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Danville defeated Marin 36-33 this weekend in Northern California’s wildly competitive Club Varsity Gold league, advancing Danville to the semifinals.

In a thriller, Danville scored early, exploiting some missed tackles, to lead 12-0 after ten minutes. In a physical game, Danville’s forwards did well to control the pace of the game and keep ruck ball slow, but Marin did well to force some turnovers.

Danville ran well off their back row, and also with scrumhalf Rhys Watkin, but Marin’s defense held after the opening minutes … for a while at least.

Marin kept up the pressure but Danville was awarded with a penalty with five minutes left in the first half. A good kick to touch and a powerful driving maul off the lineout found them five more points. Marin answered off several phases of patterned attack, when, after a 25-meter run, one prop (Henry Baylor) found his other prop (Henry Harmon) who did the rest from 20 meters out. Try converted, Danville 17 Marin 12 with one minute to go in the half.

A perfectly-executed attack from the ensuing restart saw Marin go several phases then put it through to the backline, which gave it back to flanker Marcus Viscardi in support for the try. 19-17 Marin led after the conversion. 

The second half mirrored the first exactly, with three lead changes. Cam Merrick ran in an impressive 75-meter try for Danville, and Kevin Woo scored his second. But Marin led 33-29 with approximately two minutes to go, and forced a turnover near their goal line. Then a pass didn’t go to hand in-goal, and Danville pounced on the ball to score and win the game 36-33. (Note other reports have the score at 31-28, but for sure Danville won by three.)

Marin had a shot to score once more, but a knock-on ended their hopes. Watkin was named player of the game.

This was another heartbreaking loss for Marin against a top-ranked team.

In other quarterfinal action, Granite Bay defeated SFGG 36-14 and Hayward got past Sierra Foothills on kicks in a tiebreaker after the teams tied 19-19 at the end of regulation.

The Peninsula Green v. Islanders quarterfinal ran into complications. See here.