Kaleb Beauchesne, Hugh Pritchett and Elijah MacPherson all had tries as the Prince Albert Whiskey Jacks defeated the Saskatoon Badgers 20-19 at Max Clunie Field on Tuesday.
The win was the third straight for the Whiskey Jacks, who remain undefeated on the season. The two clubs will meet again on Aug. 18 in Saskatoon.
“It was really exciting to watch,” Whiskey Jacks player-coach Darcy Murphy said. “The games seem to be getting close and closer. Players and both sides are getting in the groove. It was a fantastic game—very physical and hard fought.”
The Whiskey Jacks jumped out to a 12-5 first half lead thanks to tries from Beauchesne and Pritchett. Colm Corname increased the lead to 15-5 with a converted penalty kick early in the second half, but the Badgers rallied for a converted try of their own to make it 15-12.
MacPherson gave the Whiskey Jacks some breathing room with another try to make it 20-12, but the Badgers replied with another converted try to make it 20-19. With time running out, the Whiskey Jacks held off a final Badger attack, forced a turnover, and ran down the clock in opposing territory.
“It was a pretty nervous moment,” Murphy said. “They were threatening on our goal line with about two minutes left, and we held them off.”
Murphy said it’s a bit of an unexpected surprise to see the club win the first three games. He credited the team’s hard work and physical play for the success.
“I was expecting lots of rust and dust and lard, but we came out strong and aggressive,” he said with a chuckle. “PA rugby is typically hard and aggressive and tough. That’s a big part of the game, and we bring that to the field.”
The two teams meet again at 8 p.m. in Saskatoon on Aug. 18. A fifth game between the two clubs may be in the works, but the clubs haven’t confirmed any details.
Murphy said the Whiskey Jacks need to keep doing the little things right to pick up a fourth win on Aug. 18. They also need to keep it simple.
“Keep the passes simple. Keep the line-outs simple. Just work the basics in offence,” he said. “Just keep everything simple. Nothing to complicated, but play aggressive. That’s been working for us.”