You are here
With the PRP half way over, a number of teams are within range of advancing to the Cup Final. Glendale (5-1) cemented itself as the top of the leader board with its fifth consecutive victory this week, a 51-31 win over winless Olympic Club (0-6). The Denver Barbarians (3-3) defeated OMBAC (3-3) in a shootout, 44-37, and for the second consecutive week SFGG ended a match with a draw. In a back and forth encounter, SFGG (3-1-2) tied 24-24 with Belmont Shore (3-2-1).
Glendale vs Olympic Club
Dustin Croy opened the scoring with a try for Glendale, one of his three in the first half for the Raptors. Olympic Club responded with a try of its own but found itself down 17-10 after two tries to Glendale and a penalty to OC. After the 20-minute-mark, the flood gates opened for Glendale as the home side dotted down three more times and added a penalty before halftime to take a 37-10 lead into the break.
Coming into the game, Glendale made some tactical changes looking to experiment with different options. Armandt Peens slotted in at flyhalf and Mark Simpson came in at 12. The staples in the backline, however, Chad London and Preston Bryant, both scored on the afternoon.
Olympic Club responded nicely in the second half, scoring two tries within the first 10 minutes. For much of the second half, Olympic Club probed the Raptor defense but was unable to cut into the lead any further.
“Olympic Club is a quality side. They don’t deserve to be at the bottom of the table,” Glendale coach Andre Snyman. “In the second half, at least the last 20 minutes, they really had us on the ropes.”
Chad London scored for Glendale in the 73rd minute, and another try for the Raptors in the 78th minute sealed the victory. OC earned one final score at the death but it was too little too late for the visitors. Despite the victory, Snyman was unhappy with the team’s overall performance. In particular, the defensive structure and the concession of four tries was something the Glendale coaching staff was not pleased with.
“We were really disappointed with the way we played, said Snyman. “Although we won, we didn’t play to our full potential and we didn’t do what we had set out to do.”
Denver vs OMBAC
Denver struggled early against OMBAC this week, and it appeared that the San Diego based side would control the game throughout. “We started slow and were really passive,” Denver coach Pete Borlase said.
Late in the first half Denver trailed 27-15, but a piece of individual brilliance from Max De Achaval right before the halftime whistle cut the game to 27-22 in favor of OMBAC. De Achaval fielded a grubber kick down the sideline and, in one motion, tossed a behind-the-back pass to an oncoming teammate to score the try.
“It is a special play, whether you are watching a professional side, or the Denver Barbarians," Borlase added. “I have been around rugby since I was five years old, and it was just off the cuff special skill.”
The Denver backline struggled to contain OMBAC in the first half, but the Barbarians controlled much of the second half thanks to good ball retention.
“In the first half, I really put the onus on our backline,” Borlase stated. “In the second half we didn’t have to defend a lot because we had a lot more possession and took the ball to them and just kept getting gain line after gain line after gain line.”
Nevertheless, OMBAC tallied the first try of the second half, and with 15 minutes left in the game, led 37-25. Denver turned down several shots at goal and scored three tries with the last coming with four minutes to go to earn the victory.
“The second half was just determination and grit, and I was just really proud of them,” Borlase said of his team’s performance.
Belmont Shore vs. SFGG
The first half was very nip and tuck with each team refusing to back down. Both squads are extremely big in size, and neither would give an inch physically on the field.
“It was a very physical game, probably the most physical game in the last couple of years,” Belmont Shore coach Ray Egan told Rugby Today.
SFGG opened the scoring early but a well executed score by Ryan Cochran gave Belmont Shore a 7-5 lead going into halftime. A penalty extended the lead to 10-5, but an intercept from SFGG put Gate back in front. Another score gave SFGG a 17-10 advantage, but Belmont Shore responded with a converted try to even the game at 17 apiece.
Belmont Shore captured the lead with another try, but a late score from SFGG tied the match at 24 all. Neither team was able to score in the final minutes, and the match ended in a draw.
For SFGG, it is their second tie in as many weeks. The reigning champions fall further behind Glendale for the top spot but are still in good position to make the final.
Belmont Shore, on the other hand, was pleased with the performance and continued improvement throughout the season. Hoping to compete with the heavyweights of the PRP, a tight contest with last year’s champion is a good benchmark with half the games to go.