The Kootenay Rugby Union kicked off its season with a bruising match between rivals Trail Colonials and the Cranbrook Rogues at Upper Sunningdale Park Saturday.
The Union is down to three teams this year after the Grand Forks franchise folded. But competition will be fierce as the Nelson Grizzlies, Colonials and Rogues have scheduled meetings and tournaments throughout the summer.
The Colonials lead the match at the half 21-7 but early in the second, the tenacious Rogues laid siege to the Colonials tryline and finally breached their defense to close the gap but missed the convert.
The Colonials answered with their own as centre Todd Benson broke through with about 10 minutes left to seal the deal, 26-12.
“It was actually a very good match,” said Colonial co-coach Ray Nelson.
“Once we scored late they pretty much packed it in.”
The Colonials have been around since 1966 with Nelson as a player and coach for most of those years.
The current squad is a combination of youth and experience and should be well conditioned after training throughout the off-season.
“We have a young team, some new players but we’ve definitely got some good returning players so we should be competitive.”
Kyle Hoherst led the team with two trys attacking the vulnerable Rogues defense and exploiting it to perfection.
Prop Drew Culp also added five points and back Brian Lauzon kicked three converts.
The Colonials next game will see them line up against the Grizzlies Saturday at 1 p.m. at Sunningdale Park.