The Salmon Arm Secondary (SAS) Jr. Boys rugby team capped off their season with a victory in the Okanagan Championships.
The Golds were beaten in the first round of Provincials by Carson Graham Secondary of North Vancouver, but the junior team’s first-ever Okanagan Championship is a major achievement.
The junior Golds opponents in the Okanagan finals were Rutland Secondary from Kelowna.
Thalon Gaschler scored right off the bat for the Golds, driving four Rutland Voodoo players five metres back from a rolling maul.
A high tackle and punch to Chase Ellwood did not stop him as he dove for the try line. A referee noticed the high tackle so Ellwood received a penalty try in front of the posts.
Brandon Pufferhill and Dylan Nuttal both sacrificed their body for the team; each made a try saving tackle at different times in the championship game.
Right winger, Griffin Wilchuk used his speed and finesse to evade three players and almost make it into the try zone. Wilchuk made a great pass to Phillip Smith who took the ball to score a try.
Eventually Rutland woke up and their towering fullback made huge yards once he got up to speed.
Rutland played hard trying to get into SAS’ half of the field, but were only successful a few times; they scored two tries. When the final whistle blew the score was SAS 34 – Rutland 12.
Following their Okanagan Championships victory, the Golds travelled to North Vancouver for the first round of Provincials.
“Driving to North Vancouver at 7 a.m. to play Carson Graham on a field that was not lined or prepared for round one of the Provincial Championship was not impressive at all,” said Golds coach Sean Husband.
It was a tough day in the sun for the Golds, facing players from Carson Graham who were bigger, faster, skilled and stronger.
The Carson Graham team opened up the try scoring right off the bat and the Golds put forth their best effort to no avail.
“The North Vancouver team was well drilled and executed plays at pace and with conviction,” said Golds assistant coach Greg Seed.
Playing with sheer heart and determination, the Golds squeaked one try in the last 10 minutes of the game by Ellwood. Connor Senn kicked the conversion. Luke Simmonds made a penalty kick for another three points so the Golds did not get shut out.
The final score was Carson Graham 64 – Golds 10.