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The Penticton Harlequins brushed back the Vernon Jackals 24-17 in Okanagan Valley Rugby Union action Saturday at Grahame Park.
Penticton led 10-5 at the half in the season opener for both clubs.
Vernon received tries from Clark Richardson, Colton Klein and David Autino. Klein booted one convert.
Jackal playing-coach Mike Scheller said an influx of talented Fulton Maroons’ grads and new players to town helped the Jackals take the Harlequins to the limit.
“The game was close but Penticton definitely outplayed us,” said Scheller. “They held the advantage of ball possession and territory. They controlled the pace of the game and were efficient at maintaining possession. We played pretty good defensively, and stuck most of our tackles, but when you constantly tackle, the other team can wear you down.”
The Jackals put together a great burst for 10 minutes in the second half where they scored 12 quick points and took over the game.
“We became efficient when we moved the ball quickly and ran on them. They had a little trouble with our speed, and we had trouble because we did not utilize our strengths. We were selfish and isolated in attack, resulting in turnovers. We did not maintain our own ball for too many phases and that was our problem. We are young and will get better.”
Scheller gave major props to standoff Brandon Messer in his debut, while also praising Richardson for splendid play at outside center, Lucas Hofer at flanker, Autino at eighth man and Josh Cooper at prop.
The Jackals take on the Salmon Arm-Enderby Manthers Saturday, April 26.