FINAL: Rocky Mountain Rogues 31-10 Vernon Jackals RFC
The Rogues kick-started Sunday’s final in style with a smart attack from the lineout to move into an early lead. A Vernon penalty reduced the deficit, but smart use of the ball allowed the Rogues to score a second try and expand their lead midway in the half. Vernon couldn’t make pressure pay as the Rogues moved into a 24-3 halftime lead thanks to a coolly converted penalty and beautiful last-minute try following a classy offload.
The Jackals deservedly got on the scoresheet following hard work from a blocked kick, but a wonderful solo try between the posts from the Rogues #12 sealed victory and ensured the Saratoga Cup stays in Kimberley for another year.
“It was a big sacrifice from all the guys at the Club to get the field ready. We have to thank our sponsors, Deedee Gauci’s Athletic Therapy, Kal Tire, Overtime Beers -without their help we really couldn’t do this. The feeling is sensational: to win three in a row, I didn’t ever think I was going to win one! But three, no complaints. Lots of respect for Vernon, they have a great young Club and they’ll be another big threat next year. BC Rugby is very strong in the Kootenays, the Interior and the North!” Pete Dove of the Rocky Mountain Rogues
THIRD PLACE PLAYOFF: Terrace Northmen 28-26 Elk Valley Bulls RFC
The crowd was treated to a thrilling third-place Playoff match in Sunday’s Saratoga curtain-raiser. The Northmen drew first blood with an early try under the posts, before Elk Valley Bulls responded with a score of their own from the lineout. Smart kicking play resulted in a second Northmen try, before they extended their lead to 21-7 with a third try before the halftime whistle.
Elk Valley started the second half strong with their second try of the match, but the Northmen inched further ahead thanks to some skilful offloads. The Bulls dug deep and crossed over a third time to pull within a score and set up a frantic finish. Despite a fourth try, Elk Valley couldn’t convert the kick and Terrace clung on for an exciting victory.
SEMI-FINAL 1: Vernon Jackals RFC 33-14 Elk Valley Bulls RFC
Vernon started quickly with two early tries to set the pace, before the Bulls responded with a classy try in the far corner. The Bulls started the second half with urgency, and scored an early try to put the pressure on. However, the Jackals rallied with two further tries and controlled the final 15 minutes to advance to the Final.
“We came into the 2023 Saratoga Cup with some confidence after last year’s game against Elk Valley. We quickly realized it was going to be a big battle. We were very impressed with the Bulls and their persistence, but I’m glad that our boys rallied and kept competing for the win.” Vernon Jackals’ RFC player Lewis McKnight
SEMI-FINAL 2: Terrace Northmen RFC 10-43 Rocky Mountain Rogues RFC
The Rogues got a partisan crowd riled up with an early try in the match, before doubling their lead shortly after with following a smart line break. Smart ball movement led to a third try shortly before halftime as the Rogues led 19-0 at the break. Terrace got on the scoreboard with a field run try following an intercepted kick, but the Rogues hit back with a steal of their own to cross over again. A spirited Northmen side forced a strong push over the line to reduce the scoreline, but the Rogues rallied with three further tries to seal the win.
“A lot of work went into getting here. I’m proud of everyone for qualifying for the Final – lots of respect to Terrace, they are great guys. The hot, dry conditions probably gave us a little home advantage.” Rocky Mountain Rogues’ Pete Dove