With 11 returning players, the Salmon Arm Secondary Jewels rugby team will look to make a strong statement in the league this season.
Last Wednesday, after settling their nerves, the Jewels struck early and often against South Kamloops.
The Jewels made a clear statement as they opened up their regular with a 52-5 victory over the Titans.
The bigger and stronger Jewels wore down the inexperienced Titans with an aggressive running game and bone crushing tackles.
Both Krystine Hamre and Kaitie Inglis scored two tries each, while Mandie Schwandt, Sara Whitehead, Grace Fulton, Rachel Bootsma and Rayn Lee all added a try of their own.
For good measure, Serena Boehme scored one two-point conversion.
Last week, in Kelowna the senior Golds rugby squad kicked off their season against Rutland.
The senior squad was quick out of the blocks, and made it to the Voodoos’ five-metre-line three times in the first few minutes of the game, but lacked the finesse to capitalize on the opportunities.
Coach James Cookson was accepting of the missed opportunities, understanding the players had some nerves, since it was the first game of the regular season. Bigger and slightly faster than the Voodoos, the Golds dominated in the rucks and tackling. Ryder Fortes and Jase Robert were solid on defence, not allowing the Voodoos to gain any extra yards if they had the ball. Unable to find a way through the Golds’ defence, Rutland changed tactics to a strategic kicking game, allowing their forwards to chase down the Golds’ defence. This caused some disruption in the Golds’ end and the Voodoos capitalized , scoring a try just before the half time whistle.
In a sign of good sportsmanship, the Golds agreed to play 12-a-side because Rutland could not support a 15-man-team.
As play resumed in the second half, Cody Jordan could not be slowed down by the Rutland defenders as he leveled the score.
The Golds’ front line of Tristan Curdyk, Josh Cline and Jay Schroeder kept possession well, hemming the Voodoos deep in their own half. A powerful move by Devon Roper and Logan Christian moved the Golds’ through Rutland’s five-metre line before handing the ball off to Brandon Sanford for the try and the lead. More pressure put onto the Voodoo back line allowed Logan Christian to crash through their indecisive back line for five more points, giving the Golds a 15-5 come-from-behind win.
The Golds next game is on Thursday, April 14 at the Jackson campus field against Kelowna Secondary at 3 p.m.