, and it has paid off with an undefeated season to date.
“We need to commit less penalties defensively to improve, but our tackling has been solid all year.”
JJ Heaton, Ty Cheyne, Cole Hunter, Ryan Rumsey and Ethan Eisenhauer had the other tries for the Maroons,who are 6-0 overall and 3-0 in league play.
The Vernon Jackals, you recall, scored 12 unanswered points in the final 10 minutes to defeat the Penticton Harlequins and win the 2016 Okanagan Rugby Union championship.
The two rivals opened the 2017 season in pretty much the same fashion in Penticton with new Jackal Oliver Glaser scoring three tries to propel the defending champion Jackals to a 43-33 win over the Harlequins.
Vernon led 17-14 at the break in the see-saw battle between two teams that have a lot of new faces on each squad, but the rivalry on the pitch remains solid.
“We put a lot of emphasis on fitness, and although we were far from perfect, we had a good effort for the full 80 minutes and that’s why we won,” said Vernon coach Grant Kissling.
The Jackals spent the majority of the early going in the attacking end but came away with no points to show for it until the 15-minute mark when second-year player Kyle Richardson sent a beauty of a chip kick over the defenders for ‘old dirt’ Micheal Deboer to run onto it untouched for the game’s first score.
Once the scoring started it never seemed to stop as both teams then traded tries for the remainder of the half.
The Harlequins came out after the intermission with a sense of urgency, winning scrums and lineouts while they marched down to the Jackals goal line where, despite being held out for multiple phases, they would eventually pound their way in using their larger and more experienced forward pack.
Next action for the Jackals is their home opener against the Salmon Arm Manthers on Saturday, May 6, at 11 a.m. at Grahame Park.