Denver Harlequins rebounded from last week’s league loss to defeat Denver Queen City 34-6 Saturday at Cook Park. Consistently patient forward maulwork aided and abetted by rigorous backline play enable the hosts to render the bonus-point victory over their game cross-town rivals.
With the remnants of last week’s early snow making things slow going initially and the slick pill wobbling and bounding where it would, the early stages of the match were punctuated by set pieces resulting from handling errors aplenty. It was not until the 16th minute that Dave Jaeger, normally fullback but playing flyhalf this week in lieu of absent Werner Viviens, split the sticks from the fifteen meter hash 25 meters out, and it was 3-0l home side.
Queen City got up when flyhalf Charlie Haupt slotted a dead centered penalty from the 22 and things were leveled at 24 as the boys got down to business.
Harlequins took the lead when No. 8 Joe Vitapa ground out tough yardage before offloading to Jaeger for the final ten meter scoot into goal and with his own conversion, it was 10-3 to the hosts 30 minutes in.
Quins tried again just before the half as standoff Shane Milek found space then dipped and juked through traffic until feeding streaking center Steve Zaugg who crossed for the try. Jaeger’s conversion made it 17-3 and the sides switched ends.
Queen City had moments during the first forty where their maul progress continuity looked spot-on and the three-quarter line performed well, but tight and effective Harlequin defense in the vicinity of their own goal denied the travelers points.
The visitors got on the front foot after the restart, but Quins were able to contain and turn ball over inside their own 22, and their willingness to run from that position caused excitement on the sidelines as the home team exploded out of their half a number of times and Queen City were desperate in defense.
After bringing action into QC territory, the Harlequins forwards mauled patiently, setting up slight slippage gains until fetcher Derek Mansanerez sped weakside from the loose and into goal for the grounding to increase the host’s lead to 22-3 at 46 minutes.
A huge sweeping movement back and forth across the field begun from their own 22 had the Quins bonus try as Mansanerez touched down for his brace, and with Jaeger’s conversion, the numbers were 29-3 at 54.
Queen City’s Haupt bagged his second penalty goal in the 58th minute making the score 29-6, but it was ever-present hooker Chris “Stumpy” Bailey who had the last score shout of the day, finishing a fine forward rush into goal with the dot. And this one was recorded as 34-6, Denver Harlequins.
Tries: Jaeger, Zaugg, Mansanerez (2), Bailey
Convs: Jaeger (3)
Queen City 6
Pens: Haupt (2)
Referee: L. Ramey