The Fulton Maroons have started their Okanagan high school rugby action with a win and a loss in exhibition play. (Marcy Kennedy - photo)

Vernon’s Fulton Maroons split rugby exhibitions

Vernon high school squad falls to West Vancouver side, beat Norkam of Kamloops

Fulton Maroons evened their high school rugby pre-season record at 1-1 with a 19-10 win over the Norkam Saints in Kamloops.

Quaid Willett, Dayton Ingenhaag and Reyann Siddique scored tries for Fulton while Evan Trottier was two-of-three on conversions. The Maroons led 10-5 at the half.

“It was a very sloppy first half. We committed a lot of penalties and we just could not get momentum going,”said Fulton head coach Mike Scheller. “We were on our heels a lot and did not play smart. We tackled well and won the physical battle, but we did not play that smart. It was a scrappy game and neither side got any flow.”

Fulton improved in the second half, controlling a lot of the territory and possession, but were unlucky not to score a couple of more tries.

READ ALSO: Fulton sixth in rugby provincials

“Our kids played smarter and we moved the ball well offensively,” said Scheller. “Ingenhaag, at prop, had an awesome game and was all over the field. Ethan Schiman did a good job of directing our attack and he played hard. Trottier, at scrum half, was solid. Logan Higgs at 8-man was a physical force for us at the tackle breakdown.”

Fulton opened its season on the Coast, falling 49-0 to the Rockridge Ravens of West Vancouver in a match played at Burnaby’s Swangard Stadium.

The score, said Scheller, reflected the territorial and possession advantage enjoyed by the Ravens.

READ ALSO: Fulton collects B.C. rugby sevens crown

“Rockridge was truly the superior side and were very deserving of the the victory,” said Scheller. “They are a solid squad.”

Trottier, Higgs, Schiman and Gabe Dewald, at flanker, had strong games for the Maroons, who managed to put a smile on the coach’s face.

“Despite the score, I was happy with the effort and fight of our kids,” said Scheller. “We are in a rebuilding year for 2019 and are running a Grade 9-12 team as we do not have the numbers to run junior and senior only. A few of our kids played their first rugby game against a quality opponent. We played defence hard and showed a lot of fight at the tackle point.

“We will get better. We just had nothing offensively. We did not run clear lines and were slow in attack. It is a long game when you play defence all day.”

The Maroons return to Kamloops Wednesday for an Okanagan Valley AA league game against the South Kamloops Titans. Fulton will play its home opener against the other team in the loop, Penticton’s Princess Margaret Mustangs, Wednesday, April 24, at 4 p.m. at Grahame Park.

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