PENTICTON - Okanagan Rugby Union representatives Penticton Harlequins were crowned Saratoga Cup champions this past weekend as they defeated Vancouver Island-Lower Mainland representatives Brit Lions 26-10 in the men's independent division provincial final. In the consolation playoff, Northern BC reps William's Lake triumphed 40-31 over Kootenays reps Rocky Mountain Rogues.
SARATOGA CUP - September 15-16:
(Semifinals): Penticton 32-10 Williams Lake
(Semifinals): Rogues 3-10 Brit Lions
(3/4 Playoff): Rocky Mountain Rogues 31-40 William's Lake
(Saratoga Cup Championship): Penticton 26-10 Brit Lions
Tournament summary provided by Ken Sommerfeld, Penticton Harlequins
The 2012 edition of the Saratoga Cup was held Sept 15th and 16th in Penticton in perfect weather and field conditions. The opening match (semifinals) Saturday afternoon saw the host Penticton Harlequins take on the Williams Lake Rustlers and had the visitors jump out to an early lead. Penticton evenually took charge of the game and was able to put over five tries leading to a 32 -10 win. Game two was a hard fought affair between the Rocky Mountain Rogues from Cranbrook and the Brit Lions from Delta. The Brit Lions came out with a 10 - 3 win but had to fight off heavy pressure by the Rogues in the final 10 minutes to do so.
The consolation game Sunday morning between Williams Lake and the Rogues was a high scoring affair ending with a 40 - 31 win for Williams Lake. The Rustlers came out strong and scored early and often to take a big lead into the second half. At that point they appeared to tire somewhat and the Rogues began to pour it on, eventually scoring five tries to make it close. Had the game lasted 10 more minutes, there may have been a different winner.
The cup final between Penticton and Brit Lions started off in typical fashion for the Harlequins, with the opposition scoring first. The Brit Lions played strong and stood up the hosts at the gain line time and again, not willing to give any ground. Penticton showed great ball control at the breakdowns and continued it's crashing drives until the Brit Lions appeared to wear down. After some sustained pressure deep in Brit Lion territory, the ball was spun to the backs and Penticton winger Glen Burlingame crashed over in the corner. The first half ended with more sustained pressure at the Brit Lion try line but time ran out before the Harlequins could punch it in. The second half began much the same as the first half ended with Penticton on the attack and two tries in quick succession by Harlequin no. 8 Brandon Messier, who was a standout the entire game, giving some breathing room to the home side. A fourth Harlequin try by centre Sam Shine added more insurance before a late try by Brit Lions fly half Matt Parno rounded out the scoring for a final tally of 26 - 10 in favour of Penticton.