Friday the thirteenth is supposed to be unlucky, but for the participants at the ‘Okanagan Sevens’ and the fans watching, nothing could have been further from the truth. Under beautifully blue Okanagan skies with temperatures reaching the high teens, six senior teams played off in a round-robin format to determine the qualifying positions for BCSSRU Sevens 2012 to be held in Vancouver on April 21 and 22. Squads from Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon and Kamloops took part in one of four qualifying tournaments being held around the Province that same day.
As the matches moved forward, it looked as though three teams would emerge to compete for the eighteenth annual Zone Championship. Two teams from AAA Okanagan powerhouse Kelowna Secondary and AA Kalamalka Secondary from Vernon pulled ahead of the pack with two matches left in the round-robin. One of the best matches of the day was between the two Kelowna teams. The ‘Seconds’ were up 19-5 at the half and there was a definite feeling that an upset was in the offing. However, the ‘Firsts’ scored from the opening kick-off and accumulated twenty-six unanswered points.
The following match between Kelowna ‘Seconds’ and Kalamalka was equally entertaining with the latter holding a 7-0 lead at the half time break. Kelowna scored half way through the second half, but were unable to convert, making for a ‘pressured’ final few minutes as the local fans loudly supported their home team. Their cheering was rewarded at the final whistle as a hard charging Kelowna player was able to break through the defense with a well-timed misdirection run from twenty-five metres out. The conversion made the final 12-7.
The final match of the day was between Kelowna ‘Firsts’ and Kalamalka. The two teams battled hard in the first half with the home team able to use their overlap speed to make the corner and score two fine tries. The second half was very much a mirror of the first as the two teams went back and forth between the twenty-two metre lines with Kalamalka playing a more defensive role. However, Kelowna was able to punch two more tries to make the final score 24-0.