The Vernon Jackals lost more than a rugby game Saturday afternoon in Penticton.
In addition to falling 15-7 to the Penticton Harlequins in their Okanagan Rugby Union tilt, the Jackals paid a heavy physical toll at Kings Park.
The Jackals lost flanker Geoff Cranton to injury for the season. Flanker (Kiwi) Dan Eyles played with a cut that required 20 stitches after the game, and eighth man Garth Cooke was enjoying a solid game until he sustained a rib injury early in the second half.
“It will be a big loss for our club, as he is a great team guy and a very good rugby player,” said Jackals’ player coach Mike Scheller, of Cranton.
“This was a very physical game with our old rival. There were big hits and some tough collisions out there on Saturday…and everybody knew they were in a battle.”
Penticton went up 5-0 on an unconverted try in the first half. Fullback Tanner Nordstrom Young replied with a try early in the second half, converted by Rob Miles.
The Harlequins, who fielded 10 subs to Vernon’s one, finished with a pair of late tries to seal the win.
“This is the best Penticton has looked in a few years, and they have become a very tough side,” said Scheller.
Vernon prop Bryan Bateman delivered some timely tackles, hooker Pearse Wylie added some much-needed toughness at forward, and his combination in the lineouts with lock Don Deane was very good.
Vernon is hosting a jamboree Saturday at Grahame Park, with the Jackals taking on the Kelowna Crows in an ORU league game at noon, followed by a 2 p.m. exhibition between Enderby and Prince George. Enderby is right back at it at 3 p.m. against the Crows, with the Jackals and Prince George battling at 4 p.m.