Glendale’s DI side opened the 2013 spring season with an 87-14 victory over Boulder at Infinity Park on Saturday. Chad London had the honor of scoring the first try of the season in the second minute, and scrumhalf Shaun Davies followed with a conversion moments later.
Davies was deadly accurate from the tee, going nine for nine on conversion kicks and splitting the uprights from a number of positions on the pitch. For his efforts, Davies was named RUGBYMag Man of the Match.
Six different Raptors scored in the first half, with Dustin Croy and Mike Graham each finding the try zone twice. Croy’s second try of the evening was scored off of a brilliant kick to himself after he ran into the Boulder defense just outside of the Raptor 22-meter line. The speed of the Raptors combined with solid support at the rucks allowed the men to shut out Boulder for the entire first half, 56-0.
“Tonight’s match was a great gauge of where we’re at as a team,” said Glendale head coach Andre Snyman. “We came off the bench playing to our game plan, testing our depth and skill, and now we know exactly what we need to focus on as a team over the coming weeks.”
The second half saw a fired up Boulder team strike first, but the Raptors would try five more times – including a try and conversion by Cody Melphy – before the Boulder men would score again. Raptor David Williams found the try zone in the 78th minute to put the final score at 87-14. At regulation time nine different members of the Glendale men had scored: London, Ata Malifa, Croy (four times), Zac Pauga, Graham (twice), Iniki Fa’amausili (twice), Matt Woerner, Melphy and Williams.
To Boulder’s credit, they were able to nearly neutralize fullback Dewon Reed, holding him to a number of try assists.
Glendale’s DII men, who traveled to Park City, Utah, put up a good effort but were not as fortunate.
The DII Raptors found themselves at a heated pitch, a green oasis surrounded by a three-foot berm of snow, in 45-degree, sunny weather. The game plan was to take the ball to the air, running their physically larger hosts into the ground.
Braden Shoop booted a long kick toward the far 22 in the fifth minute of play. His pressure off the chase and the resulting offside offense by Park City afforded the men a penalty kick, which Shoop converted to open scoring at 3-0 Glendale.
Both teams probed for weakness, and as Cristian Sarmento made a break in the 12th minute, he was tackled dangerously by the Haggis’ inside center. Shoop again took responsibility and made it 6-0.
The teams traded tries – the Haggis were able to capitalize on their size and after at least 10 phases were able to try again. They were poorly disciplined on the following kick off and penalized for it. As Shoop approached the mark, he saw that the hosts were setting up for another kick. He quick-tapped it, slithered through their opponent’s defense and trotted in the last 20 meters. He then finished by converting his own try bringing the score to 13-7.
Haggis would round out the half sticking to their game plan and punishing any mistake made by the Glendale side. They patiently ground away for two more tries, bringing the half time score to 13-19.
12 minutes into the second half, Christian Sarmento picked from the back of a scrum, set the ruck and sent a quick ball out to Shoop on the wing. Shoop was at his best, evading his opposite number and scoring a try in the corner. He then converted from the sideline, bringing the Raptors the lead. For his efforts, Shoop was named Man of the Match.
Park City finished the match off with two more tries; making the final score 20-23. In spite of a single yellow card in the game, the Corinthian spirit of the game prevailed both during the match, and in the exceptional hosting in downtown Park City by the Haggis.
The Glendale men return to the pitch on Saturday, March 9, for a friendly against the Mountain Selects.