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Paced by 14 points from flyhalf Mike Graham and two tries from center Chad London, the Glendale Raptors consolidated their perch atop the Pacific Rugby Premiership with a 34-15 defeat of crosstown rivals the Denver Barbarians.
Glendale weathered a gritty and defensive-minded first quarter before Graham sent fullback Dustin Croy galloping ahead with a nice, flat pass. Croy beat a tackler and then offloaded to wing Brett Willis, who scored the first try of the day.
Graham converted that try and then a couple of minutes later added three more with a line drive of a drop goal. That made it 10-0, and then Graham capped off a multi-phase attack with an angled run for a try and a 15-0 Glendale lead.
Denver got one back when Tyson Meek scampered ahead from a scrum anf then passed to center Kyle Hitt, who touched down.
Max de Achaval's conversion made it 15-7 Glendale. And then it was 20-7, as some nice passing from backs and forwards alike set up London, who stepped around two tacklers to score.
De Achaval ended the half with a penalty kick as the teams changed ends with the Raptors leading 20-10.
London got his second early in the second half, and it seems the silky-running center was toying with his defenders, never getting out of third gear as he weaved in from 56 meters out.
Denver replied with yet another long run from flanker Brendan Shea, who was taken down but not held. He almost made it to the line, and then hands out to de Achaval put the fullback in at the corner.
Still, down 29-15 with about 28 minutes to go, the Barbarians had much to do.
With London causing Denver problems, the Barbarians started to key on the elusive center and he replied by passing to his teammates. One such beneficiary was wing Preston Bryant, who scored a nice team try in the corner. Graham converted, and neither team was able to crack the tryling for the final 15 minutes.
Tries: Willis, Graham, London 2, Bryant
Convs: Graham 3
Tries: Hitt, de Achaval
Convs: de Achaval
Pens: de Achaval
Brett Willis 20th Conv
22nd GRahan DG
25th Graham try
30th Hitt conv De achaval
39th Pen De Achaval