The past three weeks have seen the Williams Lake Rustlers rugby team riding hard on the trail. First up was the Terrace Northmen, Interior Rugby Union league play.
Injuries and work commitments created pressures for the team, as several stalwarts had to stay home.
Strong, simply structured rugby kept the Rustlers pressing through the match, with Sky Freeman scoring one try, Doug Fraser adding two tries and two conversions for 19 points.
The Northmen were tenacious, taking advantage of the few lapses in Rustler defense to score 19 points of their own. With the game drawing to a close, Terrace crashed through to the Rustlers end zone, only to have their game breaking score reversed due to a penalty infraction.
The following weekend, the Rustlers travelled to engage the Prince George Gnats at their Kelly Road grounds. Within five minutes of the opening whistle, Jordan Pritchard worked down the touchline with fluid passing movement with several support players to score the Rustlers first try.
With their cleats in home soil, the Gnats were much improved in sustaining ball possession, creating several scoring chances before Beau Parker snagged a clearing kick and blew through the Gnats defense for his first try of the match.
Then, after receiving a late hit from Prince George, Parker stepped up hard, putting on a skills exhibition in scoring two more tries before Prince George could stem the tide with two tries of their own. Late in the second half, Parker again worked a devastating counter-attack to score the last of his four tries.
He also kicked three conversions, giving the Rustlers 31 points on the day, to 12 for Prince George.
For a third weekend in a row, the Rustlers mounted up to participate in the Penticton Sun Fest Tournament hosted by the Penticton Harlequins RFC. In the first game of the tournament series Williams Lake met Merritt taking a 15-0 win.
Next up was Trail, where the Rustlers gathered steam, scoring 22 points to nil. Advancing from top of their pool, the Rustlers met the Capilano/Gibson’s combined squad in semi-final play stacking up 32 points again without conceding a score. The final against the home field Harlequins sorely tested the Rustler’s mettle, but well disciplined defence and quick offence lead the Rustlers to a 17 to 5 victory.
The Rustlers take a breather from league play, with Terrace visiting Ottoman Road on July 12. Meanwhile through the Stampede Weekend, the Williams Lake Rugby Football Club will host the 34th annual Stampede Rugby Tournament as defending champions.
A solid corps of club members have been working hard at preparing the fields and facilities to host teams from northern Alberta to Vancouver Island.
Williams Lake is also preparing to host Merchant Taylor’s School from England, with two games at the Ottoman Drive rugby fields from July 14 to 17.