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Don Pati up the field for SFGG. Austin Brewin photo

OMBAC (6-4) continued to stay hot in week 11 of the Pacific Rugby Premiership, knocking SFGG (6-2-2) out of the top spot of the leader board with a 30-29. In a track meet, Glendale (7-2) defeated Santa Monica (2-7-1) 62-38 while Belmont Shore (5-3-1) clipped Denver (4-5) 32-13 at Infinity Park.

SFGG vs OMBAC
SFGG took an early lead as a result of what OMBAC club captain Ian Denham deemed to be some mental errors. “There was one first phase try, which is really unacceptable,” Denham said.  After several more scores, OMBAC trailed 15-8 going into halftime.

Despite trailing at halftime, OMBAC felt pretty comfortable with the state of the game. However, SFGG struck first in the second half before OMBAC was able to earn a try to cut the lead to 22-13. The teams traded scores, and in the 75th minute SFGG led 29-20. With five minutes to play it looked as if SFGG would walk away with another victory.

In the last five minutes, however, things started to open up and some individual brilliance from several players got OMBAC right back into the match. Zach Pangelinan cut the SFGG lead to four, and Steve Tomasin scored with less than a minute to play to steal the victory.

“I think in the second half, as they started to tire, some of our attacking weapons started to show their worth,” Denham added. “Two of our better attacking weapons just showing their worth and scoring to unbelievable individual tries.”

Although OMBAC will probably not make the playoffs without anything short of a miracle, a win against SFGG bodes well for the future and provides momentum for the coming weeks. OMBAC have now beaten both Glendale and SFGG this season and Denham indicated that this was one of the prouder moments in the clubs recent history.

“This is probably the best win for the club in the last couple of seasons.”

Belmont Shore vs Denver
With the loss by SFGG, the door has opened for Belmont Shore to try and secure the second playoff spot. After a disappointing loss to OMBAC last weekend, Shore bounced back with a solid performance against the Barbarians on the road.

Belmont Shore made a number of positional changes coming into the game and they made immediate impacts. “We played much better yesterday,” said Belmont Shore coach Ray Egan. “We have been looking for that kind of performance for some time now.”

Shore opened the scoring with a penalty and would have doubled their lead but the kick sailed wide. The club got off to a fast start, getting into the Denver third of the field and maintaining ball possession.

Denver broke out of the tough field position after the missed penalty and evened the score with a penalty of its own. The game slowed down for much of the rest of the first half, as both teams struggled to maintain possession at the breakdown and committed a number of penalties.

Mike Teo broke the deadlock with an individual try. Teo fielded a kick that originated from the Denver 22 and accelerated through the Denver defense for a try under the posts. Belmont Shore added another penalty to take a 13-3 lead.

Belmont Shore controlled a lot of the ball possession in the second half. “Once we kind of got that front foot ball that we have kind of been craving, it allowed us to create a bit of tempo.”

Belmont extended the lead with a try immediately after halftime. Denver responded with a try, however, to cut the lead to 20-10. Denver, however, was unable to muster more than a penalty the remainder of the game.

With a few minutes to play, Belmont Shore was in search of a bonus point, and the opportunity seemed to have been lost with a knock on in goal. Nevertheless, Jeff Tracy scored a try in the corner to earn that coveted bonus point. Coming down the stretch, every bonus point will be extremely important.

Glendale vs Santa Monica
Both teams put up points in bunches Saturday, but Glendale’s ability to jump out to an early lead proved to be too much for the Dolphins.

The Raptors scored 14 unanswered points in the first 10 minutes before Santa Monica dotted down to cut the lead in half. Chad London scored the first of his two tries in this span. The Eagles prospect was all over the pitch contributing multiple scores and assisting on several others.

Glendale added three tries in the next 15 minutes to extend the lead to 33-7 before Santa Monica punched one in right before halftime to make the game 33-14. Glendale added the first two scores of the second half, with London getting his second and Max Statler recording the first of his two on the day.

The teams traded tries two more times before Brett Willis capped off the scoring in the 80th minute. Despite the large deficit, Santa Monica refused to give up, putting tremendous pressure on the Glendale defense.

With the win, Glendale moves back atop the PRP table. The team came away with some injuries, however. Armandt Peens, who has been a big part of Glendale’s success, left the match early in the game with an ankle injury.