Playing at home, and with a full squad, the Salmon Arm Yeti were more of a handful for the Vernon Jackals.
The last time the two teams met in Okanagan Rugby Union play two weeks ago at Grahame Park in Vernon, the Jackals manhandled the short-staffed Yeti, scoring 87 points against them.
At Salmon Arm Secondary’s Jackson campus Saturday, it was a different story. The Jackals won, 47-21, but had to earn every point.
“The home squad Yeti were in full force and put together a real test for the defending league champions,” said Jackals back Bryan Cragg, who suited up for the Yeti in the first match in Vernon. 2
Twenty minutes after the start, the home team carried the bulk of possession and kept the Jackals from finding any kind of rhythm. It wasn’t until player-coach Jed Miller forced his way in from 15 metres out to break things open. It was a 10-minute lapse for the Yeti but it proved to be the difference as Vernon pushed in tries by Cragg, Clay Coles and two more from Miller all right before the half.
Both teams came out hard in the second half and traded scores for the rest of the game with Salmon Arm getting to within 10 points. In the end, Vernon’s forwards proved too much to handle as the Jackals retained the ball and ran out the clock. Vernon still sits in a tie for first place with rivals Penticton Harlequins, which they face in the final week of season play June 15 at Grahame Park.
Bad new for the league: the Kelowna Cows have folded, leaving only the three squads to finish out the year.
Vernon is back in action June 8 at Sunfest, the Harlequins’ home tournament in Penticton.