North Thompson Spartans senior rugby team was eliminated by Kalamalka of Vernon in an Okanagan semi-final on Thursday of last week.
However, Kalamalka has chosen not to go to the provincials and so the Spartans were to travel to Abbotsford on Wednesday.
“Call it rugby karma,” said Gabe Francis, one of the Spartans’ coaches. “I think we were the better team last Thursday, controlling possession, just making some poor mistakes that we paid for dearly.”
The Spartans, a joint Clearwater/Barriere team, exceeded expectations this season, according to Francis.
“It has been a long time since AA teams from the Thompson region have beat Okanagan teams and we beat both OKM (Okanagan Mission – Kelowna) (27-10) and Kalamalka (Vernon) (27-12) in regular season play,” he said.
Some Spartans were on the sideline for the Okanagan semi-final, and the team lost to Kalamalka 19-15.
However, the local side did control the majority of possession, ball handling errors and penalties denied them success in a game that they should have won had all the Spartans been available, the coach felt.
The coach listed several firsts for the season. The seniors were given honourable mentions in the provincial rankings, which is a significant accomplishment. They won their first game on their home pitch, and they had their first game of shut-out rugby.
As of press-time, the Spartan juniors had one game remaining but had won all four of their matches this season.
“They are competing as an exhibition squad as many of the Grade 10 players also play senior rugby and they are not eligible to participate in both senior and junior rugby league play,” the Spartans coach explained.