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In SoCal DI play, Belmont Shore (5-0) remained atop the division with a come-from-behind win over OMBAC (2-3), 27-14. Los Angeles (2-3) edged Oceanside (1-4), 12-7, and the San Diego Old Aztecs (3-2) outlasted Downtown (2-3), 29-19.
Belmont Shore moved to 5-0 in DI action thanks to a strong second half performance. Trailing 7-0 into the break, and 14-0 midway through the second half, Belmont shore struggled to get points on the board. OMBAC maintained great ball retention in the first half, starving Belmont Shore of possession.
“They were at home and came out firing,” Belmont Shore coach, Rex Pitts said of OMBAC. “They had really good control of the game.”
The OMBAC forwards had a strong first half, spending much of the time inside the Belmont 22. Two yellow cards for Belmont Shore kept the visitors down a man for most of the first half, yet OMBAC only dotted down once. Bryce Baker was able to score off an 8-man pick for OMBAC, capitalizing on the great field position.
Belmont Shore regrouped in the second half, making tactical changes. However, OMBAC took a 14-0 lead before Belmont Shore rallied off 27 unanswered points.
“We changed people in the scrum and changed the technique in what we were going to be doing in the scrum and line outs,” said Pitts. “The change of philosophy gave us a little more stability.”
For OMBAC, consistency has plagued the team all season. “One of our biggest problems this season is that we have not been able to put both halves together,” said OMBAC captain Darren James.
Scoring was at a premium in the Los Angeles versus Oceanside match. LARC was able to get on the board first thanks to some high rugby acumen from fly half Peter Marsten. Marsten had a strong performance on the afternoon and was able to catch the Oceanside defense napping in the first half. He broke through the line but and was tackled by the Oceanside fullback. However, Marsten realized he was not held and quickly got to his feet to scamper over the line for a try. Oceanside responded with an unconverted try and trailed 7-5 going into the break.
“It was kind of a back and forth stalemate,” said Los Angeles club treasurer and DI player Chris Sweeny. “It seemed that both teams were able to advance the ball well in the first half but both teams made errors. Errors seemed to be the overriding issue of the day, especially for Los Angeles.”
The second half was a little more open, but only Los Angeles was able to muster any points. No. 8 Tala Gafa had a terrific game for LA and was able to set up wing Omar Gonzalez for a try in the corner.
“LA was really good on the defense when we were pushed back into our own zone,” added Sweeny. We were able to punch one in midway through the second half and it just became a defensive stalemate after that.”
In the end it was a rather sloppy game but a victory for Los Angeles. Both teams made a lot of mistakes on the afternoon with Oceanside committing a lot of penalties at the breakdown and Los Angeles having numerous handling errors.
“I think both sides looking back could have said hey we could have capitalized on a lot more opportunities,” Sweeny concluded.