Badgers edge Whiskey Jacks in Saskatoon

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Graham Pederson of the Prince Albert Whiskey Jacks watches on as Kaleb Beauchesne tries to split a pair of Saskatoon Badgers during the Whiskey Jacks 15-10 win at Max Clunie Field on July 27.

After dropping three straight meetings to the Prince Albert Whiskey Jacks, the Saskatoon Badgers earned a measure of revenge on Wednesday evening.

In the fourth meeting between the two sides in as many weeks, the Badgers picked up a 21-20 triumph over the Whiskey Jacks in a closely contested matchup at the Saskatoon Rugby Club Field.

“It was a fantastic game to watch,” Darcy Murphy of the Whiskey Jacks said.

“The rugby between both teams has been getting better and the competition was there from start to finish on Wednesday.”

The Whiskey Jacks’ other matchups with the Badgers also went down to the wire.

They started off the summer series with a 15-10 win at Max Clunie Field on July 27, followed that up with a 33-26 triumph on Aug. 4 in Saskatoon and picked up a 20-19 home win last Tuesday.

“I think what’s really helped us in all four games this year is our ability to keep things simple,” Murphy said. “That’s really added to our game, especially with this being a shortened season and the fact that we’ve limited practice time compared to what you’ve usually had.

“Saskatoon is way ahead of us though when it comes to the technical side of the game, which you could see on Wednesday. During the first half, we probably had possession of the ball for about 65 per cent of the time, but if we made a mistake they would take it down the field and score on us.”

The Whiskey Jacks got their points through a seven-point team penalty try and a try from Tristan Franc, while Colm Cournane kicked two penalty kicks and a convert.

Dakota Matthews, Rob Belanger and Matt Allen all had successful tries for the Badgers, which also earned six points from convert attempts by Reid Smyth.

While their four-game summer series has now concluded, the Badgers and Whiskey Jacks will square off one more time before the year ends as they’ll take to the pitch in Saskatoon on Wednesday, Sept. 8 at 8 p.m.

“Year-end bragging rights will be on the line in that one,” Murphy said.

“This four-game series helped to save men’s rugby in Prince Albert and it’s been well worth it. It motivated us to get back on the field and we’ve had a lot of enthusiasm, new commitments and guys returning to the team during this short period of time.”