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With a win in week 10 of the PRP, and a Glendale bye, SFGG regained the lead a top the table. SFGG (6-1-2) used a dominant second-half performance to defeat Denver (4-4) 48-17 in Colorado, Saturday. Belmont Shore (4-3-1) may have seen its playoff hopes go up in smoke with a disappointing 34-12 loss to OMBAC (5-4), and Olympic Club (1-8) earned its first win with a 38-31 victory over Santa Monica (2-6-1).
Denver vs. SFGG
Denver struck first at home through Marcus Taylor at the five-minute mark. Pila Huihui cut the game to 7-5, but Denver responded with a penalty and a try from Ata Malifa to put the home side up 17-5. SFGG earned a penalty and a try before halftime but went into the break trailing 17-13.
“The first half the teams were sort of feeling each other out technically and there was not much in it,” SFGG coach Mark Giachari told Rugby Today. “I kind of felt confident that if we got enough ball and hold onto the ball and build enough pressure we would get some points.”
The second half was all SFGG as the visitors scored five unanswered tries to win 49-17. Gate monopolized possession and territory, creating a successful platform for both the forwards and the backline. Huihui earned his second score, and Seamus Kelly scored in the backs, while Opeti Okusi and Patrick Latu scored from the pack.
“Things went according to plan,” Giachari said of the second half. “By being timely and being patient we were able to break down Denver’s defense.”
With the win SFGG moves into first place in the PRP. After defeating Glendale and Denver on the road in back-to-back weeks, Giachari is happy with his team’s performance in the recent weeks.
“I was pleased to get the result. Playing in Denver two weeks in a row is a lot of travel and a hard trip so the result was important for us.”
Belmont Shore vs OMBAC
Like SFGG, OMBAC used a superb second-half performance to hamper Belmont Shore’s hopes of making the PRP final. Despite trailing 12-10 at halftime, OMBAC scored 24 unanswered points to win the match 34-12.
Belmont Shore jumped out the to the early 7-0 lead but Steven Tomasin cut the lead to 7-5. Another try to Belmont and a penalty to OMBAC left the game at 12-10 going into the break.
“We did well in the first half, but we made a couple of mental errors, and they snuck in a few tries,” said OMBAC club captain Ian Denham.
OMBAC cleaned up the errors and dominated the second half. Denham indicated that OMBAC was disappointed with recent results and it was several hard weeks of training and a desire to get back in the win column that proved to be the difference.
“It was very tight at halftime and I think that the second half, it was just the pure determination that we have kind of built up over the last few weeks with what was a lazy loss at Denver, and the Glendale loss, which was a tough one to take. Just regrouping and training we have had a very good three weeks, pretty much just kicking each others butts in training and it just came to fruition in the game. We just wanted it more.”
OMBAC held Belmont Shore scoreless in the second half, and in a high scoring PRP league, that is no easy feat. “You are always happy with holding a clean sheet, whether it’s just for a half,” added Denham. “With the premiership being such a high scoring league, even the clubs at the bottom of the table score tries on you. It is very rare that you hold a team to 12 points especially one of the caliber of Belmont Shore.”
Olympic Club vs Santa Monica
Olympic Club outlasted Santa Monica 38-31 to pick up their first win in PRP action this year. Olympic Club had come close a number of times but inconsistent play and a failure to finish games had plagued the Northern Californian side all year.
The teams traded tries early in the game and subsequently traded the lead four times. At the half the Dolphins led 17-12. Olympic Club broke things open in the second half with three consecutive tries to take a 33-17.
OC almost gave the match away as Stuart Sharpe dotted down twice for Santa Monica to cut the lead to two, but Andrew Cook scored with less than five minutes to play to clinch the win.
After a tie with SFGG in week six, Santa Monica has lost three straight games and is all but eliminated from playoff contention.